Two things are certain in Saskatchewan’s climate, sunshine and wind. Having a light wind jacket for those windy spring/summer days is a must!
Wind jackets or wind breakers are light jackets that are intended to break the wind while being breathable and water repellent (also known as ‘weather resistant’). Wind breakers differ from rain jackets as they lack a waterproof membrane. This means they are not waterproof, but are generally much more breathable and your less likely to take it off due to over-heating.
During the spring and summer my wind breakers are always with me, whether on a walk around the neighbourhood parks, getting groceries, hiking in the alpine, or cycling the scenic route in Prince Albert National Park. I love how packable and breathable they are while being superb at taking the bite out of any windy day or light shower.
Here are my reviews on my favourite wind breakers and what sets each apart!
My Top Pick: Patagonia Houdini
I have enjoyed this piece from Patagonia so much that I now own two of the Houdini series, the full-zip ($124.99) and the snap-t pull-over($124.99). The Houdini series is incredibly wind resistant, letting in only 2 CFM***, packs away into it’s own pocket, and is breathable and light. The Houdini jacket comes in men’s and women’s and the pull-over is a unisex fit with sizes XXS to XL.
***Technical explanation: CFM is the abbreviation of “Cubic feet per minute,” and is a measurement of the velocity at which air flows into or out of a space. For perspective, a knit sweater’s wind ‘proofness’ is around 200-300 CFM and a rain jacket with waterproof membrane is between 0.1-1 CFM. I find the Houdini’s 18 CFM rating is in most practical uses, wind proof, as I never feel breezes and I can’t recall a strong gust that has ever gotten through.
If i’m not wearing it, I often have this jacket stuffed into it’s own pocket and hooked on a caribiner to either my pack, purse, or water bottle. It’s amazing how packable and light it is and I often can’t justify not bringing it on a summer outing because it takes up no room and weighs almost nothing. The only downside to the jacket version of this piece is that it has no hand pockets. The pullover version does have hand pockets with securing zippers and inside one of the hand pockets is another hidden zippered pocket where you roll this jacket away into.
I generally wear this piece as an everyday jacket to take away any chill the wind or air has in the early morning and evenings. I also wear it while working at Outter Limits as it is comfortable and light while indoors. The life of my Houdini isn’t always so mundane, it has also travelled the world with me, ventured on alpine hikes, and has accompanied me on my yearly cycle trip along Prince Albert National Park scenic route 263 in the autumn.
Other windbreakers I love:
Softshells are great windbreakers as they share the same traits of being weather resistant, but also boast added durability and often, stretch. I have a very old Outdoor Research Ferrosi jacket that I take on trips where I know I will be bush whacking or scrambling along scree or rough rocks. The added durability and stretch gives me peace of mind, even when its covered in dirt and muck. A similar jacket that we have in store is the Arc’teryx Gamma SL jacket ($219.99). My sister actually bought this jacket this spring as she loves to wear it on the bike trails by the river. She wanted a windbreaker that would handle tree branches scraping against her while making sure she doesn’t over heat. Most of the time though, she is lounging at home in it or wearing it for errands or bird watching. The Gamma SL has a 20 CFM rating and comes in men’s and women’s.
Nodin Jacket:The Nodin jacket is from Arc’teryx ($199.99) and is another piece I would strongly recommend. While I personally don’t have this jacket, my partner has owned this one for a few years and due to his rave reviews, I showed it to my Mom who then purchased it this spring. They both love this packable, weather resistant jacket and really enjoy the roll away hood feature and hand pockets. This jacket looks a little more professional which is why they both bought it. They wanted a jacket they could wear at work and be able to do hikes and bike rides without losing any technical features. This jacket has a 5-10 CFM rating and comes in men’s and women’s.
Thanks for reading my post on wind breaker jackets! Outter Limits has more options than what I wrote about so if you are looking to get one, we are happy to help you pick one out this Spring/Summer!