Marmot DriClime Windshirt
By Steve Mann
AWs gear testers,
the GearReview.com staff sees a lot of products. There are few bad products, the majority being good products that fulfill the purpose for which they were designed. Every once in a while a product comes along which is so superior in its design and function that it stands out and becomes an essential part of our gear list. The Marmot DriClime Windshirt is such a product. Perhaps the ultimate complement from a gear tester, who can try out almost any product for free, is for that tester to purchase a product after the testing is complete. After testing the Windshirt almost every member of the GearReview staff purchased their own shirts from Marmot.
So what makes the Windshirt worthy of such high praise? Two main characteristics of the shirt are versatility and quality construction.
The Windshirt is very lightweight. The construction relies on two layers of fabric. The outer, or shell, layer is Horizon N-160 durable water resistant material with a nylon-like feel. It is soft, pliable, wind resistant, and lightweight. The inner layer is Marmot's signature DriClime microfiber. DriClime is very soft, with a feel of very thin fleece. It is a moisture wicking fabric which is also lightweight. Both layers dry quickly.
Put on the Windshirt and you'll feel warmth almost instantly. In a wind, the shirt keeps the wind off. The Windshirt also breathes very well. CoolMax mesh pit vents bolster ventilation.
The Windshirt's design allows for ease of movement. Angel-wing sleeves make for a good fit even when backpacking or engaging in activities. The shirt tail's wind flap extends low in the back to cover the top of your pants even when pulled up by a pack or parka. Elastic cuffs on the sleeves keep wind and weather out and warmth in.
After using my Windshirt on many trips over the past few months (probably in excess of 60 days on the trail), its has shown excellent durability. The shirt looks as good as new and shows no signs of wear. Perhaps the only special treatment I've shown mine is to avoid washing it. For a quality piece of technical gear, I'm afraid to wash it too often. I want this shirt ot last a long time and endure lots of usage.
For mountain travel and peak bagging, the Windshirt is great for extra warmth and wind protection on high altitude ridge tops. In Spring and Fall, the Windshirt is an ideal layering piece. I keep it handy when hiking or backpacking, donning it when I stop for breaks. It also fits well under rain gear during cold weather rain or snow storms.
There are few trips when I don't take along my Windshirt. Even in summer, the Windshirt accompanies me on both day hikes and pack trips. If I'm every caught overnight on the trail I want the Windshirt to keep me warm. On pack trips, especially at elevation, I take the Windshirt for the cooler mornings and evenings.
In the winter, the Windshirt makes a good mid-layer, warm enough to wear over a base layer without a parka when snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or backpacking. You can add a parka over the Windshirt in the coldest weather or during rest breaks.
The Windshirt isn't cheap. At a list price of $125 this is a serious piece of gear. But its application to such a wide variety of situations and its high quality make it worth the price.
Summary: Marmot refers to the DriClime Windshirt as equivalent to the "cast iron skillet." You know how a good skillet can do just about anything, from cooking to hammering, a fitting analogy to the Windshirt's versatility. This shirt does it all. Despite the high price, I highly recommend Marmot's DriClime Windshirt. If you run into me on the trail, I'll either be wearing mine or have it handy in my pack.
Steve Mann is a contributing editor for GearReview.com.
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