You don’t have to live upside down in the south Pacific to deal with occasional weather extremes (we’d argue it’s because they deserve it, because everything there tries to kill you), so even those that live in sunny southern California may find some use in this. Mad Duo
Review: Propper Packable Windshirt
My recent bundle from JTF Awesome member Propper contained a lightweight shirt that caught my eye, and I’ve had time to give it a good trial. Winter has rolled around here in Melbourne, and we get a fair share of wet and windy days. It rarely drops below freezing due to the local geography, but cold weather from the Southern Ocean can roll in unpredictably. Melbourne has a reputation for having Four Seasons in One Day (Crowded House even wrote a song about it).
Before I go on, I should tell everyone I hate umbrellas. Really. With a passion. Being as tall as I am, I’m forever being jabbed in the eye by them when the scurrying masses are running for shelter. So when I’m not restraining myself from throat-punching the perpetrators, I prefer to feel superior by wearing and carrying wet-weather gear for the occasional flurry.
Propper has nicely catered to my superiority complex with their Packable Windshirt, which offers lightweight wind protection whenever you need it. This lightweight garment has to look of a jacket but feels like a light shirt, due in no small part to its silky 100% polyester construction. It has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) surface finish; partially due to a surface coating, and partially due to the material and weave of the surface layer, I found that light to medium sprinkles shrugged right off. Better yet, that weave stopped medium to strong gusts of wind dead. I was pretty impressed with that, especially given how lightweight it was.
Usually with this kind of wind-stopping capability you either end up with a plastic-bag feel, or a Siege of Stalingrad-feeling heavy coat. Amazingly, this had neither. I was suspicious it would be a steam-trap, but somehow they’ve found that magic balance of permeability and breathability by using a honeycomb-mesh pattern inner liner. This liner runs throughout the windshirt, and adds no appreciable bulk.
Twin hand pockets with reverse sewn zippers and silently-operating rubber-covered toggles grace the sides. A single pectoral pocket is big enough for a phone, note book or in a pinch a STANAG magazine, but the heavier the load, the more it sags. A pretty spacious hood is stored in the neck seam, and is elasticised in a couple of spots to ensure a snug fit. I mostly kept the hood stored and found that its bulk added a nice snug seal around my neck, trapping heat in and keeping dribbles out.
The sleeves have elasticised cuffs to shut out the elements, which aren’t my preference but certainly work well enough. With arms as long as mine I found that the Medium wasn’t quite long enough, although the body-fit was good so to feel comfortable I had to push the sleeves up. That or have half my wrists dangling free and the shoulders dragging. For longer wearers, opt for a bigger fit.
The main front zipper is likewise a reverse zipper design, with the same rubber toggled zipper-pull, and has an overlap panel running its length to eliminate any wind chill through that seam. That’s something that makes a lot of difference to me and also carries over into the design of the bottom seam of the windshirt, which is generously long, especially useful for us long-bodied types. It’s much like a cyclists shirt, ensuring good coverage when you’re crouched over. No more chilled kidneys! The main zipper is also double-headed, so you can open the windshirt from top or bottom to access belt-worn gear without exposing your chest to the elements.
One nice feature is that the windshirt has its own storage pouch, accessible via a quite unobtrusive zippered pocket in the small of the back on the outside. You could also use this as an extra storage compartment for paperwork or what have you, as long as you don’t mind it being out of line of sight.
The whole windshirt folds in on itself easily enough into that pocket, although I think I would have preferred it to have done so from the inside out, rather than outside in. Once packed up it is a fairly small and springy bundle, which I’ve used as an impromptu pillow and gear-rest. The whole thing fits into a cargo pocket easily enough, or can easily be jammed into the bottom of a pack.
The cut and look of the windshirt is pretty neutral, no loop fields on shoulders or chest, no pen holders, or any external features other than the single pectoral pocket and two hand pockets. It is a pretty innocuous looking garment, perfect for being the grey man in the crowd. Although you’d the the great man in black, coyote or olive.
For more information, you can check them out here
Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!
Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.
About the Author: Josh Orth is a second generation expat currently dwelling in the arguably civilized outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. He’s lived in deserts, jungles and urban sprawls around the world and traveled/adventured into assorted inhospitable places around the world and has a keen sense of the speed with which the trappings of ‘civilized Western life’ can disappear. This has led him to begin writing about his interests and observations when it comes to the gear, skills and other necessities of self reliance of being equipped for whatever a capricious, occasionally indurate life might throw at him. This isn’t by any means to say our eccentric friend truly experiences genuine vorfreude about dystopian life, but if he had to he might not complain. Read more by Josh at Apocalypse Equipped.