An icy wind’s a-blowing over the piste, and the snow is being whipped over the mountains like a sandstorm. You’re shaking in your boots at the mere sight of it, knowing full well that you’ll have to leave the toasty warmth of ski lift station and venture out into the storm. So, you zip up your ski jacket, put your hood over your helmet and head bravely toward the door…
If you’ve ever found yourself in this or a similar situation, I’m sure you were relieved you were sporting your trusty windproof clothing. And, in all likelihood, both your trousers and your jacket bore the distinctive red, octagonal Windstopper logo from the company W.L. Gore & Associates, who also happens to be responsible for those oh-so famous Gore-Tex laminates. But, the American company doesn’t just specialise in waterproof jackets – they’ve set all new standards in all things windproof gear as well.
Windstopper: completely windproof and very versatile
Similar to their big waterproof brothers, the Gore Windstopper laminates consist of three layers as well. The core thereof is the ePTFE membrane (expanded polytetrafluoroethylene), which has numerous pores: around 1.4 billion pores per square centimetre, to be precise. These are so small that they are impenetrable to wind and liquid water, but still allow water vapour molecules to pass through. The fabric is completely windproof, water resistant and breathable. Perspiration can escape easily through the breathable membrane. Pretty cool, right?
So, it will come as no surprise that this advanced membrane makes up the core of various laminates:
- Windstopper Active Shell is particularly lightweight, space-saving, completely windproof and very breathable. Thus, it is ideal for highly aerobic activities, such as trail running, running or cycling.
- Windstopper Soft Shell products are those that offer a balanced combination of windproof protection, breathability and flexibility to conform to your movements. Products with this laminate are perfect for just about every physical activity.
- Windstopper Technical Fleece combines the advantages of a windproof membrane with those of fleece. It won’t let any air pass through and simultaneously provides warmth and breathability. This is effective as a mid-layer or outer layer.
- Windstopper Insulated Shell, unlike other laminates, consists of not three but four layers. The additional layer provides lightweight, breathable synthetic insulation and is thus the warmest in the Windstopper family. All while retaining its breathable and windproof properties! This is used in functional jackets like the Vanguard Jacket from Mountain Equipment.
The commonality among all laminates is that they get water-repellent properties from the membrane. Plus, a DWR treatment provides the additional protection of water repellency as well. This coating must be renewed after multiple washes. You can read about how that works and why it’s important here.
As a result of their versatility, Windstopper laminates are found in just about every kind of outdoor clothing. They’re especially popular among fans of ski touring because it not only provides protection from the cold, but offers mobility, can withstand snow and is breathable as well. It’s also used for base layers, such as the Craft Active Extreme WS Shirt, which was designed primarily for cyclists who often have to battle strong headwinds.
Defy the wind chill factor
Windproof active wear is an absolute must. After all, it will protect you from the wind’s chilling effect! The wind-chill is the difference between the perceived and actual temperature depending on the speed of the wind. In other words, the stronger the wind blows, the colder it’ll feel. It sounds fairly harmless in theory, but it can become a huge problem in practise, especially if you don’t have the proper windproof clothing. Even with the slightest decrease in body temperature resulting from wind-chill, you may experience reduced blood flow to your extremities and your circulation may become unstable, resulting in numbness and shivering. But, if you don’t give the wind a chance to get between you and your clothing in the first place, it won’t be able to take all that precious heat away from you!
Windproof clothing also plays a crucial role in layering and should not be underestimated. Even though waterproof jackets are always windproof as well, they pale in comparison to Windstopper clothing in terms of their breathability. For this reason, you should really make sure you have a long, hard think about whether you’d rather opt for a lighter, but windproof jacket on your next adventure in the mountains.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available during the week from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 03 33 33 67058 or via e-mail.