o you're going out to the field, the weather seems good enough but there's a chance you could get caught in unpredicted temporary bad weather. Your normal options would be a) pack your heavy goretex set or b) take your chances. Thankfully these days there's also a third option: pack a light, wind and (somewhat)-waterproof wind jacket.
The Crye Precision WindLiner is one of the products offering this third option. It offers wind and weather resistance and is super light. It also folds into its own cargo pocket making it extremely packable and easy to access.
Other features of the WindLiner are:
- Stowable hood
- Stirrup thumb cuffs
- Featherweight, high-performance Nano STX treated fabric
- Elastic bound hem
- Drawcord hem
- Soft-lined collar and zipper placket
Let's take a closer look!
Unless it's a heavier hard shell I think a stowable hood is a must. A hood you can't get rid off adds bulk, potentially reduces hearing and ability to observe, while also increasing chances of chafing. Crye has done a good job in designing how the hood stowes-away. It's wrapped into the collar and closed in with three patches of velcro making it easy to open and close. Going with velcro instead of zipper also reduces the total weight of the jacket.
Once open the hood is easy to pull over your head and stays in place well as it's got elastic surrounding the face, which helps with the hood staying in place. The fabric is also so light and thin that I didn't notice much difference in hearing even with the hood over a beanie I was wearing. The hood is so form-fitting that it'll easily go under a helmet too.
Soft-Lined Collar and Zipper
Think this one is a great detail many others miss. Adding a little suede like material to the collar and on the back of the zipper makes wearing the WindLiner so much more comfortable. Cold zippers against the skin are annoying in cold weather and the little warmth that is added by the material around the neck really helps in windy conditions.
Arm Pit Mesh Vents
Not mentioned in the official documentation by Crye or on their website, but the under-arm vents are a feature I definitely like. They seem to regulate body heat and air flow really well. When I was wearing the WindLiner in +5 C and very windy weather during active movement I didn't feel cold or too hot at any point. Underneath I had a long sleeve under layer and Patagonia Combat Shirt, which seemed to be the perfect combination for that situation.
Zippered Cargo Pockets
Upper arm pockets on the WindLiner are pretty standard as on Crye's G4 Combat Shirts. You've got two strips of Velcro for attaching patches like callsigns. The cool thing about the WindLiner is that you can fold it completely in one of these cargo pockets and it'll fit in your pant's or shirt's cargo pocket. It weights next to nothing so you'll not even notice you've got it with you.
Rest of the Features & In-Use
The Nano STX treated fabric is extremely light and holds wind out really really well. But do note that this fabric won't survive long. Catching it on a sharp corner or twig will rip it and so will repeated use, I've got a couple small rips in a seam on one of the sleeves and on the hem. Keep in mind that a wind shell like this is not for everyday use but for those "emergency" surprise bad weather situations.
Anyway I still want to mention a couple good things about the WindLiner, one is the Stirrup Thumb Cuffs, which will keep your wrists protected from the wind even if you've got shorter gloves on and another is the hem which is adjustable and lengthy enough to cover your back even in odd positions while behind the gun.
I haven't yet tested the water repellency of the jacket but will update the post once that's done. However I have no doubt that it wouldn't be on par with other products on the market being a Crye product and seeing how well it keeps the wind out.
If you're looking for an "emergency" wind shell I would highly recommend the WindLiner, it's packable, light, weatherproof, comfortable in the right places and has good cargo pockets with Velcro. It does everything you'd want from a product like this.
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