SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Columbia Sportswear’s New Windefend Half Zip: Presents a Good Argument for a One-Shirt Quiver

Sure, we’ve all heard the term quiver. Typically it’s used to reference skis. Or rather a great all around set of skis: as in “my one-ski quiver.” Even “queen of quivers” denoting someone with enough money to own more than, say, ten and enough time to use them all. But quiver isn’t usually associated with clothing, until now. Columbia Sportswear’s new women’s Windefend Half Zip is a must-have performance mid-layer for when it’s cool but not cold.

This is the ultimate performance piece for outdoor athletes whether your sport is running, cycling, hiking or snowshoeing. Perfect for all seasons but particularly ideal for a mid-afternoon winter snowshoe, a cool spring hike, a chilly summer evening ride, and a fall morning run. The solid color panel in the front of the Windefend is pure function: windproof and weather resistant. The rest of the T-zip is constructed with a wicking jersey material that’s stretchy and form fitting.

Long on length, the Windefend offers warmth through coverage. Extended sleeves end at thumbholes that protect the palm and back of the hand from weather. It also has what Columbia refers to as its ‘drop 10′ – slightly longer hemline in the back to defend the hips and lower back against chill.

The Windefend features one of Columbia’s signature Omni technologies – Omni-Wick® fabric. It manages your sweat during activities by moving moisture from your skin to the exterior of the garment where it evaporates quickly. This keeps you dry and retains your warmth without hindering your glide, step or trek. 

The last detail: the Windefend’s two back pockets. As a cyclist, I appreciate stow-ability. A spot to stay organized even if it’s only for an hour. Secure cargo space for keys, chomps, or an iPod. The pockets – deep enough and tight against your back – don’t allow for any annoying bounce.

I tested the Windefend Half Zip during an early morning trail run in Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains. Starting temps ranged in the high thirties and I didn’t anticipate a run that would last before the morning sun warmed the air. The Windefend kept me comfortably warm without overheating. I used the back pocket to store my hat when my pace settled out and the stretchy fabric at the arms, side and back didn’t cling to me as my efforts increased. The material wicked moisture away from my skin almost immediately, leaving me wonderfully dry.

I also found the Windefend looked adorable on. I appreciate Columbia’s attention to my vanity when it comes to looking my best while participating in endurance-based activities. Bottom line: I love the Windefend. It did its job – keeping me warm and cute. My only complaint: it seems to be my one-shirt quiver. By definition, this isn’t bad but with only one it makes it difficult to settle on which outdoor adventure deserves the stylish comfort, stretch, and warmth of my sole Windefend. Unfortunately my shirt-quiver will remain at one until this fall when the Windefend becomes available for purchase.

For a sneak peak at the Women’s Windefend Half Zip, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdIA65igysA.

This entry was posted in Gear Reviews, Jackets by Cathleen Calkins. Bookmark the permalink.
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About Cathleen Calkins

Cathleen Calkins is a California-based writer and award-winning photographer. After 15 years in the corporate arena, she opts for the quiet of her office and works with national consumer and trade magazines, newspapers, online publications and custom print and web advertorial communications. Her specialties include adventure, sustainability, travel, health, fitness, lifestyle, tourism, and branding.