I don’t often come across an article of clothing that works well for me in all four seasons, but I’m happy to report that Columbia’s Windefend Half Zip does just that. I’ve worn it for winter snowshoeing, fall hiking, and most recently for chilly spring and summer evenings in Vancouver.
On a snowshoe hike, the wind resistant front panel protects me from those cold alpine blasts, and its lean silhouette layers well. The zipper is backed by fabric that effectively keeps my neck warm when it’s fully zipped. The sleeves of the Windefend are long enough that there is no uncomfortable tugging around the thumbholes, a problem I’ve noticed on some other shirts. The body is nice and long too, which prevents cool air from sneaking up the back. Cyclists will especially appreciate this feature, and will also enjoy the deep back pockets. I’m not much of a cyclist but for shorter hiking or snowshoe excursions when I don’t need a pack, I make use of those back pockets too.
For warmer conditions, I appreciate that the back of the shirt is breathable and comfortable under a pack thanks to Columbia’s Omni-Wick Advanced Evaporation technology. I’m a big fan of half zips, and I like the zipper to be deep … deep enough that you can get the shirt on and off without removing your hat or helmet, plus get decent ventilation when you need it. I’m happy to report that the Windefend fully delivers.
Columbia does a great job in terms of functionality, and I love that they have managed to make their outdoor clothing look good too. The Windefend Half Zip has a nice fit and comes in attractive colours. I don’t mind pulling it on to run a few errands, dash out to yoga class, or even grab some pub grub after a day on the trails.