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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Outdoor Research Mens Contour Windshirt > Test Report by Tom Callahan

OR CONTOUR WINDSHIRT
TEST SERIES BY TOM CALLAHAN
LONG-TERM REPORT
September 29, 2009

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Tom Callahan
EMAIL: tcallahanbgt AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 50
LOCATION: Seattle, Washington, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)

For the past 20 years I have lived off and on in Washington State, backpacking in the Cascade Mountains. I get out regularly on day hikes and multi-day trips and usually try to include a good off trail scramble. During the winter I get out snowshoeing at every opportunity. I also enjoy glacier climbing, summiting prominent peaks like Mt. Rainier (14K ft/4K m) and Mt. Baker (10K ft/3K m). My pack weight will range from 15 - 50 lbs (7 - 23 kg) depending on the season and the length and type of trip.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.outdoorresearch.com
MSRP: US$ 110.00
Listed Weight: 9.9 oz (281 g)
Measured Weight: 11.0 oz (312 g)
Color: Pumice, other colors available: Oxide/Espresso, Black
Sizes: S, M, L, XL

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

OR Windshirt (Outdoor Research)
OR Windshirt (Outdoor Research)


The Outdoor Research Contour Windshirt came with 2 hang tags, one an OR tag and the other a Cordora product tag. The weight and feel of the shirt is about what I expected. The colors are true to those on the web site. The shirt does not have a liner and is composed of a single layer of material made up of 91% Cordora and 9% Spandex according to the tag. This is slightly different than the specs on the web site which list the shirt as 88% Cordora and 12% Spandex. The material is supple, smooth and nice to the touch. It is slightly stretchy and keeps its shape. All stitching is straight and tight. There were no loose threads on the garment.

The Windshirt has a 14 in (35.5 cm) zipper in the front. On the right hip there is a 10 in (25.5 cm) zipper. The shirt has a chest pocket on the left side that has a 6 in (15.2 cm) zipper opening. All the zippers are composed of nylon teeth, metal sliders and the slider tabs are metal with a rubber coating. The chest pocket is not stitched in, but rather is glued securely to the exterior of the windshirt.

The Windshirt requires no special care or treatment. Washing instructions are simple:
- Machine wash cold
- Do not bleach
- Tumble dry low
- Do not iron
- No bleach

TRYING IT OUT

The Windshirt pulled on easily over my head when I first tried it on. I then zipped up the hip zipper. It lived up to its name, having a nice contour fit. The size Medium is perfect for me. It fit well across my shoulders, chest and stomach. The length of the shirt extended below my hip, further than I expected. But I like the length as it will keep me covered and not ride up when bending over. The sleeve length is generous which I like since it keeps my wrists covered even when my arms are fully extended. Zipping up the chest zip closed the Windshirt snug to my chin. This was comfortable, not too tight and I didn't feel like it constricted my throat. With the chest zip completely open and the hip zip closed I tried taking the shirt off and putting it back on. It was possible to do, but was much easier with the hip zip open.

INITIAL REPORT SUMMARY - May 1, 2009

In summary the OR Windshirt is what I expected to receive based on the picture and text on the web site. I really like the contour cut of this garment as it fits me very well. I also really like the weight of this shirt. I have never owned a garment of this weight and style and am anxious to check it out. I am hoping this shirt will be a good match to those conditions when a softshell jacket is too warm, yet it is too cool to go with just a hiking shirt.

This concludes my Initial Report. Check back in about 2 months for my Field Report.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I used the OR Windshirt on 2 day hikes and 3 overnight trips during this phase of testing. The 2 day trips were in the Cascade Mountains and temperatures ranged from 50 to 60 F (10 to 16 C) on both these trips. Elevation gain was 3,000 ft (900 m) with high points around 4,000 ft (1,200 m). One of these trips was under cloudy skies and on the second trip I encountered some light rain.

The first overnight trip with the Windshirt was in the Olympic Mountains. Low temperatures were around 25 F (-4 C) and high temperatures were around 50 F (10 C). I encountered sunny conditions, fog and a bit of snow on this outing. Elevation gain was 3,000 ft (900 m) with a high point around 6,000 ft (1,800 m). My second overnight trip was also in the Olympics, a little bit later in the testing and fortunately things had warmed up a bit. Low temperatures on this outing were around 50 F (10 C) and highs around 65 F (18 C). Skies were clear and sunny for this trip. Elevation gain was 4,000 ft (1,200 m) with a high point of 7,000 ft (2,100 m). My third overnight trip was in the Cascade Mountains. Temperatures on this trip ranged from 55 F (13 C) to 75 F (24 C). Skies were mostly sunny but I also encountered some fog and light rain. Elevation gain on this trip was 4,500 ft (1,400 m) with a high point of 6,500 ft (2,000 m)

I did have a the Windshirt along on a 4th overnight trip but this outing was during unusually warm temperatures such that it did not dip below 60 F (16 C) even at night at 5,000 ft (1,500 m). So the Windshirt just stayed in the pack for the entire trip.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I have really been impressed with the OR Windshirt. As I noted in my Initial Report I have never owned a garment of this weight. I've found that it provides a good layer for little extra insulation, yet is not too warm, especially when on a rigorous trail.

Around camp, when temperatures were around freezing, the Windshirt was very comfortable to wear over my hiking shirt and a fleece vest. At these same temperatures while hiking up steep terrain I was quite comfortable with just the Windshirt over my hiking shirt. At temperatures of 50 F (10 C) and higher, I found the Windshirt to be a little too warm as an outer layer. However, when getting to the top of a peak and with temperatures around 50 F (10 C) the Windshirt was just right to wear, warding off any chill as my body cooled down. The Windshirt also seemed to breathe well, allowing perspiration to evaporate. As I got a feel for the conditions when I could rely on the Windshirt I began to leave behind my regular softshell jacket. This provided the benefit of reducing my pack size and lowering my pack weight.
Great Summit Layer
Great Summit Layer

The water resistant properties of the Windshirt enabled it to shed water when I encountered light rain and snow showers. I was not out in any prolonged rainy weather though, so I can't comment on the conditions that would cause the Windshirt material to become soaked.

Good Fit When Wearing a Pack
Good Fit When Wearing a Pack

I liked the fit of the Windshirt very much. The taper plus the side zipper brought the material close to my torso with very little loose excess material. This made it easier to put on a back pack since the garment material would not snag on the pack straps. Also, the contour fit kept things comfortable when wearing the pack since the material laid flat to my body, with little to no bunching up of the material in the pack straps. I found the contour fit very beneficial when rock scrambling during cool weather. The close fit enabled me to keep my body and arms close to the rock without concern for the garment snagging as I climbed. The sleeves were a good length for me, keeping my wrists covered even when extending my arms.
Comfortable Scrambling Shirt
Comfortable Scrambling Shirt

The chest zipper pocket is a feature I found quite handy. The pocket was just the right size to place my sunglasses. I also liked the size and placement of the zipper opening, making it possible to easily open and close with one hand.

In addition to the functionality of the OR Windshirt I also have to comment on the colors. I'm usually not so concerned with styling, but in the case of the Pumice color option, it looks pretty sharp to have the burnt orange color stitching and zippers. This gives a nice accent to what would otherwise be a rather plain looking garment.

FIELD REPORT SUMMARY - August 9, 2009

In summary I have found the OR Windshirt to be a very useful and versatile garment. It provided just the right amount of extra insulation when a regular softshell jacket would have been too much. This allowed me to hike and climb in comfort when temperatures are on the cool side. The contour cut of the garment provided a great fit which made it very comfortable to wear under a back pack. The lighter weight of the material (relative to a regular weight softshell jacket) allowed me to pack down the garment, using less pack space and lowering my pack weight.

I am looking forward to continuing the testing of the OR Windshirt. Check back in about 2 months for the results of my Long Term Testing.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I used the Contour Windshirt on 2 day trips and 1 overnight trip during this phase of testing. All these trips were in the Cascade Mountains. Temperatures during the day trips ranged from 50 to 65 F (10 to 18 C) and skies were sunny to partly cloudy. One trip involved and elevation gain of around 2,000 ft (600 m) and the other a gain of 4,000 ft (1,200 m). Winds were light, around 10 mph (16 km/hr) on these trips.

Backpacking in the Cascades
Backpacking in the Cascades



During the overnight outing I experienced some less than ideal weather. On the first day it started out cloudy and then rained off and on. Winds that evening became gusty to around 20 mph (30 km/hr). Temperatures were around mid 50 F (10 C) during the day. But in the evening the temperatures dropped down to 38 F (3 C). Elevation gain on the first day was around 2,000 ft (600 m) and on the second day, 1,800 ft (550 m).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I continued to enjoy using the Contour Windshirt during this phase of testing. I wore the Windshirt mostly as a layer when taking a rest break along the trail or stopped upon reaching a summit. This garment was just the right weight to ward off a chill when I had been sweating and temperatures were on the cool side (below 50 F, 10 C). Due to the warmer day time temperatures I experienced I did not wear the Windshirt while back packing on the trail very often because it would cause me to overheat. But it was comfortable to wear the Windshirt on the trail while initially descending from a peak, and then slipping it off when my body warmed up.

I also appreciated the water repellent feature of the Windshirt. During my overnight trip, while in camp, the Windshirt did a good job of shedding water, keeping me dry in sprinkling rain conditions. I also found the Windshirt worked well to cut the wind which helped keep me comfortable, even in damp conditions. As was noted during Field Testing, when temperature dipped below 50 F (10 C) I wore a fleece vest under the Windshirt and was comfortable. But I also encountered temperatures below 40 F (4 C) during this outing and had to add another layer to stay warm. So the Windshirt does have its limits. But for me, the Windshirt worked well to handle the cool temperatures of late summer and early fall. This enabled me to carry the lighter weight Windshirt and leave behind the softshell jacket I normally pack.

On the slopes of Mt Forgotten
On the slopes of Mt Forgotten

LONG TERM REPORT SUMMARY - Sep. 29, 2009

In summary, I have been very pleased to have tested the Contour Windshirt. This garment is well made and it fit me well. It shows little or no wear at the conclusion of testing. Also, it has kept its shape despite being stuffed in my pack and numerous washings.

It has proven to be a versatile, lightweight garment for use in the summer in a variety of activities, including back packing and off trail scrambling. The Windshirt's trim cut made for a good fit when wearing a pack and while scrambling. It was also a good layer to have when at rest, providing a nice layer of insulation and blocking the wind.

I anticipate continuing to use the Windshirt beyond this long term testing, into the fall and winter. I think it will provide a good degree of comfort when active, either on a trail or while snow shoeing in cooler temperatures. This will be especially true during the "shoulder" season here in the Pacific Northwest, when winter hasn't quite taken hold and I'm apt to experience a mixture of rain, freezing rain and snow while out in the mountains.

Warm & comfortable @ 6K ft (1,800 m)
Warm & comfortable @ 6K ft (1,800 m)



This concludes my Long Term Test Report. My thanks to Outdoor Research and BackPackGearTest for the opportunity to test the Contour Windshirt.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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