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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Outdoor Research Mens Marvel Windshirt > Test Report by Edwin L. Morse

OR MARVEL WINDSHIRT
TEST SERIES BY EDWIN MORSE
LONG-TERM REPORT
May 18, 2007

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
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TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Edwin Morse
EMAIL: ed dot morse at charter dot net
AGE: 69
LOCATION: Grawn, MI USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 143 lb (64.90 kg)

I started backpacking in 1979 with two weeks in northern Michigan along the Lake Superior shore. My gear was cheap, heavy and sometimes painful. Starting pack weight was 70 lbs (32 kg) with food but no water. Since that first time I have made one and two week trips in Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. I am slowly reducing my pack weight. Starting the last one week trip in New Hampshire I carried 35 lbs (16 kg). I am slowly obtaining lighter gear. I am also occasionally switching to a hammock in warmer weather.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.orgear.com
MSRP: US$ 99.00
Listed Weight: 14.8 oz (420 g) size large
Measured Weight: 13.7 oz (388 g) Size medium as received
Other details: Made in China of nylon, polyester and spandex

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

December 13, 2006

The Windshirt arrived on December 1, 2006 during the first winter snowstorm of the year.

When examining the Windshirt I could find no dropped or loose stitches. The seams are very fine. The Windshirt appears to be very well made and well designed.

According to a tag inside the Windshirt, near the bottom left side, the shell is made in two different materials: Shell 1 is 52 % nylon and 48 % polyester, Shell 2 is 94 % nylon and 6 % spandex. The lining is 100 % polyester. This tag also provides care and washing instructions, which I will discuss below.

Centered at the collar is a hang loop and 3 informational tags. One tag gives the size. The second tag gives the manufacturer's name, web site, phone number and the statement "infinite guarantee". The third tag states it was made in China.

Windshirt Front Windshirt Back

I hung the Windshirt on a closet door to look it over and take the first pictures.

The color I requested (with no guarantee) was Wasabi. It looks more like grass green to me. The gray and green color combination is just what I prefer. I like to blend into the background as much as possible.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Notes on washing instructions.

The tag located on the inside lower left of the Windshirt provides washing instructions. In addition to the icons that I don't understand instructions are listed in English on one side and another language on the other.
Listed on the English side:
Machine wash, cold, Gentle cycle
Do Not Bleach
Drip Dry
Do Not Wring
Iron, Low
Do Not Dry Clean

I haven't washed the Windshirt yet, I will do that during the field test period.

TRYING OUT THE WINDSHIRT

Initial experiences with the Windshirt.

I had to try on the Windshirt as soon as I got it out of the package it was shipped in. It fit very well over just a T shirt, if a little snug. I intend to wear it over a fleece shirt. I hope it won't be too tight!

The local hiking club had a hike scheduled two days after the Windshirt was delivered. With the new heavy snowfall the hike became a ski outing. Of course I wore the Windshirt - over a long sleeve poly T shirt and a 200 weight fleece pullover. The Windshirt seemed to fit over the fleece shirt just fine. This is probably as much as I want to wear under the Windshirt..The temperature was 22 F (-6 C) when we started and up to 27 F (-3 C) when we returned to the parking lot. I often carry a compass/digital thermometer when hiking or skiing. I found that the small carabiner I use with the compass can be clipped to the zipper pull on the sleeve.

There were a few things I wanted to learn on this first short outing. I wanted to learn if falling snow would stick to the stretchy sleeves and make the Windshirt wet. I also wanted to learn if the Windshirt would bind when I stretched out to ski faster.

Skiing on the NCT
Heavy snow was falling all the time we were out. Then, to make it an even better test, when it was my turn to break trail there were many small pines loaded with snow bending over the trail. Most of these I pushed aside with my arms. Snow did not stick to the Windshirt. I expected the sleeves and body to be wet both from falling snow and from my heavy sweat. Instead the Windshirt remained dry except on my back under the pack. I was not able to test whether the Windshirt would bind when I stretched to ski faster or climb hills.

A few days later I went snowshoeing on a different section of the NCT with a group from another NCTA Chapter. This is a very hilly section of trail and provided many places to stretch out to climb the hills.

Snowshoeing on the NCT

Snowshoeing on the North Country Trail.
This hilly walk gave me the opportunity to see there is sufficient stretch in the arms and shoulders to climb hills without binding and pulling. Since this was the section of trail I maintain, I had already made sure there were no small trees close enough to brush against. Just hills to climb up and down.

SUMMARY

A brief summary.
With two ski outings and one day snowshoeing I am very pleased with the OR Marvel Windshirt at this time. There are nearly four months of winter play left for more testing.

Things I like so far:
The Windshirt breaths very well.
I don't get wet either from falling snow or my own sweat.
There is great freedom of movement. There is no binding as with other nylon windbreakers I have used.

Things I don't like:
The zipper pulls are too small to grab when wearing mittens.
I would have preferred an inside pocket to the sleeve pocket.

I do thank BGT and Outdoor Research for the opportunity to test the OR Marvel Windshirt.

This concludes my Initial Report.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

March 6, 2007

Test activities after the above date will be included in the Long Term Report.

During the Field Test period I have worn the Windshirt for all my outdoor activities; trail work, hiking, XC skiing and snowshoeing. The weather has varied from cool and rainy to snowy to cold and very windy. We finally got enough snow for good skiing and snowshoeing. Generally I have been out about every other day just to enjoy winter. When doing trail work the temperature was generally between 30 F (-1 C) and 45 F (7 C). When I was hiking the temperature was generally right around freezing (32 F) or (0 C). When I was skiing or snowshoeing the temperature was mostly between 8 F (-13 C) and 28 F (-2 C)

I've worn the Windshirt in the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, which is along the shore of Lake Michigan about 30 miles (48 km) west of Traverse City, Michigan. I have worn the Windshirt in the Manistee National Forest, which is about 45 miles (72 km) southwest of Traverse City, Michigan and extends south about 120 miles (190 km). I have also worn the Windshirt frequently in the Pere Marquette State Forest, which is south, east and northeast of Traverse City. Elevations ranged from about 600 feet (183 m) along the Lake Michigan shore line up to about 1500 feet (457 m) in parts of the Pere Marquette State Forest further inland.


PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Windshirt performed very well during all my outings for the last two months. I generally wore the Windshirt over a fleece button shirt or fleece pullover during late December and early January. When it got colder in late January, I tried adding another fleece shirt or nylon vest under the Windshirt. This was too much even down around 10 F (-12 C) with strenuous activity, the Windshirt works better for me with a fleece pullover over a merino wool tee shirt.

In late December 2006, I hiked on the North Country Trail (NCT) in the Manistee National Forest doing trail cleanup. I wore the OR Marvel Windshirt over a fleece shirt over a merino wool tee shirt. There was a light rain falling all day. The temperature stayed at about 36 F (2 C). With the activity of cutting and moving downed branches, I was very warm. With only a light rain falling the Windshirt did not wet through.

In early January 2007 Hiked on the North Country Trail in the Sand Lakes area of the Pere Marquette State Forest. The weather was cool, 35 F (2 C) and damp with a light rain often mixed with snow. I pitched a tarp to eat lunch in comfort out of the rain. I wore the Windshirt over a fleece shirt over a merino wool tee shirt. I considered putting on a rain jacket but I wanted to see just how the Windshirt would function under these conditions. I was pleased with the performance. I stayed warm and dry. The body (green area) of the Windshirt often looked wet on the outside but did not feel wet inside.

In early January 2007 I went for a hike in the Sleeping Bear Dunes. My primary objective was to test gear and clothes. I was wearing the Windshirt over a 200 wt fleece pullover over a merino wool tee shirt. Attached to the shoulder straps of my daypack was a GPS, a compass/digital thermometer and a camera. It was 29 F (-2 C) when I started walking and did not change the rest of the day. There was only a light dusting of snow. I hiked toward Lake Michigan until I got to the dunes then followed along the dunes, climbing up, over and down.

When I decided to start back, I got a bearing with the GPS to a trail marker about a mile (about 2 km) from where I stopped. I then went as near a straight line as I could to the trail marker. This is the hard way to hike in the Dunes since I go up, over and down the dunes and once down, often through a mostly frozen swamp to the next dune. When I got to the trail marker I used the GPS to get a bearing and distance back to the truck. Again, mostly up over and down the dunes. I arrived at the truck before sundown but it was already starting to get dark.

The Windshirt and hiking pants I was wearing are both very stretchy so there was no binding and pulling when climbing up the steep dunes. It is easy to step high and to reach high to plant the hiking poles for the next step. The Windshirt did a good job of stopping the wind when I was up on the higher dunes with a view of Lake Michigan.

In mid January 2007 I hiked 9.5 miles (15.3 km ) on the NCT in the Manistee National Forest. The temperature was 41 F (5 C) when I started and slowly fell to 30 F (-1 C). There was a light rain falling all the time I was out. I wore the OR Marvel Windshirt over 200 wt fleece pullover over a merino wool tee shirt. There were many stops to move branches off the trail. I was comfortably warm all the time I was out. The sleeves of the Windshirt are at least somewhat water repellent, since it did not feel wet inside when I stopped.

In late January 2007, I went skiing at Sand Lakes Quiet Area in the Pere Marquette State Forest. The temperature was 9 F (-13 C) when I started. I wore the OR Marvel Windshirt over a nylon vest over 200 weight fleece pullover over a merino wool tee shirt. When I got into the hills I got warm all over. My upper body was much too warm with the vest added.
I caught up with another skier about 1/3 the way around the loop and asked him to take the following picture for me.
IMAGE 5

It was up to 17 F (-8 C) when the picture was taken. When I got back to the parking area it was down to 12 F (-11 C).

In late January 2007 I went skiing at Muncie Lakes, in the Pere Marquette State Forest. I used wide (backcountry) skis and went mostly off trail. The temperature was 24 F (-4 C) to when I started and got up to 28 F (-2 C) by the time I quit in the late afternoon. I wore the Windshirt over a fleece pullover over a merino wool tee shirt. I took a few pictures using the tripod set on a tree branch and braced on the tree trunk.

The green part of the windshirt looked wet from falling snow but did not feel wet inside when I got back to the truck. The grey area (outside of the sleeves and upper back) seemed to be more moisture repellent and never looked wet.

IMAGE 6 lunch

In early February 2007 I went skiing at Sand Lakes Quiet Area in the Pere Marquette State Forest. I did 9.5 (15.3 km) miles in 4 hours. I wore the Windshirt over a fleece pullover over a merino wool tee shirt. Everything functioned well. There was about 5" (13 cm) of new snow on older tracks. The Temperature was 28 F (-2 C) when I started and dropped to 24 F (-4 C) by the time I quit at 6 PM (almost too dark to see the trail). It was snowing fairly hard the last 2 hours.

I managed to take one picture using the tripod wrapped around branches of a small pine.
IMAGE 7
I was almost posed the way I wanted to be when the shutter went off.

In mid February 2007 I went to Sleeping Bear Dunes for snowshoe hike. I wore the Windshirt over a fleece pullover over a merino wool tee shirt. My objective was to get a few more pictures for Reports.
I hiked about 3 hours while my hands and feet got so cold I was worried about frostbite. Temperature was 12 F (-11 C) with a strong wind. I went to the top of the dunes to get some pictures and soon gave up. The wind was so strong it seemed to go right through me. Between numb feet and numb hands when I tried to take pictures I gave up and hiked back to the truck. This was the first time in over 20 years I have quit a hike because I was cold. It wasn't all that cold, but the wind was too much for the way I was dressed. the best explanation I can think of for getting so cold is that the wind was very strong (that is a big reason the Sleeping Bear Dunes formed) and I was moving slower (less active) than usual. Both snowshoeing off trail and setting up camera gear are not activities that produce much body heat.This is not criticism of the Windshirt, the conditions were just too extreme.

In late February, during a winter storm warning, I went skiing at Sand Lakes Quiet Area in the Pere Marquette State Forest. The temperature was about 30 F (-1 C), with a very strong wind blowing and pushing wet heavy snow. This was the first time I wore the Windshirt in conditions where it actually soaked through. Wet wind driven snow from outside and sweat inside from heavy exertion was just too much. On the other hand, I think I would have been just as wet wearing any water proof jacket.

The Windshirt has performed very well, better than I expected in some ways. The Windshirt stops the wind very well, which I expected. The fabric stretches to make climbing hills with hiking poles easier.
The OR website describes the fabric as wind resistant and breathable. It also seems to be at least somewhat water repellent. When I was breaking trail after a new snowfall I often brushed against pine trees loaded with snow. Nothing soaked through. I stopped a few times after long stretches of trail to check inside the sleeves. Twice (so far) I wore the Windshirt in a light rain, while hiking and doing light trail maintenance. My inside clothing stayed dry, indicating to me that the Windshirt not only breathes well but also holds out small amounts of outside moisture.

I have washed the Windshirt twice, carefully following the directions. I hung it on a plastic hanger to dry. It dried overnight, so I'm not yet sure how long it takes to dry. I did not press the Windshirt. None of my outdoor wear gets pressed.

Based on my past experience of cross country skiing I expected the Windshirt to be soaked from sweat and snow after each outing. I am very pleased to report that this just did not happen with the Windshirt.

I am looking forward to warmer and windy weather in the next two months. Spring conditions, and a trip to Arizona, will provide opportunities for testing in different environments.

SUMMARY

I am very happy with the Windshirt. The Windshirt has done quite well. It keeps out the wind and breathes well to get rid of my own heat and moisture. Only once has it failed to stop the wind but that was extreme conditions and a very strong wind. Only once has it failed to keep out falling moisture. That time was a wet heavy snow pushed by high winds. I stayed warm but the inside of the Windshirt was wet when I got to the truck. What more could I ask of a windshirt? Could I ask it to keep out external moisture? It did quite well in both heavy snow and light rain. The Windshirt has done well in everything I could reasonably ask and a few times when I was pushing too much. I have not yet found any problems with durability. Even though I have done a lot of off trail hiking, skiing and snowshoeing there are no snags or ripped seams in the Windshirt.

What I like about the Windshirt:
It is a good windbreaker for such a light garment,
It breathes well,
I like the sleeve pocket. It is a very good place to carry my truck keys.

What I don't like at this time:
I have to take off the pack waist belt to open the side pockets,
The sleeve pocket is hard to open unless I hold the bottom of the sleeve with my left hand to pull the fabric tight,
When it is cold enough for mittens I have to take them off to use any of the zippers.








LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

May 18, 2007

During outdoor activities wearing the Windshirt, all in Michigan, the terrain varied from flat beach with an elevation of about 600 ft (183 m) up to hilly terrain and about 1200 ft (366 m) elevation.
The weather varied from hard driven snow at 20 F (-7 C) up to a sunny 65 F (18 C).

I had 10 days of hiking or hiking and trail work and even 3 days of skiing, also 6 days of backpacking.

From March 6 through March 20 we drove from home in northern lower Michigan south and west to Chandler, AZ (near Phoenix) to visit family for a week and drove back home. Except for the first day, leaving Michigan, traveling temperatures were from 45 F (7 C) to 60 F (16 C). I wore the Windshirt over a tee shirt for all stops along the way, except when in Michigan. While in the Phoenix area it was much too warm for more than a tee shirt and shorts.
The weather on the way home was only slightly warmer so I dressed the same way for all stops.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

In late March I went for 3 day hikes, 2 were primarily for trail work. Temperatures varied from a a low of 39 F (4 C) to a high of 62 F (17 C). These outings were all on the NCT in the Manistee National Forest. During the day of just hiking the temperature stayed at 39 F (4 C) and there was a strong wind up on the ridge above the river. I was wearing the OR Windshirt over a fleece shirt over a merino wool tee shirt. I was comfortable, except my hands got so cold I had to put on mittens.

The 2 days of trail work were warmer and I wore a merino wool tee shirt under the Windshirt. During the warmer day I took off the merino shirt and just wore the Windshirt, mostly to keep out the wind.

In early April I went skiing twice and hiking once. The first time skiing the snow was wet and heavy with a strong wind. The temperature held at about 30 F (-1 C). I was more than warm enough with the Windshirt over a fleece pullover and a merino LS tee shirt. When I got back to the truck the Windshirt was wet through from wind driven wet snow. Even with the Windshirt getting wet through I was still comfortable.

The other time skiing was colder, staying at 20 F (-7 C) all day. The snow had mostly stopped when I got to the trail head although it was still very windy. I was dressed the same and was comfortably warm while skiing.

In late April I finally got in some backpacking. I went for an overnight walk on the NCT combined with the Manistee River Trail for a loop in the Manistee National Forest. The temperature was 45 F (7 C) when I started walking. I was wearing the OR Marvel Windshirt over a merino wool LS tee shirt. I was carrying 28 lb (13 kg), including food enough for 3 days and 2 nights on the trail and 2 liters (2 qt) of water.
The temperature was up to 65 F (18 C) when I stopped for the day. I had walked 13 miles ( 21 km) and only stopped once for a late lunch and more water.
By 8:30 the sun was down and the day was getting colder now back down to 45 F (7 C). I was soon in the sleeping bag. I listened to music a little, then turned it off and went to sleep.

I woke at 3:00 AM and the temperature in the tent was 34 F (1 C). When nature calls an answer is necessary. After getting back in the bag I was soon asleep again.
I was up for the day at 6:00 AM, getting light but still before sunrise. I put on more clothes this morning. Added silk long johns and, under the Windshirt I wore the merino wool tee shirt, a polyester LS tee shirt and a fleece pullover. Everything packed up, breakfast finished and I started walking at 8:00. I stopped at 10:30 to take off the polyester shirt, long johns and the fleece pullover. The temperature was up to 60 F (16 C). Soon after it was still getting warmer so I finally took off the Windshirt.

When I stopped for lunch it was up to 72 F (22 C). I got back to my truck before 2 PM, with 9 mi (14 km) today and a total of 22 miles (35 km) for the two day loop.

In early May I went backpacking with a group for the first time. This trip was 4 days backpacking partly in the Mackinaw State Forest and partly in the Wilderness State Park, on the North Country Trail. This area is near the northern tip of lower Michigan.
I wore the OR Marvel Windshirt over a merino wool LS tee shirt. My pack weighed 28 lb (13 km) with 4 days food and 3 liters (3.2 qt) of water.
The first day was typical of the trip. We stopped for the day at 5:00 PM, after walking 9.8 mi (15.8 km). I had forgotten my hiking poles which are used to set up my tent. I had to get creative to set the tent up without the poles. I think I like it better without them. I heated my supper of dehydrated bean soup, ate and then hung up the food bag. Then I walked around to all the other sites to see what gear other people were using. Everyone was spread out so it seemed like we were all alone for the night.
I was in bed by 10:30. Listened to the iPod for a little bit before I got sleepy and turned it off. I woke at about 3 AM for the call of nature and the temperature was 29 F (-2 C). My feet get cold easily, even at home, so I put on fleece socks and went back to sleep. I woke up next at 6 AM, ready for breakfast and another day of hiking.

Here is a picture taken by another backpacker the fourth morning.
getting breakfast
getting breakfast ready


The Windshirt served me very well for backpacking. I'm a happy camper! OK, I will be after a few more changes in gear.

While backpacking I had spilled both coffee and hot soup on the front of the Windshirt. I had also leaned back against pine trees several times for breaks or when eating. I had several spots of pine pitch (sap) on the back of the Windshirt.
The day after I got home I put all the clothes I had worn in the washer. I was very surprised that the Windshirt came out clean after one complete cycle.

There have also been 2 dayhikes that were primarily trail work. The temperature was about the same both days, between 50 F (10 C) and 65 F (18 C). The second day started with a slow drizzle that lasted just over an hour. Soon after the rain quit we got out the chain saw and safety gear.
It was my day to run the chain saw.

ready to cut
ready to start cutting



We cut several logs and what could have become dangerous leaners off the trail.

SUMMARY

The Windshirt has done very well by me for the last 2 months. Temperatures have varied from 20 F (-7 C) up to 65 F (18 C) while I was wearing the Windhirt. I have worn it over a fleece pullover over a merino wool LS tee shirt, over just the merino wool LS tee shirt and over no shirt depending on the temperature and the activity.


CONTINUED USE

I will continue to wear the Windshirt in the spring and fall for hiking and trail work. I will wear it in the winter for hiking, skiing and snowshoeing, depending on the amount of snow cover. It will go along on any backpacking in the northeastern part of the country. Even in the hottest part of the summer we sometimes get temperatures of near freezing at night.

I would like to thank BGT and OR Gear for giving me the opportunity to test the OR Marvel Windshirt.

It has been an enjoyable experience.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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