A windproof jacket is a lightweight garment designed with a windproof insulating membrane on its outer surface. It is generally used as a third layer during the mid-season to protect against the elements. Windproof jackets are versatile and can be adapted to a wide range of situations, whether in everyday life, for various sporting activities such as mountain biking, trail riding or running, or for hiking, among others.
Depending on the model and its features, a windproof jacket can offer additional protection against water when combined with a waterproof jacket, against moisture with a breathable jacket, or against the cold with an insulated, warm version.
Windproof jackets are compact and practical, so they can easily be taken anywhere and quickly put on or taken off to suit the wearer's needs. For example, they can be useful for coping with a feeling of heat during a race, or for avoiding thermal shock when descending a mountain pass on a mountain bike after a climb in the sun. Windproof jackets are therefore considered essential accessories for all sportsmen and women.
Different types of jacket
Windproof jackets come in a variety of models for different uses, whether in sports or everyday life:
The classic folding windbreaker,
Windbreakers designed specifically for hiking,
Windbreakers for running and trail running,
The warm, lined windbreaker for cold conditions,
The urban windbreaker for city use.
The folding classic
The classic folding windbreaker offers versatile protection for everyday use. Often referred to as a "k-way", it is made from a lightweight fabric specially designed to block draughts and resist rain. Its main feature is its lightness and ability to be easily folded and stored in a small pocket, making it space-saving and convenient to carry wherever you go.
Hiking windbreakers are specifically designed to protect hikers from the elements, while offering breathability during exercise. There are two main types of jacket:
Softshell: This windproof hiking jacket is made up of two layers. It includes a thermal fleece layer that provides warmth for the hiker, and a water-repellent outer layer that offers protection against light weather. This jacket is designed to withstand light showers and cool mid-season temperatures.
Hardshell jacket: This is a fully waterproof windproof jacket, but without the insulating inner layer of a softshell. This touring windbreaker offers complete protection against the elements, but should be worn with a fleece for optimum thermal insulation.
For mountain biking
MTB-specific windbreakers are specially designed to meet the demands of off-road cycling, as well as the needs of cycling in general, whether on the road, gravel, racing, etc. These windbreakers generally feature a water-repellent or waterproof coating, and a helmet-compatible hood.
Road bike windbreakers are even more specialized. They are designed with a lighter fabric and a tailored cut, featuring a shorter length at the front and a longer one at the rear. This design aims to optimize aerodynamics and protection for the cyclist while riding.
For trail running
The running windbreaker, also known as the trail windbreaker, is specially designed to meet the needs of high-intensity running activities, such as road running, trail running or Nordic walking. This sports jacket is made from a water-repellent and extremely breathable fabric, offering protection from the elements while allowing runners to train without being cooled by their own perspiration.
The warm windbreaker
For winter or cold-weather outings, there are warm, lined windproof jackets that offer complete protection against wind, water and low temperatures. Often called parkas or down jackets, these thicker windproof jackets are both waterproof and have insulating layers inside and out.
What sets these warm windbreakers apart from other types of jacket is their specific design for winter activities, where temperatures are low. They are ideal for activities such as mountain biking on snow, trail riding, hiking or sea outings.
For the city
The urban windbreaker is a stylish, comfortable jacket specially designed for urban wear. Made from waterproof fabric, this jacket offers optimum protection for everyday use.
The urban windbreaker comes in a variety of forms, such as an oilskin with a waterproof kerosene or plastic coating, or a caban, a short, warm, waterproof jacket inspired by traditional marine outfits. These models are specifically designed to combine style and functionality, enabling people to stay comfortable and protected from the elements while sporting a trendy urban look.
For what purpose?
Depending on your intended use, here are a few tips for choosing your windproof jacket:
For mid-season outings or multi-day hikes, opt for a Hardshell jacket. This jacket allows you to adjust the layers according to the temperature. You can wear it alone over a technical t-shirt in windy conditions, or add a fleece underneath if you need to keep warm.
For summer day trips, a folding windbreaker is ideal. This type of jacket is easily stored in your bag and only comes out when there's a shower or unexpected wind. It's lightweight and will keep you dry without making you too hot.
For winter outings or ski resorts, opt for a warm windbreaker like a parka or down jacket. Choose a jacket with a substantial thermal lining and total waterproofing to withstand the snow.
For city outings in wet weather, opt for a fully waterproof urban windbreaker. You can opt for a Hardshell-type jacket or a parka-type lined windbreaker. These options provide complete protection against water and wind, which is essential for long walks in city centers.
For sports sessions, choose a windbreaker specially designed for these activities. For intense activities such as running, trail riding or mountain biking, opt for a jacket with high breathability. For gentler activities such as walking, fishing or sailing, a softshell jacket, which is both breathable and insulating, will be more suitable.
By taking these recommendations into account, you'll be able to choose the windproof jacket that best suits your specific use, and ensure you're protected from the elements while remaining comfortable.
What are the criteria?
Windproof jackets offer two types of protection against water and humidity: water repellency and waterproofing.
Water-repellent windproof jackets have an outer coating on whichwater dropsslide off without penetrating the fabric. These models are suitable for light rains and showers. However, they cannot withstand large quantities of water.
Waterproof windproof jackets are lined with fabrics that completely prevent water from penetrating the jacket. They are ideal for longer outings such as day hikes, treks or in snowy conditions. They are true rain jackets.
It's important to choose the right protection for the intended use of your windproof jacket, whether it's for sports, urban or multi-purpose use. For example, our DSJ down jacket is fully waterproof, offering optimum protection against light and heavy showers. What's more, its warm, lined interior means it can withstand snow and low temperatures.
When you're looking for a windbreaker suitable for sports, it's essential to prioritize good breathability for efficient evacuation of perspiration. Running windbreakers with GORE-TEX membranes offer optimum breathability, making them an ideal choice for all kinds of races and all seasons.
It's crucial to point out that not all windproof jackets come with thermal insulation. So, if you're looking for a windbreaker that offers extra warmth, it's essential to carefully check the model's level of thermal insulation.
Similarly, if you prefer a windbreaker without thermal insulation so that you can wear fleeces or thick sweaters underneath, it's advisable to choose a model with a cut that's loose enough to allow you to be comfortable while wearing your other clothes.
In addition to the main criteria to consider when choosing a windbreaker, there are several accessory criteria that can enhance comfort and performance according to your specific needs, such as cuffs, pockets, collar and hood.
The cuffs of windproof jackets should be fitted with elastics to provide effective protection against water ingress, especially if you're using your windbreaker as a rain jacket. Adjustable cuffs with Velcro or elastics are also handy for adjusting their tightness to the size of your wrists or the volume of your gloves.
The size, waterproofing and location of pockets should be carefully considered. They should be spacious enough to hold your hands, gloves or even a hiking map. Pocket placement should not interfere with the wearing of a backpack, and seams should be waterproof to protect contents from the elements.
The hood of your windbreaker should be adapted to the activities you'll be doing. For hiking, the hood must be compatible with a backpack. If you're a road, gravel or mountain biker, the hood shouldn't interfere with helmet use or cause discomfort by inflating with air while riding.
The collar of your windproof jacket is an area prone to chafing and water infiltration. Pay close attention to the type of fabric used for the collar, and to any buttons that may be uncomfortable to wear and cause irritation. Choose a collar with a tightening system to protect you from the rain.