When you’re headed out on a windy day, you want a jacket that keeps you warm, protects you from the wind cutting through your skin like a knife, and isn’t made from a loud fabric that folks might hear three blocks away.
My current windbreaker of choice is the Icebreaker Tropos Hooded Windbreaker.
Icebreaker is known for its merino wool, which is breathable, moisture-wicking, and anti-bacterial. In the case of this jacket, that merino wool is present in an eyelet, corespun lining (made from 84-percent merino and 16-percent nylon) that’s durable and provides optimal ventilation. The shell itself is nylon (52 percent of which is recycled), and doesn’t make that loud swish-swish sound that often plague windbreakers. Merino is super lightweight, soft, non-itchy, non-clammy, warm in the cold and cool in the heat, and has a miraculous ability to resist odor. It’s naturally renewable, recyclable and biodegradable.
An asymmetrical center front zipper prevents chafing, and the offset shoulder seams prevent pack rub when you wear the jacket with a backpack. That center front zipper also has a storm flap, so the cold wind doesn’t scream through the zipper.
The hood is adjustable with a drawcord, allowing you to determine how much you want to batten down. The hem is also drawcord-adjustable, so you can change things up on the fly.
Zippered hand pockets help keep your valuables exactly where you put them, with no surprises.
Don’t let the merino fabric stress you out when it comes to cleaning it. Just machine wash cold in a delicate cycle, wash with like colors, don’t use softeners, and don’t bleach. Either flat dry in the shade or in your hotel room, and there’s no need to iron.
The women’s Tropos Hooded Windbreaker comes in sun (yellow-gold) and monsoon (dark gray) and lists for $250 on the Icebreaker site. There’s a men’s version in the same colors and for the same price, as well.