Why we like it It’s a softshell, it’s a midlayer, it’s a wind shirt—all in one stretchy, lightweight package with a killer price-to-function ratio.
Protection The 86-percent polyester, 14-percent spandex fabric sheds light rain (up to about 20 minutes) and shielded one tester from whipping winds on British Columbia’s Panorama Ridge. “It was perfect for mild-but-windy conditions,” she reports. “And the fabric is thin enough to protect my arms from the sun into the 60s without causing me to overheat.”
Breathability Testers reached for the Ventus (and women’s Lunar) for sweaty pursuits like biking, backpacking, and trail running. It excelled at moving moisture: “When I got going, I didn’t have to fuss with layers like I usually do,” says a cold-weather Colorado runner. “The shell let out most of my body heat, and sweat evaporated quickly rather than sitting on my skin.” A deep chest zip helps dump excess heat.
Features You get a high, tricot-lined collar, thumbholes, and one chest pocket big enough for keys or a thin wallet. And the low-profile cut lets it slide neatly under a hardshell or puffy, making it an effective midlayer in moderate temperatures. “It’s ideal for alpine conditions in the 60s where a fleece or wool midlayer would be too hot,” says one tester.
Packability Softball-size scrunchability makes it easy to tote.
$80; 9 oz. (m’s L); m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL; rabusa.com