Behind the Windbrake’s no-frills appearance lies a fleece fabric that’s the most wind-resistant and the toughest among 10 vests we tested. “When I was trail running across 10,000-foot mountain passes in Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks, the Windbrake thwarted 40-mph gusts,” says one tester.
The secret is a wind-stopping, proprietary laminate that’s sandwiched between outer and inner fleece layers.
While the Windbrake excels as a cool-weather outer layer, the membrane limits breathability, so testers steamed up while hiking hard.
Despite testers’ best attempts to rough it up, the vest showed little signs of wear after five months of heavy use.
$70; 16 oz.; rei.com