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FR - OR Contour Windshirt - Andy H.

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  • a_henrichs
    Hi Kenny, Here s my FR for the Contour windshirt. The html version can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/lrbny2 . Thanks for the edits! Andy Field Conditions I
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2009
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      Hi Kenny,

      Here's my FR for the Contour windshirt. The html version can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/lrbny2 . Thanks for the edits!


      Field Conditions

      I have used this windshirt many times since I received it. I have used it while on two overnight backpacking trips, five day hikes, a week-long whitewater rafting trip, several times while walking around town, and dozens of times while on my bike commute. The overnight backpacking trips took place in the Sawatch Range of central Colorado. The first trip was in the vicinity of East Cross Creek and I covered approximately 12 mi (19 km) during this weekend. The second outing took me up the Pine Creek drainage to Missouri Basin. From here, I hiked three high peaks and covered approximately 26 mi (42 km) over two days. Elevations on these trips ranged from 9,000 ft (2,700 m) to slightly over 14,000 ft (4,300 m). Temperatures ranged from a low of 40° F (4° C) at night to a high of 80° F (27° C) during the day. On these trips I experienced very strong winds and occasional light rain. The day hikes I went on ranged from 4 mi (6 km) to 15 mi (24 km). Four of these hikes took place in the foothills along the Front Range in Colorado. The elevation of these hikes range from 5,600 ft (1700 m) to 8,000 ft (2,400 m). All of these hikes featured generally mild conditions with an average temperature of 65° F (18° C), light winds, and plenty of sun. The fifth hike was a climb of Pacific and Atlantic Peaks, two high peaks near Copper Mountain, Colorado. The elevation on this hike ranged from 11,000 ft (3,400 m) to nearly 14,000 ft (4,300 m). This hike was quite cold; the average temperature never climbed above 35° F (2° C). I experienced strong wind, light snow, and very little sun on this hike.

      In late June, I was fortunate enough to raft the Selway River in Idaho. Elevation on the river averaged about 2,000 ft (610 m). We had excellent weather with almost no precipitation, mild temperatures, and light winds. The rest of my use has been around the cities of Colorado Springs and Golden, Colorado. My daily bike commute was approximately 2 mi (3 km) one-way in Colorado Springs and is now 5 mi (8 km) one-way in Golden.

      Wearing the Contour Windshirt on the summit of Pacific Peak

      Field Observations

      So far, I have been very pleased with the performance of the Outdoor Research Contour Windshirt. As I mentioned in my Initial Report, I was right on the sizing border between a medium and large windshirt so I elected to size up; I have been very happy with that choice. It has allowed me to layer more comfortably under the windshirt, although it does not leave enough room to wear my down jacket under the windshirt. This has only been an issue once when it was very cold and raining. Keeping my activity level high helped to keep me warm in this instance. While I initially brushed off the side zipper as silly, it actually makes life much easier when putting the windshirt on and taking it off. It has also proven useful as additional venting.

      The Contour Windshirt has done an excellent job of blocking wind and precipitation. I have worn the windshirt in winds approaching 40 mph (64 kph) and it has performed admirably. While a gust will occasionally sneak in below the waist or up a sleeve, the fabric itself seems nearly impenetrable to wind. I was initially concerned about the lack of elastic in the cuffs, but it actually hasn't been much of an issue. The DWR treatment has proven to be moderately durable. When I first started testing the windshirt, any type of precipitation would bead up on the surface and roll right off. Even muddy water would bead up and brush off easily. If the muddy water was left to dry, it was more difficult to remove the dirt stain. After significant use and two washings (to remove the aforementioned dirt) I have noticed that precipitation doesn't bead up quite as well as it once did. It seems to absorb more moisture than it initially did, but I have yet to see the fabric soaked through.

      I have found that the windshirt does not provide much additional warmth. Specifically, I have found that it is comfortable to wear while hiking in the shade until the temperature reaches 70° F (21° C). When it is sunny, the black fabric makes it too warm in temperatures over 50° F (10° C). This lack of warmth should be unsurprising given that it is constructed with a fairly thin Cordura fabric. This has, however, challenged my typical clothing system. The relatively heavy weight of the Contour Windshirt combined with its lack of insulation doesn't fit into my lightweight backpacking and hiking clothing system that well. Throwing a lightweight fleece into my pack would solve the insulation problem but would add even more weight. That said, the weight of the Contour Windshirt has justified itself by ensuring it is incredibly durable. Even after getting scraped along rocks, covered in mud, and brushed against trees, it looks like new.

      Blocks wind
      Sheds precipitation

      Doesn't fit with my traditional clothing system

      This concludes my Field Report.  I will append this report with my Long Term Report in approximately two months.  Check back then for further details.

      Thank you to Outdoor Research and BackpackGearTest.org for giving me the opportunity to test this windshirt.
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