What should a windshirt be like? Light, compressible and obviously protecting from wind… It would be also good if it was comfortable and had practical pockets. It seems that this definition was fulfilled by the Helikon-Tex Windrunner, but is that enough?
The main fabric of the Helikon-Tex Windrunner windshirt is a thin nylon micro ripstop (recently named Windpack® by Helikon). The quite dense weave makes it so that the Windpack blocks the bg part of wind blows and thus protects from the wind (however, the protection is not complete). Teflon DWR makes the fabric waterproof in a small degree, thanks to which the Windrunner will also protect from a light rain.
The Windpack’s thinness makes up for great breathability of the construction (further increased by the mesh vents in the armpits) and makes it so the Helikon-Tex Windrunner dries quickly.
The cut of the Helikon-Tex Windrunner jacket is loose, but definitely not baggy – this ensures there is room for an additional fleece or other warm layer. The back of the jacket was additionally extended.
The Helikon-Tex Windrunner is zipped with an inversely sewn YKK zipper, which begins on chin-height and ends right under the sternum.
Below, under the main zipper, the manufacturer placed a large pocket closed on both ends with zippers.
On the inside two fabric compartments were sewn in allowing to keep small things or electronics – you must be careful though, because due to the loose cut of the Helikon-Tex Windrunner heavier objects will move around the pocket and hit the body while moving.
On the elbows reinforcements were sewn from an additional layer of fabric. The sleeves of the Helikon-Tex Windrunner end with elastic cuffs.
Lower edge of the Helikon-Tex Windrunner jacket can be adjusted using a shockcord and two regulators placed on the sides.
The hood of the Helikon-Tex Windruner was made from a single layer of Windpack – that is enough to provide basic wind protection for the head. Above the forehead a small laminated visor was placed. A good feature is the large degree of hood regulation, which is enabled by regulators on its back and on the sides. It is a shame though, that the excess of the shockcord was led out in a way, that makes it unaesthetically stick out on the sides.
When unused, jacket can be hidden in the mesh compartment sewn from the inside – giving a handy package a bit larger than two fists, which can be easily packed as a “just in case” gear for the next excursion.
Our thoughts on Helikon-Tex Windrunner Windshirt
One of the main advantages of the Helikon-Tex Windrunner is its low weight – according to the producer, the jacket weighs merely ~200g. Combined with the compact size of the folded Windrunner, this makes it possible to pack it even in a larger waist pack or in a pockets of the cargo pants. Despite its low thickness the Windpack fabric turned out to be durable enough to withstand contact with single branches in Polish forests as well as with volcanic rocks in the Icelandic mountains. Obviously, it is not an “indestructible” fabric which will survive extensive crawling and wading through bushes, but it doesn’t need extensive care either.
Thanks to its qualities the Helikon-Tex Windrunner proved itself during mountain hikes where the sun and (or) exercise provided such amount of heat that any softshell would be too hot, but wind protection was necessary. In this aspect, selecting the black coloured jacket was a mistake – for windy, but sunny hikes in the summer season a brighter colour would have been a better choice.
In colder conditions the Helikon-Tex Windrunner windshirt works well with a regular fleece jacket – adding necessary wind protection without impeding breathability or adding excessive heat. It is worth remembering that the windproofness of the Windpack nylon isn’t absolute – during stronger winds blows can be noticeable – nevertheless, the protection is still on an adequate level.
It is worth to add that despite all of its pros, the Helikon-Tex Windrunner unfortunately is unsuitable for use right out of the box. It turned out, that after taking it out from the foil, the primary fabric stinks so intensively, that my jacket had to air for a week before it was suitable for use. Even now, after half a year of use (and a few washes), the fabric still gives off a specific scent, it is however (fortunately) noticeable only while sticking your nose to it – and the Helikon-Tex Windrunner can be used normally and comfortably. There is only the matter of the rather unesthetic shockcord sticking out from the hood regulation…
Despite a few cons (the smell and the shockcord excess on the hood), the advantages of the construction – breathability, low weight, wind protection and general functionality – make the Helikon-Tex Windrunner a good companion for outdoor excursions. It will prove itself anywhere where a bit of compact wind protection is needed – whether as a standalone jacket, or as an addition to other clothing.
+ Low weight
+ Protection against wind
+ General comfort of use and versatility
+ Regulation of the hood
– Smell of the fabric (after unpacking)
– The excess of shockcord on the hood
Many thanks to the Helikon-Tex for giving us a chance of testing the Helikon-Tex Windrunner Windshirt!