Wind shirts; love them, hate them, think they’re an essential, or a total waste….search the various blogs out there and you’ll find someone supporting any of these positions. I guess it’s my turn to weigh in to add to the confusion, but I waited all season to come to a verdict and actually used the damn thing(s) in varying conditions.
Enlightened Equipment offers the Copperfield in three denier iterations; 20D (@1 CFM), 10D (15 CFM) and 7D (35 CFM). I’m not going to pretend to explain the science of CFM, METS and so on, there are plenty of experts out there that can do a better job than I. I can tell you this: CFM=short for cubic feet per minute (cu ft/min). It is a measurement of the velocity at which air flows into or out of a space. METS=Metabolic Equivalents, where 1 MET is the resting metabolic rate….the higher the exertion, the higher the MET. So in the EE universe, the 20D will provide the most wind protection and the 7D is the most breathable.
After scouring the web in researching and formulating a basic understanding appropriate for a music major, I determined that I would get the most use out of the 7D fabric. I’m a fairly heavy sweater, and the 35 CFM of the 7D would (theorhetically) carry me through a wide range of conditions, breathing during exertion (high METS) and providing just enough barrier in colder or windy conditions to form a layer for heat retention. Let’s look at some situations where I’ve donned this gossamer piece:
Biking: Lots of wind when you are cruising downhill at 35 MPH, and still some wind on the uphills when you are cranking. I’m not gonna stop at every hill bottom and top to don and doff a jacket. In April of 2018, I biked over 350 miles around the Olympic Peninsula, thankfully during a favorable weather window (no rain). During those times when it was too chilly for a single layer, but too warm for my biking jacket, I pulled out the miniscule EE Copperfield; not only does it weigh in at 1.91 ozs for size L, but I could cram it in small spaces on the limited real estate on my bike for easy access. And yes indeed, it provided just enough warmth in the morning and evening to keep my body temperature comfortable negotiating both uphills and downhills.
Tourism: During a trip to Tel Aviv, two of us opted for a tour of Jerusalem and Betheleham; however, the weather forecast was somewhat iffy, with rain showers and low temperatures. I wore the Copperfield most of the day. My buddy opted to buy an umbrella, but this jacket served me well for both warmth and rain protection. Now, at 35 CFM, this jacket is far from waterproof, but the showers encountered were brief, and I had just enough protection to stay dry. Any moisture on the jacket was soon dried by body heat and plain old air. My buddy wanted one.
Racing: Running the Seattle Half Marathon at the end of November is always a gamble….will the weather be terrible or just bad? My daughter and I lucked out with sunny skies for this race, but temps were rather low, especially in the morning before the race started. I wore the Copperfield pre race and during the race until about mile 4, where I stripped it off and easily stuffed it into the small waist sling where I carried my phone and keys. Perfect.
Hiking: The Copperfield proved itself again and again for those conditions that didn’t warrant a jacket but were just a bit cold for a single layer. Just today I wore it on a morning trainer, 7 miles and over 2,000’ of climb and descent, some parts quite steep. My buddy stripped off his second layer, but I was good on the uphill, never reaching the point where I needed to vent despite the uphill effort…..more METS.
Copperfield Wind Pants: Yes, I bought a pair, despite rarely needing to use them. However, I contacted the folks at Enlightened Equipment and asked them to do a custom fabric choice….I put 20D on the front half and 7D on the back. I wanted wind and moisture protection forward, mostly for moisture laden brush, but the breathability and venting of the 7D behind. Again, they are light enough and small enough to pack with little consideration for weight or space penalty. I have used them for transiting snow for sun protection and I packed them for a fastpacking trip on the Wonderland where I was moving for all but 3 hours….I didn’t use them during the day, but sure appreciated them trying to retain warmth in a minimal bivy for a few hours of sleep.
Considerations: Before purchasing these products you must determine why you need them….what conditions do you anticipate, do you favor wind protection over breathability, do you run hot or cold? Humidity, temperature, elevation gain etc? I certainly wouldn’t don this jacket for ‘schwacking through brush, it wouldn’t take much to tear this flimsy fabric. I bought these with a wary eye, not sure how the jacket would perform with my use, but I have been pleasantly surprised with its versatility. I also deem EE products to be fairly priced, and these pieces provide a lot of bang for the buck….for me. I would caution to do your due diligence for fabric choice because there is a huge difference between this jacket in 20D and 7D. I’m usually a high output person in my endeavors, and the 7D performed admirably across a fairly wide range of output and conditions before I deemed it necessary to add or subtract a layer. When you look at this usefulness for the small package and extremely light weight, count me in as an advocate for wind shirts. Lastly, also consider that these products are made in the US, a bonus for sure.