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GEAR WE RECOMMEND
Weather Comfort: Wind Shell for Wind or Rain
See my general discussion of outwear.
A wind and rain shell is critical. For wind, it adds 10-20° F of comfort, and getting wet and cold is no fun. I simply cannot pack and carry a heavier rain shell (bulk and weight, too warm, etc), so my priority is light weight and wind/water proof simple construction.
A heavier shell or insulated shell doesn’t function any better for wind or rain, and I won’t take a heavier shell, so there is no point— I have several high quality but bulkier shells sitting unused in my closet; they don’t work for what I like to do in the outdoors.
The North Face Diad jacket weighs about 8 ounces, and thus can be left in the bottom of one’s daypack for use when conditions arise— set and forget. Use it over any other kind of jacket; it’s windproof which is a major plus when it’s blowin’, and it’s waterproof with a hood as well. One zipper, no leaks. Terrific.
The Diad is my “go to” shell for day hikes when I want wind/rain protection, but it must take next to no space and weigh almost nothing.
North Face makes the Diad seasonally, so it can be hard to find some times of the year. This really irks me, so I bought three of them— I leave one in my pack, one in my car, and one for at-home use. Good products sometimes get discontinued, and so by having three of them, I’m “good” for some time.