I warm up very quick and sweat a lot, that's why I am usually looking for the most breathable equipment. My chose is regular fleece plus a breathable wind breaker on top if there is wind. (Please refer to this article: Fleece or Soft Shell?). But for the rain I also carry a waterproof hard shell.

When would one carry both a wind jacket and waterproof hard shell?

When would one carry just one of each?

  • 2
    It will depend on the person, weather, and hike.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 17:26
  • I want to know this more as a statistics (I understand the problem, as I already explained in the description). But hearing what experienced hikers say adds a lot of value to the theory.
    – cripox
    Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 20:07
  • 1
    @cripox I suggest you heed Sue's advice, it is exactly on point. Asking about opinions is not allowed as it is not helpful, but there is a huge gray area on that and an edit as suggested would make the question valid in my opinion. Regarding your "statistics" point: You will anyway not get any kind of representative sample.
    – imsodin
    Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 21:17
  • One word that will change your life: Schoeller. Loosely translated it means, "magical outdoor feel-good clothes." Schoeller is breathable, warm, windproof and water repellant. When I go snowshoeing, ice climbing, or skiing I'll often wear only my schoeller shells over a base layer. For wet conditions I'll also bring my Paclite triple-ply Goretex jacket to layer over my schoeller soft shell.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 16:37

2 Answers 2


When wind is guaranteed but rain is unlikely you might decide the extra weight is worth it. But good layering with a hard shell that is breathable and has underarm zips can be quite comfortable while saving you the weight of the soft shell. This is my preferred option as the times I get too hot are generally when it's raining. Wind blocking fleece is an alternative too.

  • So you wear the hard shell a lot when not raining, and are OK with that in terms of comfort? Do you also not mind using a good / expensive / sensitive hard shell a lot and damage / wear it, when maybe something cheaper will do most of the times?
    – cripox
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 10:44
  • @cripox on the way up most of the year I tend to find I don't need a completely windproof layer -- a baselayer and normal fleece do the trick with a pack on. Damage isn't something I'm too worried about -- I don't have to put up with serious thorns very much. Wear on the shoulders might be more of an issue but the amount of time it's on against the wind is small compared to the amount of time it's worn against rain, so the extra wear in minimal.
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 11:05
  • 2
    Rain jackets doubles up as wind breaks... I see no reason to carry a wind breaker and not carry a rain jacket. Specially in areas that weather changes very quickly.
    – Desorder
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 0:12

When cool temperatures and wind is a concern, I use a thin, very light windshirt. If it is cold enough to need fleece, the windshirt comes off and the fleece goes on. I have a new, fairly densely woven fleece from Patagonia that offers some wind protection but not is not rain resistant. If more protection is needed, a light rain jacket or heavy rain parka goes on top of the fleece. Because at that point, the weather is usually cool enough that I can adjust the zippers on the fleece and jacket to prevent overheating. The windshirt adds almost no weight to my pack. When cycling on cool days, I often through the fleece over the windshirt at long stops.

Your needs will depend on the local climate, I live where it rains often but is usually not misty. In areas with persistent mist and dense fog, a different layering system might be better.

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