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The GO Outdoors Guide to Windproofing

This guide explains how windproofing works, from breathable areas and fabrics as well as coatings and ratings that can test the level of windproofing.

Why you should choose windproof protection

Generally if you purchase a waterproof item, be it a tent, shoes or a waterproof jacket, it will most likely be waterproof. Typically all hardshell jackets are windproof, but with softshells, some jackets still allow wind to permeate.

Windproofing is important in the outdoors, particularly when you are at height. Hill walking or climbing can increase your exposure to winds as oppose to walking in lower areas, such as valleys and dips.

Without windproofing protection, cold vapours can reach you, causing chills and discomfort.

Windproof items typically also have waterproofing capabilities, and tend to be more breathable than a waterproof alternatives. Jackets designed to prevent wind entering for example are designed to be breathable as well as windproof. This makes windproof items ideal for use in typical British weather, when it is cold and drizzly, but not pouring with rain.

As many enthusiasts are keen to point out, you are unlikely to ever be out in the pouring rain (unless you get hit by very unpredicatble weather) so having a breathable windproof layer is of higher importance for general wear.

The use of softshells for active wear with the need for this extra breathability has meant advancements in how clothing is windproofed.

In the case of jackets, hardshells may be waterproof and windproof, but their levels of breathability are lower.

In many cases, for use during active periods, you may need a windproof softshell item, so you stay comfortable.

Polartec Windpro

Polartec WindPro is a wind resistant fabric created with tight yarn construction that allows the fabric to reduce the effects of wind chill, with 4 x the effectiveness of a standard fleece.

Often used in gloves and as a fleece, Polartec Windpro is not laminated to the face fabric, so it retains it’s breathability, of around 85% of a traditional fleece.

  • 4 times more wind resistant than traditional fleece
  • Warmth without weight
  • Highly breathable
  • Water repellent
  • Durable
  • Machine washable
  • While wind blows right through traditional fabric, Polartec® Wind Pro® provides 4x as much protection and remains breathable.

Although fabric such as standard fleece are not windproof, close knitted fabrics can repel bulk amounts of wind due to the density of the fabric. The higher density the garment, the more closed the knit is, and the more capable it is of resisting wind.

Finished with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) layer on an inner insulating fabric with a close weave, knit based windproofing is generally cheaper than the use of a membrane.

Windproofs - What to choose

Windproof Coatings and Membranes can be applied to a garment to achieve windproofing. Most waterproofs, thanks to their coating, are also windproof.

However, a windproof garment may not also be waterproof Membranes are added to the inner of a garment to make them windproof. PTFE or polytetrafluoroethylene is applied as a membranes to the inner layer of a fabric to make it waterproof.

PFTE is a synthetic bend of fluoropolymer and tetrafluoroethylene fibers, also known by the brand name of Teflon PTFE is an excellent coating for outdoor wear as it resists shrinkage, whilst retaining strength against both UV rays and general abrasion.

Pertex Classic

Pertex utilizes a tight weave on the outer yarns of the gabroc that allow moisture to pass through with ease. Moisture is absorbed by the inner yarns, ctreating maximum levels of breathability and complete windproof protection.

  • Lightweight
  • High wicking action
  • Fast drying
  • Wind resistant
  • Dry and comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Soft handle, providing comfort and maximum loft for insulated items
  • Excellent value
  • Machine or hand wash at 40°C (104°F)
  • Use a synthetic setting and mild soap
  • Avoid fabric softeners
  • Rinse well in cold water
  • Cool tumble dry


  • GORE Windstopper is a branded usage of PFTE, and is where a microporous polyurethane is applied between the outer layer and the inner liner of a garment to make it windproof.
  • Windstopper differs from GORE-TEX in that it is not a waterproof fabric, with no sealed seams or technical capabilities to provide a sufficient barrier against rain for more than a short period of time.
  • Windstopper products are made in varying levels of breathability, and as with any membrane or coating, there is a fine balancing act between the permeability of wind proofing (or waterproofing), which is decreased with a thicker membrane, and the breathability, which decreases with the thickness of the membrane coating.
  • Windstopper use membrane technology to ensure that you have appropriate climate control, where heat is distributed to your optimum level. (30 to 32 degrees.) Construction with polyester or polyamide makes sure that sweat flows away from the skin, and allows excessive body heat to escape efficiently, keeping wind out and offering excellent levels of breathability

Pertex Microlight

Pertex Microlight is made from tightly woven yarns to prevent excessive heat loss through the fabric. It is downproof and windproof, water-repellent and durable.

  • Downproof
  • Ultralight
  • Wind resistant
  • Luxuriously soft.
  • Well balanced. Offers significant weight reduction while maintaining proper strength and abrasion resistance
  • Packs 25% smaller compared to standard 44 decitex fabrics
  • Dense weave reduces heat loss = warmer sleeping bags
  • Machine or hand wash at 40°C (104°F)
  • Use a synthetic setting and mild soap
  • Avoid fabric softeners
  • Rinse well in cold water
  • Cool tumble dry

Polartec Powershield

With nearly 100% windproofing capabilities, Polartec is an ideal choice for both breathability and windproofing. Stretch woven fabrics are used alongside a PU membrane layer, allowing it to repel wind.

  • Blocks 98% of the wind
  • Highly breathable
  • Water repellent
  • Extremely abrasion resistant
  • Less noise than a hardshell
  • Stretch for active comfort
  • Warmth without weight
  • Machine washable

Pertex Equilibrium

Pertex Equilibrium uses capillary action technology so moisture is transported away from the skin to the outside of the fabric where it evaporates, for a body temperature ‘Equilibrium’.

Pertex Equilibrium has a unique ‘denier gradient’ structure that combines two different yarns with different properties. The outer yarn has larger filaments, next to another yarn with smaller filaments. You can actually see the different yarns when comparing the inside and outside of the fabric. Moisture will move from larger filaments to smaller filaments. On the outside the smaller filaments have a relatively high surface area which causes the excessive moisture to evaporate quickly. Through evaporative heat loss Equilibrium reduces overheating.

The raised yarns on the inside of the Equilibrium fabrics create a micro-climate between the skin and fabric. This prevents the fabrics from sticking to the skin during intense activity. It also supports the moisture movement process.

  • Patented ‘denier gradient’ structure moves moisture away from the skin
  • Weatherproof
  • Tough and durable
  • Very low comparable weight and packing volume
  • Lifts moisture away from the skin – keeping you dry
  • Texture on the inside holds the fabric away from the skin – creating a comfortable ‘microclimate’
  • Reduces wind chill factor – keeping muscles warm
  • Lightweight and soft to handle – allowing full freedom of movement
  • Strong and robust – suitable for rigorous use
  • Comparable low weight and packing volume
  • Up to 75% less bulky than most ‘soft shell fabrics’
  • CPF 30+ filters UVR
  • Machine or hand wash at 40°C (104°F)
  • 30°C (86°F) for stretch fabric
  • Use a synthetic setting and mild soap
  • Avoid fabric softeners
  • Rinse well in cold water
  • Cool tumble dry or iron on a synthetic setting

Layering System Video

The layering system is a technique of wearing your outdoor clothing that protects you from the conditions, despite sun, wind, rain, or snow.

Weather is changeable, especially in the UK, these light and packable layers of clothing are designed to be kept in your rucksack, ready to be pulled out at a moment’s notice. This video is here to help give you the information you need to stay comfortable and dry, whatever the weather.


Paramo clothing, is a windproof due to the tightly woven microfibers (that are also able to be water resistant when treated with Nikwax.) The microfibers stop wind from entering the garment.

Páramo® Directional Waterproofs are made with Nikwax Analogy® which mimics the action of mammal fur, directing water away from you whilst protecting your insulation to keep you warm and dry. Conventional breathable waterproofs can only cope with 20% of the sweat you produce.

Páramo® Windproof garments are made from Nikwax® Windproof fabric - it cuts the wind and deflects the rain whilst providing excellent moisture vapour transfer or ‘breathability’.