A stylish and effective windshield that packs down small, weighs next to nothing and is made using entirely recycled materials? Sign us up
Windproof and water repellent
Light and packable
Zipped chest pocket big enough for your phone
Stay put hood
Adjustable hem and elasticated wrists
Entirely recycled materials
A little pricey
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Jack Wolfskin Prelite Windbreaker: first impressions
Let’s face it, not every climate calls for the ubiquitous waterproof jacket for hiking, even though we say that you should never leave the house without one. There are days and places where all you need is a lightweight, breathable windbreaker, and in those circumstances, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better one than this. This windbreaker manages to be ultralight without feeling fragile, and still keeps out a howling gale on a high ridge.
• List price: £115
• Gender specification: Men’s and women’s sizing available
• Sizes available: Men’s S - XXL / Women’s: XS - XL
• Materials: 100% Polyester
• Fit: Slim
• Weight: 4.2oz / 120g (women’s small)
• Colors: Guave, Dolphin, Gecko, Silver gray
• Best use: Hiking
In addition to the TEXASHIELD ECOSPHERE PRO fabric, which is water repellent and breathable as well as windproof, an adjustable hem and elasticated cuffs help seal out the breeze and a stay put hood challenges the wind when you want to keep your head and ears out of the breeze. There’s a chest pocket big enough to hold most phones and the whole thing packs down to about the size of a small apple. It’s a little on the pricey side, but it’s a good looking jacket that you’ll be happy wearing around town as well as up a hill, so think you’ll find a way to get your money’s worth. Oh, and did we mention the whole thing is constructed using recycled materials?
Jack Wolfskin Prelite Windbreaker: in the field
I’ve been in the market for a new windbreaker for travel as well as dry, windy days when my waterproof jacket would be too much and this one seems to really fit the bill. Scotland is the windiest country in Europe, so I’ve had ample opportunity to test it and I recently got it out on a fresh, windy romp in the Arrochar Alps where I got blown off the trail and my sunglasses were blown off my head.
Here’s how it performed.
Sizing and fit
I tested a small and it fits true to size. Slim but enough room to wear it over a light mid layer and not so loose as to be super flappy.
I can barely feel this jacket when I’m wearing it, so comfort is no issue, and none of the places where it might touch my skin chafe or rub.
Weight and packability
It’s not the lightest windbreaker I’ve tested (that distinction goes to the Montane Lite-Speed Trail Pull-On) but it basically weighs nothing and that’s impressive since it has a hood and pocket (which that lighter jacket lacks).
It packs down into its own pocket to about the size of a small apple, except it’s squishier than an apple so you can basically get it in any pocket or backpack.
Weather protection and breathability
I really did put this to the test in high winds and it’s great for keeping the wind off, which means that I stayed warm without adding insulation. The hood never blows down even though it’s not adjustable, which is impressive, and the elasticated cuffs keep my wrists warm. That said, the last stretch up to the summit of Ben Arthur is pretty steep and while I worked up a sweat, this shell breathes really well. It’s not waterproof, but it holds up against a light rain too.
Storage and durability
As I’ve mentioned, the zipped chest pocket is a nice bonus since it can be annoying not to be able to access your phone once you’ve pulled on a windbreaker. It doesn’t have hand warming pockets but I don’t think it needs them as I use my backpack for my gear and gloves for my hands.
It’s not as fragile as some ultralight windbreakers and running jackets too, so I’m not afraid to get it out on some more rugged adventures.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.