Interesting day, today.
I am going to flight training in 2 days, and spent much of today studying. In my company, the FAA has approved a 9 month training cycle. Every nine months, we spend 4-5 days going through refresher training, where we attend academic classes, and then 2 simulator missions which put us through the wringer.
These simulators are state of the art, have full visuals, and move on all 3 axes, to simulate flight. Each of these 2 missions consists of 2 hours of briefings and questions, followed by 4 hours actually in the simulator, going through all the problems you can imagine a broken airplane may sustain. We usually come out of these sessions worn out and frequently wringing wet; the idea is to test us in an academic situation so that in the real world, any problems we encounter we have already dealt with and solved. Hard work, but satisfying…
During a break, I took time to order another piece of my equipment puzzle, this time on the clothing side. It seems that in hiking, like many outdoor sports, one has to layer his clothes to stay warm, but not too warm. The goal is to keep from sweating too much, so that when you stop to rest, or at the end of the day, you do not quickly get cold from the perspiration on your body.
I have done some research on the subject, both online, and at my local REI and EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) stores. I could write pages on layering; for today, I bought a windshirt.
Lots of tradeoffs here. Weight is first; I wanted warmth first, followed closely by lightweight. Water resistance is nice, but waterproof adds a bunch of weight, and I have a rain jacket to take care of that.
I plan a wearing this windshirt a lot. For layering, I plan on a T-shirt or long sleeve lightweight top, perhaps a second layer, followed by this windshirt. That’s it, down to about 20 degrees F.
So…lots of information on the internet, and outdoorgearlab.com does some nice reviews. For this particular genre, their top 2 picks were the Arc’teryx Squamish hoodie jacket and the Patagonia Houdini.
One big issue I am finding, is that most of the state of the art gear is hard to find at a retail store. I was not able to try either of these products. The Houdini was cheaper and 1 ounce lighter, and I was leaning that direction, but several recent reviews of the new model said that it did not stuff properly into its own pocket, an issue when packing it up. I chose the more expensive Squamish to avoid returns. I don’t mind paying a premium on something I will use frequently.
Buying online is also about the bargains. REI is good for this. Their latest incentives: a $20 gift card for purchases today over $100. Done. Also, through the end of March, if you get their credit card, you get an additional $100 gift card. So… this $150 jacket is really only $30 (rationalizing…), but of course I have to spend the gift cards at REI. Not a problem; it’s my adult toy store!!!