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Columbia Windefend Half Zip Shirt : For Men and Women

I love cold weather, but I hate being cold! I also hate looking like a blob when wearing all the layers I need to stay warm. Thanks to Columbia’s Windefend Half-Zip Shirt, I’m staying warm and looking sleek this winter.

I used to wear an undershirt, a turtleneck, a sweater, a puffy down coat, and a scarf for my outdoor adventures, but this winter I have clothing that works smarter, not harder. Columbia’s Windefend Half Zip Shirt keeps me warm without the bulk; it’s the only layer I need under a light down jacket.

I’ve been wearing this body-hugging, mid weight baselayer for horseback riding and hiking near my mountain cabin in temperatures just under 30 degrees F, and it’s a dream! The front of the Windefend Half Zip Shirt is windproof, which makes a huge difference when the wind picks up and I’m heading back into it on my way back to the stables. The wind doesn't get through the front panel, which helps keep my torso warm so I don’t lose body heat. In freezing temps, I really appreciate the high collar, which does an excellent job of keeping my neck warm. I love not having to wear a scarf!

The Windefend Half Zip Shirt also does a great job of insulating so I always stay warm without overheating. When I’m working hard, I can unzip the long zipper on the front of the shirt for ventilation. This top breathes well, too. Columbia uses a moisture-wicking material called Omni-Wick that helps me stay dry. Thanks to this feature, I don’t get cold on my hike back home when I’ve slowed down. Any moisture my body created during intense activity has already been wicked away, keeping me from getting cold during the less active parts of my hike.

The sleeves on the Columbia Windefend Half Zip Shirt are very long and have thumb holes, so my wrists are never exposed to the cold air and I can extend my arms in front of me and still be covered. This is a neat feature to have while riding and grooming my horse. I can still comfortably wear my riding gloves and have my wrists covered and warm no matter what I’m doing. There are two deep pocket panels on the back of the shirt, great for storing my keys, a small water bottle, a granola bar or a handful of treats for my horse!

The Columbia Windefend Half Zip Shirt is form fitting, and cut nice and long through the torso. It’s a flattering style and the bottom hem is curved and a bit longer in the back than in the front, which means even when I’m in the saddle or on a bicycle I get full coverage! There is also reflective detailing on the shirt, so it can be worn as an outer layer while exercising in low light. (I'd still recommend a reflective safety vest over this shirt if you're running in the dark as there isn't enough reflective detailing on this shirt for nighttime activities.)

The Columbia Windefend Half Zip Shirt is easy to clean. I just toss it in the washer and light stains come right off the fabric. After several washings and dryings, it hasn’t lost its color or shape at all. Available in a variety of sizes and colors for men (sizes S-XXL in Black, Red Element, and Compass Blue) and for women (sizes XS-XL in Black, Compass Blue, Adriatic). Because of the “four-way” stretch and raglan-style sleeves, I was able to wear a size smaller (women's size S) than I usually wear (M; I’m 120 lbs, 5’2”).

Bottom Line: I love having only one layer to wear under my winter jackets!--N.S. (Dec 2011)

BUY ONLINE : $70, click to shop at Altrec.

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