Light, breathable, and ultra comfy, that's the Whirlwind in a nutshell. If you need just a little extra protection while out on a windy trail or up on a sunny rockface, this Best Buy winner is ready to go.
The breathable and stretchy Whirlwind is perfect for spring climbing in the desert.
This light and mobile pullover is excellent for a lot of things, but inclement weather is not one of them (though it's effortless to throw a warmer layer on over it.)
The Whirlwind is a pretty decent wind barrier, but it won't keep you warm if the temperature of that wind is frigid. It's very thin, and there's no lining. And while the material is water repellent enough to keep light sprinkles at bay, as soon as water is even slightly persistent it will quickly soak through. It's best to think of this piece as a sunshirt with perks instead of a serious jacket. If you even barely suspect the weather could get nasty, bring an additional layer to wear over this one.
Light sprinkles will stay beaded on the surface of the Whirlwind for a time, but if it persists you'll be soaked through in no time.
When it comes to breathing like a second skin, the Whirlwind is an obvious winner — our testers didn't feel like they were wearing a jacket at all.
As softshells get more specialized, it's essential to consider what you plan to use yours for before purchasing. While some models try to do it all — protect, breathe, and move all while barely tipping the scale — the reality is that each jacket will have something it's more suited for. The Whirlwind is meant to breathe while your heart rate is up and provide a non-constrictive barrier from wind, sun, and rock. And it does these things splendidly. Many jackets feel clammy and overbearing very quickly if you're exerting yourself, but this pullover resoundingly does not. And even if you're pouring sweat, you can be assured that you'll be back to dry in very little time.
Because the Whirlwind breathes so well it's great as a sun layer, whether you're moving or standing still. The deep front zip also provides excellent options for ventilation.
This is another category where the Whirlwind shines, feeling more like a long-sleeve shirt than a jacket. Thin stretch-woven material means you don't have to give movement a second thought.
Whether you're wearing a harness, backpack, running vest, or just this pullover by itself, we guarantee you won't feel held back while moving. We felt the slightest constriction in the back of the neck when wearing the hood over a helmet, but that's really nitpicking. We also noticed when climbing that the plastic device for tightening the hem is bulky and can poke into your side, but again: nitpicking. The overall consensus from all our testers is that this is a layer you'll want to reach for when you're going outside to play in warmer months of the year.
You can easily forget you're wearing a jacket with this low-profile pullover.
Once again, the Whirlwind takes home a top score. At 8.2 ounces for a size medium, this is the lightest item in our review.
Not only is this pullover light as can be it also has a pocket that doubles as a stuff sack. This makes it easy and convenient to take with you on all kinds of adventures.
You will barely notice the featherlight Whirlwind on your harness or in your pack. It's shown here with it's slightly heavier cousin, the Ferrosi. Both pack into a pocket and offer a carabiner loop for transport.
Aspects of the Whirlwind are quite versatile, but only within certain seasons and activities.
We judged versatility by looking at features, style, durability, and the ability of each piece to move between different kinds of activities. This piece is decently featured with stretchy material, thumb loops, a stuff sack pocket, helmet-compatible hood, and excellent breathability and mobility. Style-wise it's pretty sporty looking, and while you can undoubtedly go easily from a trail run to a multi-pitch climb in the spring and summer, this isn't a softshell for skiing in the snow or glacier hiking in torrential winds. We did also see a bit of wear and tear on the cuffs after just a few days climbing, though the main body stayed pristine even after getting sent to the washing machine. This piece also has a bit of a baggy fit which some people don't like while others love. If you want a more fitted jacket — particularly through the sleeves — look at the Borealis or our Editors' Choice-winning Arc'teryx Sigma SL Anorak Pullover.
The Whirlwind offers very simple thumb loops that, while not the most comfortable, are still nice to have.
The Whirlwind Pullover is best suited for spring and summer outings such as hiking, biking, trail running, and rock climbing. It provides a truly decent wind barrier, adequate water resistance, and superb breathability. If you want something to protect your skin from sun and breeze while not sacrificing any of your body's ability to move or breathe, this definitely a piece to consider.
If you're looking for just that extra bit of breezy-and-sunny weather protection while out on the trail or up on the wall, consider the Whirlwind.
We obviously feel this layer is a great value, hence the Best Buy award! While well-made technical gear is never super cheap, this comes close. For the price, this is a great layer.
For the adventure-minded folks out there that want a mildly protective spring and summer layer that can handle high body temps and sustained exertion, consider the Whirlwind. It's not meant for cold or wet conditions, but when it comes to breezes, sprinkles, and sun, this is a great layer to have on your harness. It breathes incredibly well, moves with complete ease, and weighs barely over half a pound. The longer we wore this layer, the more we enjoyed it, especially at the approachable price point. Just bring another more substantial layer along too if there's any chance of the weather going bad. This thin jacket will easily layer underneath, and you'll be glad for the extra protection.
We loved hanging out in the sunny (but still chilly!) desert for a spring testing session with our jackets. The Whirlwind was a favorite for those sunny breezy days where we just need a little something extra to feel at ease.