By Paul McNamee, Captain, Frontier Partisans New England Ranging Company
My wife and I have a long running joke/tradition: We never go on vacation without buying a new sweatshirt. It’s not that sweatshirts are our favorite form of souvenir. It’s that we invariably under-pack and find ourselves a bit chilled.
One year, on our annual Maine beach vacation, we patted ourselves on the back for remembering to bring sweatshirts from the previous year. It rained wild and the winds howled a few days that week. We went out and bought sweatpants for everybody, too.
This January, we took the family to Disney World in Orlando. It was chilly — downright cold by Florida standards. We were dealing with (Fahrenheit) temps in the 40s some mornings and evenings.
My wife performed the lion’s share of planning, bless her. I went along with the flow but suddenly it was departure day and I packed poorly. I completely messed up on proper layers, among other things.
My new ANIMAL KINGDOM sweatshirt might have been bought in record time.
The problem with layering, though, was that I just didn’t have enough to keep the wind off. I’d be fine until a breeze kicked up. Then the wind just whipped through the material mesh, chilled my skin, tried to get at my bones.
All of which made me sorely regret not packing my trusty Cabela’s windbreaker / outer shell.
I bought it on one of those said Maine beach vacations. (There is a Cabela’s store up there.) It was a little pricey as windbreakers go. I could have bought a cheap beach version but I decided to make the investment.
It’s not waterproof, only resistant. You can’t stand out in the pouring rain. Aside from that, it does a great job. It’s lightweight, too. I enjoy cloth but nylon has its place. With a fleece jacket underneath, the combo has become my late Spring and early Autumn go-to these past few years.
Someday, maybe — especially if I’m folding it in and out of suitcases — the material might age or breakdown and the windbreaker might need replacing (and I’m not sure Cabela’s offer the exact model any longer.) But for now, it still keeps the wind off my bones. And its absence from Florida has indeed made my heart grow fonder for it.
My Cabela’s windbreaker — simple and effective. It’s stuff that works.