7Mesh Northwoods Windshell
The 7Mesh Northwoods jacket, the brand’s lightweight wind shell, has been updated for 2018. The model now includes an attached low profile hood in addition to a single side zip pocket and elastic cuffs.
The jacket tips the scales at a scant 112 grams, it folds to a small size that easily fits into a jersey or bib pocket, and it needs minimal space in a bag or hip-pack. The Northwoods is 100% nylon, includes soft brush tricot on the brim hood, waist and chin piece, and retails for 175 USD.
The Northwoods Windshell utilizes a cut tailored to cyclists, however, it’s less aggressive than the brand’s earlier jackets. At 191cm tall, the size large wind shell was a comfortable fit for me. Sleeve and body length was perfect for riding and also very comfortable during casual use, making the jacket more than a one-trick-pony.
On the bike, the longer back provides excellent coverage. Sleeve length went unnoticed when stretched out in the saddle or standing and attacking the trail; they fit perfectly. The elastic cuffs were tight to pull over my hand but comfortable once on. The hood is big enough to fit over a helmet, but I needed to lower the zip to pull it over. Adjusting the hood was done with the sleek and minimal tension system. The same adjustment is found on the waist of the jacket and in use it worked great. Once set to my liking it remained in place and I rarely found a need to adjust it again.
On the Trails
The Northwoods Windshell accompanied me during early spring rides when the weather looked threatening or temperatures were on the cooler side. Despite the jacket’s light weight, it tended to heat up quickly and was best when temperatures were below 20 degrees Celsius. With no pit zip or upper back ventilation, once it heats up the jacket needs to be removed. Thankfully its small size when bundled up made it easy to stow in my bib pockets.
In windy conditions the jacket is excellent, providing a comfortable break between you and the elements. As you'd expect from a summer weight garment, it provides little warmth. It worked best for its intended use; protection from the chill of the wind. It also works well in a light passing shower, but any extended rainfall will soak through, sticking the jacket to your skin.
The only problem I came across was with the hood. It can’t be detached or stowed in the collar like some of the competition and did a great job of catching the wind when speeds got high. In some conditions, it would flap loudly enough that riding partners noticed the noise. On most rides in the Sea To Sky it went unnoticed, but on high-speed trails in Oregon and California, it quickly became uncomfortable. Riding with the hood on helped prevent the parachute effect and it’s flexibility allowed me to do so with no problems.
The Northwoods Windshell is a specific jacket best when descending from high elevation where temperatures dip or when stopping before the descent. Shuttling to the top is another time to pull the jacket out. It’s comfortable, construction is high-quality, and it can double as a casual, lightweight jacket.
More on the 7Mesh Northwoods Windshell.