Anyway, Gore Windstopper and Polartec Windbloc both operate with the same principle: They sandwich a very thin windproof material (Gore uses a light version of Gore-Tex; Polartec a urethane membrane) into the fleece or pile. That's a somewhat complicated manufacturing process, hence the relatively high price of these garments (Cabela's offers a nice-looking Windstopper fleece jacket for $140, which ain't bad). Polartec Windbloc-ACT, on the other hand, tries to make the fleece itself as windproof as possible. Polartec claims it blocks 98 percent of the wind, so you do get a little extra ventilation. It's also cheaper to make, so a company such as L.L. Bean can sell its ACT-based Microburst Fleece Jacket for a very reasonable $125. Personally, I'd probably get one of those before I forked over the extra $100 for the R4, although it is a very nice piece.
In either case, I don't see any harm at all in draping a windshell over such a fleece for some extra moisture protection, although the wind-blocking fleeces are also surprisingly mist resistant.
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.Contribute to Outside →