From time to time, I feel like Goldilocks from Goldilocks and The Three Bears when it comes to layering: sometimes I'm too hot, others I'm too cold. And as I start to increase my mileage in anticipation of longer spring/summer/fall runs, I have less and less patience for too-bulky or too-hot layers.
So when Patagonia debuted the Airshed Pullover, I was really, really excited and kind of felt as though the company had been reading my mind. I say this only because I was out on a run the other day, daydreaming about how awesome it would be to have a simple, weather-resistant layer that was also highly breathable: something that was less thick than the Wind Shield Jacket, yet more stretchy (and a little more breathable) than the Houdini Jacket. And while it probably sounds like several shades of kooky for me to be daydreaming about gear while out on a run, I was pretty fixated on the fact that my choice in layers REALLY wasn't working for me. I was way too hot despite my strategic layering system and as a result was having difficulty focusing on my run. However, had I been wearing the Airshed, I doubt that I would have been in such a tizzy.
The Airshed's material is resistant to wind and water, yet extremely lightweight, highly breathable, quick-drying, and super stretchy. Initially, I was thinking that the material would be more akin to the Houdini, but it's not - think more stretch and even more thin (and less swish). I'd venture to say its maybe 3 sheets-of-paper-thin, but its pliable constitution makes the Airshed ideal for aerobic activities, like running. I can even envision the Airshed being a great companion for spring tours through the backcountry or to be worn while mountain biking.
I foresee the Airshed being a staple in general come spring. However, I largely foresee wearing the Airshed on steep climbs and ascents that require lightweight protection and ample breathabilty, yet due to its thin construction, it will be easy to layer atop it and accommodate for colder descents that might require a little insulation... which is what I did the other day!
I recently took the Airshed for a cruise up the Bonneville Shoreline. It was 32-degrees, sunny (so deceptively warm), with some pretty bite-y winds and the Airshed performed spectacularly. It was highly breathable on the uphill, yet provided me with wind-resistant protection on the straightaways and flat zones. The stretch promoted a full range of mobility, which is an obvious benefit for runners.
However, I threw on a vest during the descent to insulate my core, to which the Airshed maintained its breathability and expedited the buildup of moisture to prevent me from catching a chill.
As for the fit, it's definitely true to size. I picked up a Small thinking that with the slim fit it would fit comfortably, but it's definitely a bit more relaxed than anticipated - I think I probably could have gone with an Extra Small. However, the Small certainly isn't impeding the overall effectiveness of the piece so I'd say its largely general preference. I don't like my clothing to be super form-fitting, so that's why the Small fits just fine for me.
Oh! And the zippered chest pocket accommodates an iPhone 7 plus - a nice convenience when you're transitioning from the trails to the grocery store.