|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
A windbreaker is a thin outer coat designed to resist wind chill and light rain, a lighter version of a jacket. It is usually of light construction, and these days characteristically made of some type of synthetic material. They often incorporate elastic waistbands or armbands and zipper to allow it to be accommodated to the current weather conditions. It sometimes includes a hood.
The term “windbreaker”, used primarily in North America and Japan, is actually a genericized trademark, originally used by the John Rissman company of Chicago for its gabardine jackets. The term "windcheater” is used in the United Kingdom and certain Commonwealth countries, and is becoming more popular elsewhere. It also refers to any glossy synthetic material used to make clothing. Windcheater tops are also commonly known as cagoules in the United Kingdom. However, the term "windcheater" precedes the term "windbreaker" and was originally used to describe a sort of garment that was more akin to a pull-over anorak than a modern windbreaker. Unlike windbreakers, which are waist-length and quilted, windcheaters tend to extend up to the thighs and lack quilting or net linings.
The term "windcheater pants" (also known as "windpants", "splash pants" or "overtrousers") describes pants made out of synthetic material with an elastic around the waist. They are usually light and serve to shield the wearer from wind, and sometimes also mud and water. Windpants are almost always made out of polyester or nylon. They are also sometimes worn as an outside layer on top of other clothing, and often have zippers on each ankle so that they can be pulled over footwear. Some windpants have zippers that run the full length of the leg so the pants can be simply unzipped entirely.
The term 'windcheater' is also used to describe a retail item used on the beach and camping to prevent wind from disturbing social enjoyment. Normally made from cotton, nylon, canvas and recycled sails, windbreaks tend to have three or more panels, held in place with poles that slide into pockets sewn into the panel. The poles are then hammered into the ground and a windbreak is formed.