Mountain Hardwear’s new hooded jacket includes an innovative stretch-welded channel construction to offer excellent insulation. I have been testing it.
Mountain Hardwear describe the new StretchDown Hooded Jacket as a “state-of-the-art revelation, made with cutting-edge stretch-welded channel construction that traps more warmth than in standard stitched-construction jackets. It works like no insulated jacket we’ve ever made.
“Our unique, Q.Shield DOWN-filled chambers repel moisture and maintain loft even when wet.
“The insulated chambers are better able to stretch and move with you, providing ultimate comfort and warmth before, during, and after any mountain activity.”
- Stretch-welded construction
- Q Shield Down 750-fill resists moisture and stays lofty even when wet
- Warm, light stretch-knit fabric
- Interior and exterior pockets
- Weight: Between 438 to 540g
- Male and female designs.
- Price: Around £200 if you search on-line.
- Different jacket such as the “plus” and the jacket without a hood in the StretchDown collection.
On test: Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket
The jacket is a neat fit so buy a size bigger. I have a women’s medium and that fits me well but I am usually a size small.
The jacket feels light and the stretch-knit fabric is lovely. It feels really soft against the skin. I have worn the jacket over a t-shirt and the inside of the jacket is comfortable against bare skin.
I have the pinky/orange colour (it’s called “scarlet red” on the website but it’s really not scarlet, more like a deep salmon pink) and I am not so keen on this. I like properly bright colours rather than dusky hues. I also worry that it will become quickly dirty. The softer feel fabric is more likely to show the dirt, in my opinion.
The jacket is really comfortable to wear. The fabric stretches a little and although it fits snugly it never feels too tight. This really surprised me because I thought it would feel too constricting.
The puffiness is really good. The channel of down feels lightweight but super puffy. This makes the jacket very warm. For a product that is so lightweight, it does a great job of keeping me warm.
Even when I was out and about in the wet and damp, the jacket still performed very well. In fact, I have found the jacket too warm on occasions for this mild Scottish winter (so far!).
The pockets – and range – are also great. There are two zipped hand warmer pockets, an inside zipped chest pocket and also two open-top inside pockets at hip height offering lots of places for keeping kit. (The men’s jacket has an external zipped chest pocket but the women’s version does not have this.)
The hood is nicely fitting and keeps the wind and cold out.
It would have been nice to see a few extra features, such as a softer fabric at the top of the inside of the zip; wider and softer wrist hems; and a two-way front zip. But these are minor points.
I also want to have a wee moan about the trend for fabrics so thin that you can see the down through them. This Mountain Hardwear jacket has that. It doesn’t detract from the warmth of the jacket but I don’t like the look. I prefer the outer fabric to conceal what is inside. Again, it’s a minor quibble and nothing to do with performance of the jacket.
I will use the jacket for general outdoors wear, skiing and as an extra layer in my rucksack when mountain walking.
See www.mountainhardwear.com and look on-line for sales in the UK.