Jacket Reviews

Mountain Hardwear Beryllium Jacket

This Mountain Hardware Beryllium jacket, geared towards alpine climbing and mountaineering, offers bombproof protection where it counts. This Jacket is excellently designed and it packs several nice features that set it apart from other Mountain Hardware shells. The Beryllium is not designed as an ultra light shell, allowing for extremely durable construction through and through. The gang at Mountain Hardware did not take any shortcuts on this shell, and they put out what I consider to be the Cadillac of mountaineering shells. Not only will this jacket protect you from whatever you might encounter on the mountain, it will make you smile.

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Mountain Hardwear Alcove Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Alcove Jacket

The Alcove jacket, due out in Fall of 2009, is a very warm hooded shell, featuring a waterproof outer fabric and an excellent DWR.  Using Primaloft Eco, the parka is excellent for belaying or other cold-weather activities where protection is paramount.  It does have some kinks that could be worked out, though.

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Mountain Hardwear Refugium Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Refugium Jacket

The Mountain Hardwear Refugium Jacket is an exceptional display of technology that anyone involved in snowsports or consistently cold weather would be proud to own.  Its built-in heating mechanism keeps you warm and toasty in the coldest environments.  But, despite its innovation and high quality, its high price tag may hinder its success in the mass market.

The Refugium jacket is pre-wired to be compatible with Ardica's MOSHI power system (the battery pack).  The Refugium jacket will retail for an MSRP of $230 when it is released in the Fall of 2009.  Unfortunately, for the jacket to reach its full potential and radiate heat, you must separately purchase the Ardica MOSHI power system which will run an additional $145.  This bumps up to total cost of the jacket to $375.  Really, who is going to buy the jacket and not the power system?  There is no official word from any retailers yet if the jacket will ever be sold bundled with the power system for a slight discount, but you can be sure that the two will always be found close to one another.

The Mountain Hardwear Refugium Jacket is a snowsports jacket that is synthetically insulated with Thermic Micro (100% polyester, 120gm) insulation.  The body is made up of 30D Micro Taffeta (100% nylon), and the lining is Embossed Matrix Taffeta (100% nylon).

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Mountain Hardwear Windstopper Insulated Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Windstopper Insulated Jacket

I’ll admit, I’ve got a jacket obsession.  I like jackets.  And every once in a while, a jacket comes along that I really like.  I can say with confidence that the Windstopper Insulated Jacket is one of those.  It does almost everything right.  Of course, no jacket is perfect, and this one’s not an exception, but it comes darn close.

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Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man Fleece

With the solid financial backing from Columbia Sportswear, Mountain Hardwear, a smaller, younger brand, has a lot of room to try out new and adventurous gear on the market.  I believe that the Monkey Man fleece is the result of this allowance.  A unique look and a bit of humor have conspired to create a warm, functional piece that is excellent for layering in nasty storms, or wearing just by itself.

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Cabela's Gore-Tex PacLite Rainy River Parka

Cabela's Gore-Tex PacLite Rainy River Parka

The Gore-Tex PacLite Rainy River Parka is a fully waterproof jacket that comes at an unbeatable price.  It hits the nail right on the head, with one of its few downfalls being awkward hand warmer pockets.  With its lightweight Gore-Tex PacLite shell and full body adjustment capability, it’s a great choice at a great price for anyone looking for a simple, waterproof jacket.

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Mountain Hardwear Crucial Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Crucial Jacket

With the Mountain Hardwear Crucial jacket, you get what you pay for.  In this case, you’re getting a sturdy, fully waterproof and windproof hard shell jacket with an all around great feel.  This isn’t your average jacket, however; the Crucial jacket is intended for alpine climbing or mountaineering, and this becomes apparent as soon as you pull the hood over your head.

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Mountain Hardwear Backstage Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Backstage Jacket

The Mountain Hardwear Backstage Jacket is a solid soft shell offering exceptional warmth, terrific water resistance, a great fit, and some extra perks.  It’s all around a fantastic soft shell but does, unfortunately, come with one noticeable drawback.  Regardless, this is the jacket that’s replaced the hooded sweatshirts I used to wear instead of a full-on jacket, even in the pouring rain.

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EMS Expedition Primaloft Sweater

      A bit of an older jacket, The EMS Expedition Sweater has been discontinued, in favor of either the Ascent Belay Jacket or the Heater SYNC Jacket.

      It appears, though, that the Expedition Sweater had the best of both worlds: an athletic fit, superb pit zips, and a hood.  This jacket is excellent for cold days with a chance of rain or snow, and with the pit zips and removable hood, is also suitable for a wide range of weather conditions.

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Jansport Orb Jacket

Jansport Orb Jacket

There are plenty of synthetic insulations out there that perform better than down in terms of compressibility and loft retention, but for sheer warmth, it’s very difficult to beat down, the best natural insulator.  And since down has a tendency to lose loft when it gets wet, it’s helpful to have a down jacket that comes with a solid water-resistant nylon or polyester outer shell.  The Jansport Orb Jacket has just that, but it doesn’t stop there; the jacket also features seamless shoulders, and a lot of pockets, great for the outdoorsman on a budget.

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