Synthetic Jacket Reviews

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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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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The North Face Redpoint Optimus Jacket

The North Face Redpoint Optimus Jacket

For being part of TNF’s Summit Series line of clothing and gear, the Redpoint Optimus is relatively inexpensive, at under $200.  But that doesn’t mean it skimps on quality or features.  An adjustable hood, seamless shoulders, stellar water resistance and the ability to stuff the jacket into its own interior pocket adds up to a solid entry for cold, wet weather wear.

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