Mountain Hardwear is at it again, innovating your insulation layers with the new line of Stretch Down jackets. Dynamic-stretch knit and bonded channel constructions are nothing new on their own, but when combined it results in an extremely warm and lightweight garment that moves as you move. This ensures your backcountry experience is comfortable and fun. Pick it up in men's and/or women's in three different models; the Stretch Down, the Stretch Down RS (Rip Stop) and the Stretch Down Plus. It is available with or without a hood and in a variety of colours.
The hoodless, Thunderhead grey, Stretch Down RS feels as good as it looks.
The Stretch Down Jackets by Mountain Hardwear combines the stretch fabric from athletic wear with down insulation for a jacket that articulates with you as you move around in the mountains. Whether you are skiing champagne powder or sitting tight at basecamp melting snow for tea, this jacket performs well in both cases.
The hooded, Phoenix blue, Stretch Down RS is great for keeping you and your head toasty.
This review will feature Mountain Hardwear's Stretch Down RS (Rip Stop) in both the hooded and non-hooded models. It is similar to the basic Stretch Down jacket, but sports the Rip Stop nylon found in tents and sleeping bags for additional durability and abrasion resistance against backpacks, rock, snow, ice and the always-unfortunate tree branch. The Stretch Down Plus model is more similar to the basic, but with added material to make it longer and consequently, weigh a little more for those plus sized users.
The first thing to note is how comfortable this jacket really is. Troy Trimmer with Mountain Hardwear will agree that the magic is in the feel. The interior fabric is soft against your skin and the 750 Fill goose down inside bonded channel construction will keep you extremely warm. The four way stretch materials articulates as you do, when you do, but also stretches with the pull from your backpack straps eliminating chaffing and irritation.
The welded seams between the baffles stretch with you as you move. This helps reduce heat loss and is extremely comfortable when wearing a pack or working on a snow profile.
The adjustable waist hem cinch cord is located inside the jacket below the hand warmer pockets. When the cinch cord is pulled it stays tight until the release button is pressed. The release mechanism is sewn between the layers of the jacket and can be a little difficult to troubleshoot, but once you have figured it out once it is simple and easy to use.
The interior of the jacket is extremely comfortable. Zippers are YKK with low profile tabs and garages. The cinch cord that tightens the hem around your waist is low profile and effective.
The interior of the jacket is made of a polyester that feels great against bare skin. There is enough room to layer your clothing if needed and the elastic cuffs feel fine at the wrist. The bonded-channel construction is standard these days to prevent down migration, and the seam sealed welded bonds will keep the wind at bay. Although the RS is weather resistant, I would advise having a shell jacket in harsher weather.
A closer look at the elastic cuff shows just how comfortable the material of this jacket can be.
The interior pockets are some of the largest I have seen in down insulated jackets. There is more than enough room to warm up your skins in here!
YKK zippers with infallible pull-tabs help snug this jacket around your torso while the weather resistant, rip stop nylon baffles and welded seams protect your insulation from the elements.
The Stretch Down Jacket series by Mountain Hardwear is progressive innovation at it’s finest. Kudos to the research and development team for combining technologies into a functional and fashionable insulation layer that performs as advertised. Although I do not personally ski tour while wearing down insulation, the benefits of articulation still transfer to the downhill on those colder days. It is also great for hanging out in colder temperatures when digging a snow profile or having lunch. The pockets are very spacious, especially the interior pouch pockets that could easily hold your skins to keep them warm. Overall it is extremely comfortable and warm, but be careful around campfires when flying sparks can leave holes in your jacket! If you are in the market for a new down jacket then give this latest innovation a whirl, I definitely recommend it.
Price: $320 CAD / $280 USD
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colours: Forest Green, Phoenix Blue, Thunderhead Grey, Smolder Red, Black
Weight: 392g / 13.8oz
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