Mountain Hardwear Phantom Jacket Review
If warmth is what you’re looking for this winter, The Mountain Hardwear Phantom Down Jacket is the first and last stop on this bus. The Phantom Down Jacket is an ultra light 850 goose fill down jacket that is by far one of the best down jackets on the market for staying warm in cold temperatures. I’ve been testing out the Phantom Down Jacket in temperatures between -15F to 30F degrees this winter and I’m happy to report back that this jacket won’t disappoint you.
If you live in a place where cold weather is a factor for 3-6 months of the year such as midwest, Colorado Rockies, Canada, etc., a puffy jacket is a must. One of the main reason’s you see so many puffy jackets in mountain towns such as Steamboat and Telluride is not because they have a flattering look, but because they keep you warm in nearly any cold weather climate. The Mountain Hardwear Phantom Hooded Jacket is at the high end of down jackets with a price point of $400, but there is good reason for the price. The MH Phantom Jacket uses a water repellent 850 fill goose down which is incredibly light and compact while providing the warmth you look for in a winter jacket. For total weight, this jacket weighs 1 lb and 1 oz., or 392 Grams which is great for the outdoorsman that is counting every ounce in his pack. It also is nice to wear around town and not feel like you’re wearing a 10 pound trench coat.
Performance During Activity
On the Mountain Hardwear website, it says this jacket is best suited for alpine climbing, but I have to add that this jacket can also be used for a number of other activities. For temps below 30F, I’ve used this jacket for around town as my everyday jacket as I tend to get cold easily and have been completely satisfied.
I am one of the crazy dog walkers where I walk our dog in any weather, rain or shine or cold. When it was -15f outside earlier this year, the Mountain Hardwear Phantom Jacket kept me plenty warm and the hood was definitely a nice touch. This was also the case when I was out winter hiking in whipping winds and bone chilling temps. If by chance you are gung ho about bearing the cold while skiing, this could be an option, but I typically don’t recommend skiing in puffy jackets because they tear easier than a shell. Please note, the shell on the Phantom Jacket is a thinner 20D ripstop nylon which can withstand some snags, but I personally don’t recommend chancing it on a $400 down jacket.
The honest truth is that this jacket is best for high alpine adventures where the temperature is cold and the wind is abundant. If you find yourself on a hut trip, the Mountain Hardwear Phantom Jacket is great option for apre ski when you still want to hang outside with a frosty beer but don’t want to freeze your tail off. Last, this jacket is also great for those that love to camp all 4 seasons. In Colorado, winter camping can get pretty cold even if you have a zero degree down sleeping bag. Having slept outside in -15F temps, I can attest to wearing a jacket such as the Phantom Jacket in addition to your burly sleeping bag is a good choice when trying to stay warm.
Mountain Hardwear Phantom Jacket Durability
To keep the down in the Phantom Jacket from wetting out during snow and rain storms, Mountain Hardwear uses Q Shield Down which infuses a waterproofing agent into the down to keep it from getting wet, soggy, and cold.
Mountain Hardwear claims that this jacket fits small on its website, but I believe it fits true to size. I originally tested out a size large based on the fit suggestion. I am 6’0 tall and 170 lbs and I found myself swimming in a large. I tested out the size medium and it fits perfect!
Details that Matter
In a high-end performance jacket, I am a firm believer in that all details must be paid attention to. While down jackets are life savers in the winter time, they aren’t extremely technical jackets. That means, the pockets, zippers, seems, etc. must all be perfect in my opinion. The zippers in the Mountain Hardwear Phantom Jacket use smaller teeth and worked perfectly during testing. They have a small zipper pull making it easy to open the outside pockets and main front zipper with heavier gloves or mittens. For pockets, there are two zippered outer pockets that are big enough to hold a phone, camera, energy bar, etc.. There are two mesh inner pockets to the jacket that are big enough to hold goggles, phones, gloves, beanies, etc.
Along the cuffs on the arms of the jacket, there is a buttery soft material that is used to eliminate any irritation while keeping out the cold air. There are thumb holes in this fabric, but I found them to be too small and uncomfortable to use for an extended period of time. To keep cold air from coming through the bottom of the jacket, there is a bungee cinch that you can pull to keep the jacket tight to your hips. There are also two bungees for the hood of the jacket for those super cold days where you want to keep exposure to your face to a minimum.
For those looking for a more technical jacket to keep you warm and safe during more active adventures such as backcountry skiing, check out our review of the Mountain Hardwear Alchemy Jacket
The Mountain Hardwear Phantom Jacket is truly an amazing down jacket. This jacket is extremely comfortable and is equipped to keep you warm in the coldest of temperatures. With the use of Q Shield Down, this jacket is a force to be recconed with when mother nature slaps you with the polar plunge. For more information, please visit MountainHardwear.com