Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite Jacket Review
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To say I have a lot of jackets would be an understatement. I believe I have a jacket for most outdoor occasions, but it can be hard to find a jacket that works for everything. Throughout this spring I have had the chance to test out the Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite Jacket and found this to be my go-to jacket for many outdoor activities. Originally designed for the purpose of ice climbing and mountaineering, I have put this jacket to the test in many other outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, and fly fishing.
Initial Thoughts on the Mountain Hardwear Quasar Jacket
Mountain Hardwear’s Quasar Lite Jacket is just that….. it is crazy lightweight. If feels as though the material that it is made out of is paper-thin! The material is called DryQ Elite with an air-permeable membrane. My hopes were that the ultra-light design and new material would translate to ultra breathability when running, skiing, hiking and performing strenuous activities.
The Quasar jacket fits very well and true to size. I am usually between a medium and large and the medium is perfect on me. When my arms are fully extended the sleeves do not ride up. One particular feature of the Quasar jacket that is awesome is the incredible range of motion that this jacket provides. The Quasar Jacket stays put around my body. I can be bending over or touching my toes and the jacket will stay in place. This makes it perfect for activities like skiing, running, and fly fishing where range of motion is critical.
The zipper of the coat is waterproof, but does tend to be a little “sticky.” It takes a little effort to zip and unzip. I know that many of the waterproof zippers also have this tendency.
There are two large pockets on each side of the jacket. The pockets are large enough to easily fit a cell phone, snacks, keys etc. Each pocket also doubles as the ventilation system to the jacket. Instead, the solid lining on the inside of the pockets is mesh. When the pockets are left open the jacket has maximum ventilation.
Performance of the Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite Jacket
The weather has been strange this spring in the Colorado Rockies. We have had a very warm March and April followed by a record-breaking rainy May. Since late February I have found myself wearing, or at least carrying with me, the QuasarJacket on every outing. This jacket has been my go-to warm weather ski shell, raincoat, and windbreaker. The Quasar Jacket always seems to fit the bill.
During the winter heatwave earlier this year, spring skiing started in February and lasted through closing day in mid-April. My traditional ski jacket was way too heavy and even my non-insulated shells were not breathable enough for 60-degree temperatures while skiing moguls. The Mountain Hardwear Quasar Jacket is just enough to keep the chill off but when working hard I never felt clammy because it was so breathable. When I would get hot, I could open up the pockets which allowed air through the mesh material. I do wish there was a way to keep items in the pockets while also allowing ventilation.
Any concerns of fabric durability were alleviated when I crashed hard and found the Quasar Jacket without a tear. Although the DryQ Elite is super lightweight, and seems delicate, it resists abrasion.
During rainy days this May, I found the Quasar Jacket to be at its best. The Mountain Hardwear Quasar Jacket is a great rain jacket. It will keep you dry during heavy rains. However, it is much more functional than just a raincoat. The Quasar Jacket is made for heavy activity during those soggy conditions.
I found myself enjoying running in wet conditions instead of staying inside to wait out the rain. The range of motion allows my arms to move freely, I never had a problem feeling clammy, and most importantly it kept the rain out. Really, my only gripe with the Mountain Hardwear Quasar Jacket was “where was this jacket 15 years ago when I was running track?” This jacket would be awesome for soggy training days.
The Mountain Hardwear Quasar Jacket also comes with me on my fishing trips. This jacket works well for fly fishing as it has an excellent range of motion in the shoulders making casting easy. Often this is the limiting factor when trying to find outerwear for fly fishing. The other feature that makes it perfect is its ability to pack down. In a sling-style pack such as the Delta Sling from Fish Pond that I reviewed earlier, I can easily fit the Quasar jacket into one of the many pockets. On previous fishing trips, I would rarely bring a rain jacket with me because most are too bulky to carry around. However, having a performance waterproof jacket that can easily pack along makes this a no brainer.
- Dry Q™ Elite’s waterproof, breathable, air-permeable technology keeps you dry inside and out
- Revolutionary air-permeable membrane construction in a 2 5-layer shell
- 40D face fabric is light and durable
- 3-way adjustable helmet-compatible hood features a wire brim to hold its shape
- Superior mobility: Bottom hem will not move even when arms are fully stretched
- Two PU-zippered chest pockets are harness- and pack-compatible, and double as core vents
- Full, center-front PU zipper keeps moisture out and adjusts easily from top-down or bottom-up
- Dual-purpose, pack-compatible zippered pockets double as core vents
- Highly packable and lightweight
Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite Jacket Final Thoughts
The Mountain Hardwear Quasar Jacket is made for strenuous activity in wet conditions. Unlike traditional rain jackets, the Mountain Hardwear jacket will allow you to stay dry without feeling clammy. The design is made to give a free range of motion. An athlete can move around without having to worry about the jacket moving around. For more info on the Quasar Jacket and other Mountain Hardwear products, visit www.mountainhardwear.com or www.amazon.com/mountainhardwear.