Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket Review
The Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket is one of the more unique down jackets on the market today. As outdoor lovers, we are used to shiny down jackets that do an amazing job of keeping you warm and light on your toes, but the fabrics used aren’t always optimal for activity. For those that ski, snowboard and the others that partake in other cold weather activities, this technology makes life a little more enjoyable.
What is Mountain Hardwear StretchDown?
The term StretchDown can be a little misleading as the down feathers in the jacket doesn’t actually stretch. The part of the jacket that stretches is the inner and outer fabric that encases the down. Some materials claim to be 3-way and 4-way stretch and have a little flexibility to them, but the fabric used in Mountain Hardwear Stretch Down takes it to a new level. Where I have found it most useful is when bending down to buckle my ski boots. In a standard down jacket, the outer and inner material has no flex to it. The fabric used in StretchDown is almost like a pair of yoga pants as you can flex your upper body in any way imaginable and the jacket will move with you.
In addition to the inner and outer material of the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket, the welds stretch as well. In most down jackets, you have stitch and sew baffles to keep the down in place. The threads used normally have no stretch to them and this keeps the jacket from being able to move with you. By using welded seams with the StretchDown fabric, you are not limited in motion.
Overall, this is a big innovation in the down jacket market and I’m super excited about the possibilities with this fabric down the road.
Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket Details
The Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket uses water resistant Q Shield Down 750 Fill that repels water and moisture, keeping the down from wetting out. This means that if you’re out skiing a big powder day and working up a sweat, the jacket is not going to wet out from excessive sweat. To keep the down in place, Mountain Hardwear used a welding technique to create the baffles to keep the right amount of down in the right places. Compared to other larger down jackets, the baffles are a little smaller which helps prevent clumping. Compared to traditional stitching, the welds also keep in heat a little more as there aren’t any pin holes that can let out the heat.
The fit of the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket has a regular winter jacket cut. Weighing 175lbs at 6’0 ft tall, I found a size medium to fit good. I found there to be a little extra room in the jacket when not wearing all my winter layers. This is primarily due to how much down is used in the jacket. In a standard big puffy, you’d get about 2 inches of down between the outside and inside of the jacket. In the StretchDown Hooded Jacket, you get between 1 – 1 1/2 inches of down. For those packing a little more in the mid section, this won’t be a problem. For those that are a little skinnier, you might swim a little in this jacket. For length from head to lower back, this jacket is perfect. One of the last things you want is for your jacket to ride up past your waist when twisting and turning.
The Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Hooded Jacket comes with two outer side pockets for typical storage in a winter jacket. There is a large left chest pocket that can hold onto your phone, wallet, small camera, and other important items. There are are two oversized non zippered goggle pockets on the inside of each side of the jacket. This is great for storing winter beanies, gloves, goggles, and other oversized items.
To keep on the cold on super cold and windy days, there is a cinch cord at the bottom of the jacket. Unlike other technical down jackets, there is no cinch cord around the hood of the jacket. If you’re expecting to be in cold and windy weather, I recommend bringing along a balaclava to protect all areas of skin. For the skiers and snowboarders out there, this hood is not helmet compatible.
The first time I tried on the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket, I thought to myself, okay, another down jacket to keep me warm. The second I started to extend my arms in the jacket, I was blown away. I am a huge fan of the StretchDown fabric technology and for anyone who is active in the cold winter temps, you’ll likely feel the same way. For more information, visit MountainHardwear.com.