Mountain Hardwear Exposure II Parka
Price Paid: $160
I got this jacket for xmas this year and have used it up on the hill a few times as well as here in the rainy NW. The Conduit on the MH works great. The seams appear to be keeping out all moisture which is good. The interior has some good storage i.e. zipper pocket for valuables and elasticized pocket big enough for a water bottle. I never carried a water bottle due to fear of broken ribs if I fell on it but I suppose you could. The snow skirt is second to none. It keeps the jacket from riding up too high (rubber on the contacting surface) and does a great job at keeping the snow from getting in.
Now for the not so good. I am 5'8" 210, not a small guy. As you can imagine I need an XL if I want to layer very much. The fit is great but the sleeves are about 3-4 inches too long. With arms out-stretched the sleeves just about touch my fingertips. The cinch cord that is around the mid-section is just below the pockets. If there is any extra room in the jacket because you sized up for layering, it looks like you are stacked up top and not in a good way.
With the exception of these items I just mentioned this is a great jacket. I wouldn't trade it for another. It is heavier than other comparable shells but hat is because of the uber-durable material MH uses. This jacket was one of the first designs the company came out with and it shows. The functionality and durability far outweighs the slight negatives.
This is a fantastic shell. I bought it before going on a ski trip to Vail in in the middle of a record snowfall winter, and it performed wonderfully over my Mountain Hardwear Compression PL.
Very solid construction, I have complete confidence that in rough conditions this shell would hold up well and not rip easily.
Extremely effective powder skirt with rubber to keep it from riding up. I was skiing in waist deep powder (and falling/rolling in it too) and not once did I get powder up inside my jacket.
Very well designed hood has small brim which is useful for keeping rain from hitting your face. The hood is adjustable, comfortable, and turns with your head.
Sleeves have articulated elbows for natural movement, and have ample length. The cuffs open up wide to easily get them over your gloves, and then have velcro straps to tighten them back down.
Good variety of pockets.
I'm a skinny guy, and the chest is a bit loose when I'm not wearing many layers, but that's to be expected.
Sometimes it's difficult to get the main zipper started since there's the zipper that lets you open the bottom up a bit.
Price Paid: 200 euros
If Mountain Hardwear's goal was to make an inexpensive jacket for all conditions, they succeeded. I have taken mine all over Europe, eastern US, perfect for all seasons. It keeps me warm when it's cold and doesn't make me sweat when it's not so cold. Perfect for wet conditions, it always keeps me bone dry. It has every cinch cord, pocket, and vent you could ever want. In terms of function, I can't find a single complaint.
I also like how there's plenty of room to stuff any kind of fleece or soft shell you have under it. Another big bonus is the durability. The fabric has a nice heavy-duty feel and I never feel like I have to worry about scuffing it up.
However, to every pro, there is a con. The room, and burly construction give it a really bulky fit, and it's much heavier than most hard shells of it's type. You ain't making any fashion statements with it either.
What can I say though, it's cheap, it will last for years and keep you warm and dry. If you're only planning on buying one jacket and you want it to last a long time, this is the one to get. Hands down.
Fabric: Nylon Dobby Weave w/ 2 layer conduit laminate
Fill: Mesh lining
Price Paid: $210
This jacket is great. I got it mainly as a ski jacket, but it proves to be good for just about anything. I'll take it winter hiking or backpacking, and it works fine. It's just a bit heavy, but it was not designed as a backpacking jacket. It is also great just around town.
As a skier, i put my equipment through harsh treatment. Through countless tree branches, ice and ski edges, I have yet to find a tear anywhere.
The pit zips are great to cool you off, and the powder skirt works great. The fleece-lined chin guard keeps my face nice and warm (yes face, not just chin).
If it's cold and wet outside, this is the first thing I go for.
Price Paid: $89
I paid $89 for this thing on sale at EMS. It is as close to bulletproof as I've ever seen. Great piece of gear.