Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch Jacket
Fabric: Polartec Powerstretch 150
Price Paid: $90
a long definitive review...
What prompted me to buy this jacket in the fall of last year ('03) was the material and the function of thumb loops.
As a base layer the powerstretch is my most liked with powerdry a near second. Look up the technical info if you like, but both are great. What is next to my skin is important because that is the layer that I "feel" and when outer garments, packs, and harnesses are pressed against my body I want to feel as little of that weight as possible, and this fabric almost slides along like a second skin. The fabric feels dry even when I'm cranking along.
This is my first piece with thumbloops and the fit around the thumb is about as unrestrictive as I can imagine and I don't think that it could be better. I like not having my wrists exposed when stretching out the arms. The arms fit tight and the body is loose, which works well with the OR powerstretch vest that I use under as a combo. The collar is higher than my zip t's and the seal is not tight, slightly loose. The zipper has a flap on the inside so the zipper is not very noticable for wearing as a first layer either.
My major complaint with this jacket is that it has no waist drawcord or lycra to seal out drafts. I did not even consider that when I picked it out, but it would be extremely useful on this jacket for the reason that the fabric has a smooth face and I used it without a shell quite a lot last winter -- which was unusually warm with many days over 40 deg. The cold came right on up and was annoying since they could run a small cord through the fold at the hem without adding bulk or complexity.
I used just the vest and jacket for x-c skiing off and on the trail and snowshoeing and the smooth nylon face held up well. I obviously wasn't pounding through the fir trees in the swamp and the fabric would not designed to take more than light abuse. It's also not going to repel any sprinkles, just light snow from brushing against trees. But that was in warm weather (say 40-45) with little wind (say 5-10).
A have a microlite windshell to go over when it's colder or noticable wind and the smooth outer face had a noticably smoother friction than fleece against a shell.
I am going to pick up a Patagonia Stretch Krushell to wear over this jacket. I am also looking at the R-1 vest that came out this year.
Where to Buy
Here's what other sites are saying:
Ideal for an astonishing amount of activities, Mountain Hardwear's Power Stretch Jacket employs close-fitting, non compressive stretch fleece that is both warm and wind resistant. It performs wonderfully under a shell jacket thanks to its minimal bulk, and worn alone on brisk days, it's the perfect top for active, fast-forward sports.
- Mountain Gear refers to the men's version
Mountain Hardwear Powerstretch Jacket (Mens) Accept the warm and stretchy embrace of the Mountain Hardwear Women?s Powerstretch Softshell Jacket. Highly breathable, warm, and durable; this softshell is a pleasure on its own or under a shell. An advanced surface-fusion polymer was used to coat the jacket to increase its water resistance so you won't melt in the rain. Mountain Hardwear designers endowed the Powerstretch with a helmet compatible hood so that you can get rad on the crag and stay covered at the same time. Integrated thumb loops provide some warmth when you don't need full-blown gloves but could use a little extra and the handwarmer pockets are always there for support.
- River Sports Outfitters refers to the men's version
The Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch Jacket provides the comfort and warmth of a fleece in a softshell. Treated with an advanced surface-fusion polymer for wind- and water-resistance. The Power Stretch Jacket can be worn by itself or can be used as a mid-layer.Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch Jacket features Polartec Power Stretch Hardface fabric features a tightly knit, pick/snag-resistant outer and a soft brushed inner Low-profile, helmet-compatible hood is fitted like a balaclava Micro-Chamois-lined chin guard prevents zipper chafe Zip handwarmer pockets Center Back Length: 28 inches (71 cm) Materials Polartec Power Stretch Hardface (88% polyester, 12% elastane) Weight 14 oz (409 g)
- OMCgear refers to the men's version
Thanks to its Polartec Power Stretch Hardface fabric, the Mountain Hardwear MenAAAs Powerstretch Jacket gives you the warmth and comfort of a fleece with the protection and stretch of a softshell. A balaclava hood and thumb-loop cuffs provide added protection in bad weather, and the soft brushed interior feels good on a barstool or in base camp.
- Backcountry.com refers to the men's version