User Review: Mountain Hardwear Men's Windstopper Tech Jacket
Fabric: Mesh, Windstopper Membrane, Microfleece Outer
Price Paid: $140
This jacket is fine. It does what it is advertised to do, stop the wind. But I'm writing this from a mountaineering standpoint, where you travel and change/add layers frequently due to constantly changing conditions. This jacket is great if you go out for a clear/dry day and know you won't be needing a waterproof/watershedding shell.
That said, I think most Windstopper 'Fleece' products are highly overrated....there's not much fleecy about this jacket except the micro layer on the outside. Everyone loves regular fleece b/c it traps warmth nearly immediately and warms you up fast. Mesh laminated to a membrane doesn't quite have the same effect.
Think about it, logically it makes no sense to have a water-absorbing water on the outside, and then an essentially non-insulating mesh layer on the inside (not to mention all the uncomfortable seams you feel along your arms, etc.) It is very inefficient when you look at the weight-to-warmth ratio. Yea it's more packable then 200 fleece, but not near as warm once you get into camp and can throw on your shell for the night. At that point the winsdtopping properties of the jacket are no longer needed, and you're sitting there with an uncomfortable, stiff layer that adds hardly any warmth to your layering system. Softshell jackets offer the perfect compromise, and should basically render the first gen WS products obsolete in the future.
I like this jacket b/c it looks nice to go out in around town, and is essentially a more breathable shell for dry windy days. Beyond that, if you're venturing into the mountains for several days, leave this piece at home, and opt for a softshell jacket of some sort that offers virtually the same windproofness, along with a comfy layer of fleecy material on the inside, plus water shedding capabilities at the same weight. This jacket is just too heavy to put in your pack when you dont know what the weather will be like once you consider its overall limited insulating properties. Ideally, all your layers should have a water resistant outer too them, except maybe your t-shirt and your capilene top. Above these items, the perfect system in a moderately cold climate would be: Driclime Windshirt, A Schoeller Softshell jacket, a puffy jacket (synthetic or down), and a Gore-tex or Epic shell.
This just comes from my experience. Don't take this as a 'dont buy this product' review. There's nothing wrong with it, there are simply more versatile, and more efficient jackets out there with better design or technology if you're looking to lighten your load when you take off into the backcountry.