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Moonstone Momentum Alpine Jacket

rated 4.0 of 5 stars

Moonstone is no longer in business, and the Momentum Alpine Jacket has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best waterproof jackets for 2023.

If you like two-layer Gore-Tex jackets, this is as fine an example as you can find for skiing and backpacking. I prefer the lighter weight — for the same durability — and greater breathability of three-layer parkas, but my friend (whose jacket this is) likes the softer hand and greater warmth of the two-ply models with their attached mesh and taffeta liner.

At 27 ounces, this ripstop/taslan combination with pit zips is about as light as they come for two-ply waterproof breathable jackets (Patagonia’s Storm Jacket and Torrentshell are lighter, but neither have pit zips). The Moonstone jacket has impeccable construction (check the crooked and loose sewing of any North Face jacket for comparison), great styling (especially in all black), and all the usual accoutrements (hood with back drawstring, hem and waist elasticized cords, two external pockets, one internal pocket, Velcro flaps covering the main zipper, and both Velcro and elastic for the cuff closures).

Finer points of this parka are:

There are no extras to add weight or annoy (altimeter or lipstick pockets on the sleeves, a second zipper to attach fleece, plastic rings for lift tickets, a fleece chin guard that freezes to your skin, large embroidered logos, and extra seams that go nowhere).

The cordlocks for the waist drawstring are accessed from the exterior pockets so there’s no need to unzip the jacket to adjust the waist (Patagonia jackets once had this, but changed some years ago).

The hood is sensational—it folds into a collar secured by four snaps, and this collar fits just right, neither bulky nor constricting. In addition, there is a drawstring at the back to really batten down the hatches. For skiers, an attached hood that folds into a snug but comfortable collar is great because it’s hard to ski well with the hood up because of the lack of peripheral vision, but a floppy hood that just hangs down really collects the falling snow. When the hood is up, it has front drawstrings that don’t whap you in the face, a back drawstring to adjust the volume, and nice and large stiffened brim.

One detail of questionable value is the use of taffeta for the lining right under where your pack straps would go. I suppose this is intended to increase durability, but it adds extra seams where the taffeta joins the mesh lining at the upper arms and back, and it reduces breathability.

The Momentum Alpine also has a powder skirt: I don’t like the weight and bulk, and usually can keep out of the snow, but other people think their great. I’ve noticed that some supposedly climbing oriented parkas—the marmot alpinist climbing jacket, for example—now include powder skirts.

Weak points: the hood does not fit over a helmet—if it did, it probably would be too big to fold into such a nice collar. However, this isn’t such a bad thing considering that this jacket is not intended for climbers (who probably would opt for three-ply construction), and that bicyclists usually don’t ride with hoods up (that peripheral vision thing). Also, the pit zips have only one zipper pull. That was the standard a few years ago, but most parkas with pit zips now have two pulls to make it easier to open the vents while wearing a pack.

Moonstone doesn’t have the distribution or advertising of some other brands, but you can find this jacket discounted at several web sites, and I highly recommend it if you can accept the limitations of a two-ply Gore-Tex design. And yes, it is windproof and waterproof.

Fabric: Two-Layer Gore-Tex
Price Paid: $150

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Price Reviewers Paid: $150.00