Historic Range: $99.98-$260.00
Reviewers Paid: $150.00-$230.00
Not as waterproof as it should be.
- Great features
- Large fit for layering
- Very comfortable
- Ample storage
- Not waterproof
I'm a big fan of Mountain Hardwear products having bought many of their jackets and pants in the last 10 years or more.
Most of their products I must say I have bought for wet weather protection rather than skiing, including Conduit Silk and DryQ Elite products.
I bought the Dragon Hooded Jacket expecting to get a jacket like the Epic series of jackets, but with more features.
I've loved the Epic jackets and have owned a few and although they may not have been the most waterproof jackets on the planet they were good enough to keep my dry in light rain and would pack down into a really small size.
With the Dragon Jacket I was expecting a similar level of protection but with more features like pockets etc.
Unfortunately, whilst the jacket is comfortable and fully featured I had occasion to wear it while watching my son surfing when a rain squall came through. I sat there for about half an hour with my back to the rain and when I got home the jacket had "wetted out" and the lining was wet around the shoulder and sleeves. I had the hood up.
The lining I must say kept me comfortable and the jacket would be great for skiing in sunny weather, but if it started to sleet I would be concerned.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $165
The Dragon may not be the warmest in the line of Mountain Hardwear soft shells, but it's obviously one of the most technical.
It's got more bells and whistles than I've seen on any sofa hell that I own. Pit zips, welded and waterproof seems and pockets, etc.
I agree with other reviews in regards to the hood, but it's easily remedied for everyday use with a simple fold under. The fully deployed hood is designed for helmets and works as it's designed. However, for everyday wear, you'll want to modify it, which isn't a problem.
It's designed with Torch, a proprietary fabric from MH and includes WINDSTOPPER laminate, but lacks the traditional warmth and fleece backing found in most jackets.
People complain of the itchy feel when wearing only a T-shirt under it, but I don't find this to be a issue. If you want to wear it for everyday use, you can, but don't expect it to feel like an Alchemy, Gamma, or Sharp Point. It's not made that way. It's a WINDSTOPPER shell for technical applications and everyday wear. It keeps out the wind and retains heat well, and carries pit vents to help regulate temps.
It's not my go-to shell right now, but works when it's needed. Good for temps in the 40-50 degree range. Maybe less depending on your personal warmth-ness. (is that a word?)
Worth the buy and a pleasure to wear. Honored to have it in my closet quill.
Price Paid: $175 from www.thebackcountry.net
Pros: Lightweight, underarm vents, thumb loops, non-constricting material, water-resistant, high pockets accommodate backpack and heavy gloves.
Cons: Hood gets in the way and has to be cinched uncomfortably tight to keep out of your face. Medium fits me perfectly, but the neck is too tight when zipped up (I am 6', 175), and that problem is amplified when worn over an insulating mid-layer. I have to leave the lower layer unzipped if I don't want to feel choked.
I tested this jacket out with an 11 mile snowy night bike ride. I was very surprised at its water and wind resistance, being a soft shell. The easy access pit zips made for easy body temperature control, and the thumb loops stopped the sleeves from bunching up when putting on gloves.
Price Paid: $230
Pros: Completely wind resistant, very water proof, good pockets, thumb loops!, great warmth to weight ratio, excellent fit, looks pretty snazzy.
Cons: Except for the collar (which is microfleece) the fabric does not feel great against the skin, not super comfortable with only a t-shirt on underneath. The hood completely blocks your vision unless you are wearing a helmet (note, to fix this problem, fold the brim back under the hood and it works great!) The thumb loop material holds on to water, don't use the thumb loops in the rain or you will get very cold hands.
All things considered, this jacket is a great buy. The hood problem would totally ruin it if it didn't have an easy fix, but it does. The fit is great, very low profile but doesn't restrict movement at all. Very comparable to higher priced models like the Mammut Laser and the Millet Super Touring.
Get it if you are looking for one of these high performance soft shells and price is an important factor.
Fabric: Gore Windstopper
Price Paid: $150