Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down Jacket
Current Retail: $161.98-$325.00
Historic Range: $127.98-$350.00
Reviewers Paid: $230.00-$245.00
Current Retail: $168.00-$262.46
Historic Range: $84.95-$350.00
Reviewers Paid: $255.00
A super light and deceptively warm down sweater. Moderately roomy cut allows some layering underneath. In keeping with the jacket's absurdly light weight, the nylon is extremely light, and zippers feel almost fragile. Does exactly what it is intended to do, and should be a keeper.
- Very light weight
- Warmer than one would expect
- Good basic features
- Treated down may be moisture resistant (not yet tested)
- Durability unknown
- Cost, absent a sale
These are my initial impressions of this down sweater, a new purchase. I'll have to wear it more to assess some aspects of how it performs. So far, I'm very pleased with it.
The Weight: This jacket is so light that it barely registers on a digital hand scale. My size XL is clearly under 8 ounces. that's for a hooded down sweater. Awesome. and, a jacket this low profile fits easily under a shell.
The Fit: The jacket is cut medium. I would not call it fitted, and it is not billowy or overly roomy. I can wear a thick base layer underneath but would not want to wear a heavy fleece under it. I normally wear a size XL, and this runs pretty much true to size.
The arms are on the slightly long side. Range of movement and motion is pretty good. The hood has no adjustments, and it is low-profile — you won't be wearing a helmet under the hood, but it doesn't easy blow off your head if you zip the jacket all the way up because it is elastic around the edges.
The Materials: As light an outer shell as you will find. It's too early to comment on durability, but I wouldn't want to bushwhack in this jacket. The material stops the wind pretty well; because the seams are sewn through, strong breezes can penetrate a little, and this would be better off worn under a wind shell in those conditions. the nylon is a little 'noisy' in the wind.
Zipper pulls are light but usable, both the front and the two zippered pockets, though the zippers feel light and don't pull totally smoothly. In my experience, light zippers can get smoother over time. We'll see. The jacket also has a single pull and cord at the hem to tighten it.
The main zipper is backed by a narrow draft-stopping strip. down is 800 fill power and claims to be treated to resist moisture — I haven't tested that. I also haven't tested the shell in damp weather; it may have a water repellant treatment, but like any down jacket, it's not a raincoat and probably wets out in a decent or steady rain.
The cuffs have elastic, but sewn into the inside of the cuff. It's an interesting design choice. The elastic is not terribly firm. It doesn't pull tight to my wrists. That said, the jacket is so slim and light that the cuff fits easy with warm gloves.
Warmth: You won't believe a jacket this lightweight can keep you so warm. Right after I took delivery, the mercury dropped into the high 20's and low 30's here. I have worn the jacket with a light base layer and long sleeved cotton shirts, and I was fine, comfortable, particularly while using the hood.
I have a Patagonia Down Sweater that has marginally greater loft but no hood; I haven't been able to feel much of a difference, and that is probably due to the hood.
Initial Impressions: I will have to wear this more to get a better sense of how it works outside, what its limits are in terms of cold or wet weather and durability, but it's a well-designed, well-executed jacket that is an absolute pleasure to wear because it fits well, covers the basic functions you need, and is so light you almost feel like you aren't wearing a jacket.
One notable downside, at full price, this is pretty darn expensive. It took an end-of-model-year sale and a gift card for me to pull the trigger. I'm glad I did.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $245 (before use of gift card)
This amazingly light jacket has the ability to insulate in very low temperatures, and packs down into it's own pocket. It's easy to stash in any sized pack to have it there just in case, which makes it my new 'can't live without it' piece of gear.
- Ultra light
- Very warm
- Very packable
- Not very water resistant
I bought this jacket on sale on Black Friday for about $70 off and I love it. It's my new 'can't live without it' piece of gear. It is so light and warm that it makes you feel like you are enveloped in a warm cloud minutes after putting it on.
It fits me wonderfully, and the arms aren't too long. (However, I am 5'1", so this means that some of you longer armed ladies might be unhappy with the length. I would recommend trying it on if you can before purchase.)
It is very comfortable as a puffy, as well as a mid layer underneath a shell. You hardly notice it is there, other than the warmth it provides. In the effort to cut it down to around 7oz (?!), Mountain Hardwear elected to remove any adjustability in the sleeves, waist, and hood. The sleeves and waist did not bother me, but I do sometimes wish the hood could cinch up tighter on windy days. The hood does not fit over a helmet for skiing.
The jacket does have a DWR coating, but it won't resist any more than a light drizzle. It's forte is either cold, clear days, or being worn under a shell. My favorite combo is the GW with a water resistant soft-shell. You don't even feel like you're wearing a mid layer — very comfortable and very warm. It breathes well, even without pit zips but you definitely want a wicking layer underneath if you are doing any sort of strenuous activity.
Heat is well managed by zipping and unzipping the front, and zipping it back up as soon as you stop — before you start cooling down — keeps you nice and toasty. It's also great to sleep in if you are a cold sleeper, or trying to add a few extra degrees to your sleep system. It doesn't feel restricting, even in a sleeping bag.
I have been wearing this like crazy this winter, both on the trails and around town, and it looks like new. However, I would recommend care when squeezing through granite passages or other sharp or rough surfaces. Some durability has been sacrificed for weight.
The two pockets are nice and roomy, fitting gloves or keys or whatever else you normally put in a pocket. I also have yet to experience a caught zipper. The coat does pack into its own pocket, but it does take a lot of shoving to get it in there. I normally prefer the "shove it in the bottom of your day pack" method. It's just easier.
I have only had this jacket for 2 months, so I can't comment on long term durability, but up to this point it almost looks new and I couldn't be happier with this little powerhouse of a puffy.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $255
- Tight fitting hood
- Fragile fabric
I am 5'10" 185 lbs. 42 chest; 33 arms; 34 waist; 16.5 neck . I bought a Large. I can fit this over layers (shirts, sweatshirts, midweights), but it also fits under my shells (Arc Beta AR in M and Marmot Pro Tour in L).
I bought a Patagonia Ultralight Hoody and this at the same time as they were both on sale. Luckily I live in the country with no neighbors because I probably looked pretty goofy going out and doing walking laps in my yard alternating between the two to see which I liked better.
My conclusion was that the Ghost Whisperer was better. The temps were about 0-5°F with a light wind and the hood with elastic stays tighter around your head and keeps you warmer. I also felt less air seep through the stitching. I think the Patagonia is better looking and the hood is better looking just as OutdoorGearLab stated. The Pat is the better coat for around town, but the Whisperer is more effective.
The material is light and fragile so I will almost always have it under a shell.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $230