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Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Down Jacket

rated 5 of 5 stars
photo: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Down Jacket down insulated jacket

Outstanding lightweight insulation from Mountain Hardwear. I love this jacket’s light weight and ability to pack small, and the versatility it offers. It’s also sold in a hoody that I also wear. Its primary downsides are the full retail price (hunt for sales, I did) and the shell material, which is more prone to damage than thicker nylon shell materials.

Pros

  • Light weight
  • Quality of the down
  • Good basic features
  • Packs small

Cons

  • If you like lots of bells and whistles, this isn’t your jacket.
  • 10d nylon isn’t for bushwhackers.

 

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Chilly morning walk
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Front view

BASIC INFORMATION

Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost Whisperer/2 jacket (the non-hood version - the company offers a full-zip version with hood too) is sold in men’s (sizes S through XXL) and women‘s (XS through XL) models. I wear a men’s XXL, which weighs about 9.5 ounces. The shell material is 10 denier nylon, which is very light and thin. More on that below. The features are minimal - two good-sized zippered pockets, a single pull draw cord at the hem, and elastic fabric in the interior of each cuff. The fill is 800 fill power down that meets the Responsible Down Standard (tracks the down from source to final product and certifies animal welfare). 

 Sizing is average to slightly roomy, not athletic cut, so I recommend buying true to size. That said, I purchased this jacket and the hoody in size XXL, one size larger than I normally wear, because I wanted the ability to layer a vest underneath to increase the effective temperature range. 

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Note the lighter green elastic strip inside the cuff. 
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Pullcord at the hem. It’s a single pull, and the toggle is tiny and inside the nylon - not exposed. 

WARMTH

With a jacket this light, it may be tempting to think it’s not that warm. However, the down is very fluffy, and as the photos show, the stitched tubes are narrow - there is very little opportunity for the down to shift around. This is a stitched-through jacket, meaning that the down is contained between the inner and outer shell - no separate baffles, like you would find in a thicker, warmer, more bulky down jacket. Still, this jacket is surprisingly warm. I’ve worn it many times over a base layer and been fine in temperatures in the 30s unless it’s right at 30 and I’m standing still for an hour.  Because I bought these a size larger than I normally wear, I can layer a puffy down vest underneath and take the effective temperature range quite a bit lower. On the flipside, this is a nice jacket for summer hikes in cooler weather you normally get at higher altitudes or more northern locations.

WIND RESISTANCE

As with any stitched-through down jacket, strong winds translate into some cold air leaking in. Wearing it under a separate shell jacket takes care of that. If you want to maintain the light/ultralight vibe, wear it under Patagonia’s Houdini. 

The elastic cuffs are pretty good, but they aren’t super-tight. Some snow can intrude between the cuff and a pair of gloves with no cuff. 

DURABILITY

Very good, actually, but lightweight jackets like this have limits. I’ve had two issues. On an older version of the hoody that I paid forward to our son, the bottom ‘male’ part of the very light coil zipper disintegrated, rendering it impossible to zip the jacket up. I’m happy to say that Mountain Hardwear stood by its lifetime warranty and re-zippered the jacket when we made a warranty claim - he’s still wearing the jacket today. 

The other obvious limit is the lightweight ripstop fabric. It can snag on branches and rip. In that case, duct tape or gorilla tape is your friend. This is the only patch on mine after about three years of wear. 

 

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Note the small black circle of gorilla tape - it’s been there for more than a year. 

HOW I HAVE WORN IT

This jacket is a few years old. I wear it often because it can handle such a wide range of temperatures, whether it’s cool summer evenings at the beach, most of the winter in the DC metro area, shoulder season, Adirondack and White Mountain summits in the summer. I’ve learned to leave it in the pack and wear fleece if I expect a trail that’s not well-maintained, eg branches that can tear it, or for a nearby Shenandoah trail with a lot of narrow slots, because I don’t think this would do well scraping along rough rock surfaces. Mid-winter, I wear it over a thicker pile fleece vest or a down vest. At certain points, I use the hem pull cord to keep cold or wind out, but normally, I don’t use that. 

It’s a really good travel jacket because it’s so light and stuffs into one of the zippered pockets. 

I mentioned that I also own this jacket in the hoody - it’s my second one, the older version went to our son. I reach for that one too, often when the weather is a little colder. 

 

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One of the two side pockets

 

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cuff over a glove
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front view - shows the very skinny coil zipper. 

TAKEAWAYS

This is a great jacket,  unless you’re prone to shredding light/ultralight gear. Price is an issue, but I found all three of the ones I have purchased at pretty good discounts. Currently, the hoody retails for $360, the jacket for $330. However, a quick scan of the web (assuming you aren’t picky about limited color selection for sale items) noted men’s jackets, size medium, for $198 and $178, and a women’s, size large, for $164. 

 

Background

Three years of fairly frequent three season wear, including many hikes.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $129 (clearance)

I really like this jacket for backpacking I cooler climates. My son climbed the face of half dome in it. There were some chimneys to climb that can tear the jacket. As it turned out he only had only a few holes that I patched easily. There were no rips or tears. It was not designed for that kind of rock climbing but with care my jacket has lasted a long time.


The Z Packs down jacket seems to have a little warmth to weight ratio.

Pros

  • Light, surprisingly warm, packs small, pockets well placed, my zipper has always worked, and you can sleep in it.

Cons

  • None for what it was designed for.

Please see summary  above.

Background

60 years hiking and climbing. Ten years using this jacket.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $160

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The Ghost Whisperer/2 Down Jacket replaced the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket.

Specs

Men's
Price MSRP: $300.00
Current Retail: $197.98-$330.00
Historic Range: $89.98-$330.00
Weight 8.3 oz. / 236 g
Center Back Length 27.5 in / 70 cm
Fabric Ultralight 100% recycled ripstop shell fabric with DWR finish
Insulation 800-fill-power RDS Certified Down Insulation
Uses Superlight Backcountry, Alpine Climbing, Rock Climbing, Backpacking / Hiking, Casual / Travel, Camping
Women's
Price MSRP: $300.00
Current Retail: $148.48-$330.00
Historic Range: $89.98-$330.00
Weight 6.9 oz. / 197 g
Center Back Length 26 in / 66 cm
Fabric Ultralight 100% recycled ripstop shell fabric with DWR finish
Insulation 800-fill-power RDS Certified Down Insulation
Uses Superlight Backcountry, Alpine Climbing, Rock Climbing, Backpacking / Hiking, Casual / Travel, Camping
Product Details from Mountain Hardwear »

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