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Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch Jacket

rated 4.00 of 5 stars

The Power Stretch Jacket has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best soft shell jackets for 2022.

photo: Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch Jacket soft shell jacket

a long definitive review...

What prompted me to buy this jacket in the fall of last year ('03) was the material and the function of thumb loops.

As a base layer the powerstretch is my most liked with powerdry a near second. Look up the technical info if you like, but both are great. What is next to my skin is important because that is the layer that I "feel" and when outer garments, packs, and harnesses are pressed against my body I want to feel as little of that weight as possible, and this fabric almost slides along like a second skin. The fabric feels dry even when I'm cranking along.

This is my first piece with thumbloops and the fit around the thumb is about as unrestrictive as I can imagine and I don't think that it could be better. I like not having my wrists exposed when stretching out the arms. The arms fit tight and the body is loose, which works well with the OR powerstretch vest that I use under as a combo. The collar is higher than my zip t's and the seal is not tight, slightly loose. The zipper has a flap on the inside so the zipper is not very noticable for wearing as a first layer either.

My major complaint with this jacket is that it has no waist drawcord or lycra to seal out drafts. I did not even consider that when I picked it out, but it would be extremely useful on this jacket for the reason that the fabric has a smooth face and I used it without a shell quite a lot last winter -- which was unusually warm with many days over 40 deg. The cold came right on up and was annoying since they could run a small cord through the fold at the hem without adding bulk or complexity.

I used just the vest and jacket for x-c skiing off and on the trail and snowshoeing and the smooth nylon face held up well. I obviously wasn't pounding through the fir trees in the swamp and the fabric would not designed to take more than light abuse. It's also not going to repel any sprinkles, just light snow from brushing against trees. But that was in warm weather (say 40-45) with little wind (say 5-10).

A have a microlite windshell to go over when it's colder or noticable wind and the smooth outer face had a noticably smoother friction than fleece against a shell.

I am going to pick up a Patagonia Stretch Krushell to wear over this jacket. I am also looking at the R-1 vest that came out this year.

Fabric: Polartec Powerstretch 150
Price Paid: $90

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Price Historic Range: $74.97-$149.95
Reviewers Paid: $90.00
Price Historic Range: $39.83-$150.00

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