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Review: Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket

A highly robust and weather resistant down jacket for casual wear and active adventures.

The Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket is the kind of winter jacket you can wear to the pub without feeling like you’ve just summited Everest. It’s a superbly stylish, everyday down jacket that also provides excellent water resistance and a ton of stretchy flexibility for the times when you do feel like getting your climb on!

Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket: The stats

Insulation:Q.Shield Down (RDS certified and fluorine free)
Weight:508g / 18oz
Down fill weight:101g
Down fill power:750
Outer fabric:Dynamic-Stretch Knit (100% Polyester)
Pack down sizeAbout the size of a large loaf of bread!

Features of the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket

Hood

Jacket hoodThe hood is insulated right through with the same down-filled panels as the rest of the jacket. There is no drawcord to cinch the hood in, just a lightly elasticated edge.

Outer fabric

Fabric of jacektThe outer fabric is made from 100% polyester. It is stretchy, tough and durable. And the groundbreaking stretch-welded channel construction means that more warmth is trapped inside the jacket compared with standard stitching.

Cuffs

Jacket cuffThe simple cuffs are edged with the same soft-to-touch fabric as the hood. They are lightly elasticated for a close (but not tight) fit around the wrists.

Chest pocket

External jacket zipThere is an external chest pocket that is zippered. It features a tiny Mountain Hardwear logo — the only bit of branding on the jacket (other than a tiny tag right near the hem of the jacket, below the hand pocket).

Other pockets

Stuff it pocketThere are two large zippered hand pockets on the outside of the jacket. On the inside there are two ‘stuff-it’ pockets.

Hem adjustment

Hem drawcordThe hem of the jacket features two very discreet drawcord adjustment toggles. These sit inside the jacket and can be pulled in to cinch in the bottom of the jacket.

Pack size

Packed jacketThere is no stuff sack or pocket that houses the jacket. And its thick outer fabric makes it pack down to roughly the size of a fairly large loaf of bread!


Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket review

Comfort and fit

The trim, close to body fit of the jacket feels in no way restrictive, and I like that there’s not too much space inside the jacket — helps prevent heat loss. I wear a size large and particularly enjoy the light stretchy feel of the jacket when wearing just one layer underneath. That said, there is enough room for a fleece layer or hoodie if I need the extra warmth. When I put my hands high the jacket does raise up if the bottom hem isn’t cinched in very tightly. However, when bending over there’s no midriff in sight!

The hood is a little on the large size and has no adjustments. I’ve wanted to cinch it down to keep the wind out. Plus, my head rotates inside it, so looking sideways is a problem because the jacket remains looking forwards. I definitely feel like it could use a drawcord at the hood to make it more resistant to the wind.

Mountain Hardwear jacket

Insulation and warmth

Warmth-wise, this isn’t the kind of jacket I would wear to sit around in sub-zero temperatures and expect it to keep me toastie. However, in temperatures nearing 0ºC where I’ve been active (and only wearing a base layer underneath) I’ve been really impressed with how warm I’ve remained. This was despite 30 knot winds and light rain.

Weather resistance

The outer fabric is super robust. Not delicate and shiny like most down jackets. It has a pleasant brushed kind of feel — like a duvet! But despite it’s soft exterior I’m certainly not protective of the jacket. It’s going to take quite a beating before it shows much sign of damage.

In light rain and drizzle, the initial beading of the outer fabric is very good. It lasts quite a while before the outer becomes saturated. And although I always take a waterproof jacket with me on big hikes, it takes more than light rain to coax it out of my backpack. This is a huge plus for everyday wear when you don’t want to have to take a waterproof jacket with you everywhere you go, just in case.

The wind protection is pretty adequate when on the move. But it’s not quite as good as I would have hoped for when sitting around in a chilly wind. The gaping hood doesn’t help this.

Man wearing jacket

What I love the most about the StretchDown Jacket

Although it’s not especially lightweight for a down jacket, the flexible stretchiness of the jacket makes it feel very much lighter than it is when wearing it. I also like it’s clean look: not overly technical and the matte finish suits my sensibilities. Plus, the lack of branding is very appealing to me — just the tiny logo below the chest pocket.

What I don’t love so much about the StretchDown Jacket

The initial feel of the inside of the hand pockets feels cool and slippery. It’s like sliding your hand between a penguin and it’s flipper. The material does warm up after a while though, but it’s never the warm comforting cocoon that a pocket should be.

Also, the hood could certainly use a drawcord to cinch it in around my head.


Verdict

With a stylish yet non-technical look, the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket is ideal for everyday warmth and active adventures through the winter. It won’t win any awards for packability and low weight, and there are certainly more technical down jackets out there that deliver warmth AND low weight. However, the StretchDown is mega robust and weather resistant, providing high levels of comfort when on the move in chilly conditions.

Find the latest price at:
Cotswold Outdoor | Amazon | Mountain Hardwear | Backcountry

Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

About the author

author-rob

Rob is a graphic designer and web developer, based in Cornwall, UK, and is in charge of making Cool of the Wild look fabulous! He loves camping, especially the beer drinking, fire building, and cooking parts, and is deceptively fast at running up hills. When he’s not surfing or throwing a frisbee on the beach, he’ll be drinking tea whilst playing board games.

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