Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer™ Down Jacket

 In gear review

My almost 10 years old Marvel Peak lightweight down jacket was getting really old and ineffective. As I was looking for a replacement I decided to go for Mountain Hardwear‘s Ghost Whisperer™ Down Jacket because of the weight and the good reviews. After testing it for about a year here is my review of this jacket.

Overview

The latest ultra-light, insulation down jacket from Mountain Hardwear.
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer™ Down Jacket

Fabrics

  • Body : Whisperer 7D x 10D Ripstop
  • Insulation : Q.Shield™ Down 850-Fill

Manufacturer's data

  • The world’s lightest full-featured down jacket
  • Q.Shield™ down protects individual down fibers from moisture so they keep you warm even when wet
  • Quilted construction holds insulation in place
  • Two front handwarmer pockets
  • Jacket stows in pocket
  • Lightweight single pull hem drawcord
  • Weight: 205 g

Advantages/Drawbacks

  • Ultra-light
  • Surprisingly warm for that weight
  • As all ultra-light gear it will most probably not last as long as other apparel
  • The price. You pay for the high quality down
  • No problem so far but the front zipper seems a bit weak; to handle with care

Opinion

If I can’t verify if the Ghost Whisperer™ Down Jacket is the world’s lightest full-featured down jacket as Mountain Hardwear claims it, it is indeed lighter than the equivalent down jackets of most of the main brands I have checked which are all above 300 grams. To compensate the reduced amount of down used to make the jacket lighter Mountain Hardwear uses higher quality down of 850 fill power compare to the 700~750 fill power down used in other insulation jackets. And it works.

Although a bit skeptical at the beginning, I was quite surprised at how warm the jacket is because it is so thin and light that it feels like if you are not wearing anything. There’s of course a limit of how much warm it can be but it is the same for all equivalents lightweight jackets from other brands. I used it all the summer and autumn and have to say that it was warm enough for me during both seasons.

The other thing that might make a difference is that this jacket is supposed to keep you warm even when wet due to the Q.Shield™ treatment. But I didn’t felt like getting damped to test it and I guess there is a limit to that too. My guess is that it might keep you warm when very little wet but not soaked. At that price, I didn’t want to take the risk of damaging the jacket because the downside of all these lightweight gear is that they have a shorter lifespan. On this point I was really worried when I received the jacket. It is so thin that it looks like it will be torn right away but so far it has proven to be quite resistant but I do try to use it as carefully as I can.

In the end as all these lightweight down jackets are very simple, there is not much to talk about other than the warmth/weight ratio to compare them. In my opinion, this ratio makes the Ghost Whisperer™ Down Jacket one of the most efficient jacket in its category on the market but also one of the most expensive. The Q.Shield™ treatment is for sure a great improvement to stay warm in wet environments although it for sure has its limits. Overall, as long as you are not at the base camp of the Denali or the K2, it makes a very good lightweight down insulated jacket for all sorts of mountain/outdoor activities from spring to summer. In winter it can also be used for intense activities like trail running rather than carrying an heavyweight sweater or fleece. For extra warmth, note that there is a hooded version.

To my opinion the main question to ask yourself to decide to buy it or not is: is weight (100 g) that critical for me to spend the extra money? If no, then you should go for any other brand’s lightweight down jacket. If yes, then it should make you very happy.

If you are looking for other opinion, here is a good review from Outdoor gear lab.

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