First Look Gear Review

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Review

   

Down Jackets - Men's

  • Currently 4.0/5
Overall avg rating 4.0 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: December 4, 2013
Street Price:   Varies from $208 - $320 | Compare prices at 7 resellers
Pros:  Incredibly light, compact, warm for its size and weight, packs into its own pocket.
Cons:  Colors that you either love or hate.
Best Uses:  Backpacking, hiking, mountaineering, and around town.
User Rating:     
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 (4.0 of 5) based on 3 reviews
Recommendations:  67% of reviewers (2/3) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ December 4, 2013  
Overview
This is the non-hooded version of the winner of our Editors' Choice award, the Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer Check out the full Hands-on-Review there.

This one of the lightest down jackets we tested. The Medium weighs 7.5 ounces on our scale. The next lightest jacket we tested is the Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody where the Medium weighed in at 9.6 ounces. (It should be noted that the Ghost Whisperer Medium is a fair bit bigger than the Ultralight Down Hoody).

We have been wearing this with our favorite lightweight rain jacket, the Outdoor Research Helium II. Their combined weight is 13.9 ounces! We believe this combo is about as warm as you can be with the most wind and rain protection for under a pound.

Warmth
This jacket is incredibly warm for its weight. It is probably one of the warmest sub-half-pound layers currently made. It feels like you are just wearing warm air. I wear this over a t-shirt on 40-degree mornings and am plenty warm as long as there is no wind. One tester slept in the jacket at fifteen degrees while wearing only a lightweight baselayer and inside the Katabatic Gear Palisade down sleeping bag (30 degree rating).

The jacket uses 850 fill down, which is about as good as it gets. To get higher quality down you generally have to seek out a small company and make a custom order like Nunatak. The down quality, along with the super light shell material, is what makes this jacket so warm despite its incredibly light weight. They have an extra big baffle on the back just below the neck in the shape of the Mountain Hardwear logo (a nut). Not really important for performance, but a cool little touch.

Weight
Even before we put it on a scale, we could tell this was one of the lightest layers out there. We have had over a dozen people wear this and they all have the same reaction when they put it on, "Wow, it doesn't weigh anything!" We thought we had tried a lot of light jackets, but this one really takes it to the next level. Many of our testers take the Ghost Whisperer as their only insulating layer for fast and light summer trips.

Packed Size
Click to enlarge
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket (left) packs just a little smaller than the Patagonia Ultralight Down (hoody Right). However, the Ghost Whisperer packs into its own pocket whereas the Patagonia requires you to keep track of a small stuff sac
Credit: Chris McNamara

The jacket packs into its own pocket. Thank you! We always find it annoying when companies require you to keep track of a separate stuff sack (which invariable gets lost after a few months).

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Max Neale on the Evolution Traverse (bottom center) in the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer down jacket.
Credit: Matt Wilhelm

Colors and Style
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Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket worn under the Outdoor Research Helium 2. This is one of the lightest (and brightest!) down jacket/rain jacket combos.
Credit: Chris McNamara

So far all the colors we have seen, except for gray, are very bold: neon orange or yellow with equally bright zippers of different colors. Some people will love these bold colors. Others will want something more muted. One tester loves the super bright orange (and feels very visible and safe when crossing the street or riding a bike). But his wife won't let him wear the jacket around her in public.

Pockets
There are two small handwarmer pockets just big enough to get your hands in. You can't store much. There is no chest pocket either inside or outside.

Water Resistance
There is a DWR coating that repels water in a very light drizzle.

Durability
After four months of extensive use the jacket seems to be holding up well. The logo, which was laminated to the chest, came off in the wash. This could be a good thing if you don't like logos.

We can't really assess long-term durability yet. Check back soon for a full hands-on review. In the meantime, see the other down jackets we have fully tested in our Down Jacket Review.

Other Versions
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer - Women's is the women's version of this jacket. You can also buy this jacket in the hooded version, the Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer and the Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer - Women's, $350.

The Ghost Whisperer Down Vest, $224, is the vested version of this jacket.



  • Photos
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Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 4, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.0)

67% of 3 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (2)
4 star: 25%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 25%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 3 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Sep 4, 2012 - 08:31pm
Max Neale · Other · Maine
This is the best lightweight down jacket I've ever used. It's extremely light, shockingly warm, and joined me for three-months of non-stop adventure. I much prefer it to any similar down jacket that Patagonia makes. At $300 the jacket isn't cheap, but it's somewhat affordable if you compare it to custom jackets such as the Nunatak Skaha, which is likely warmer for its weight (9-10 oz) but costs $450. The Ghost Whisperer looks great, and the orange color you're highly unlikely to get run over by a car while crossing the street. Way to go Mountain Hardwear!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 8, 2013 - 02:59pm
Springer · Backpacker · Raleigh,NC
Haven't worn it out much. Just got it for my Birthday. But 3 quick comments. 1 I'm 6'0" 230 lbs. The XL fits perfect. It also fits under my Mountain Hardware tech jacket. 2 It is very warm for its weight. 3. the fact that it fits in its own pocket makes me think I can stop taking my thermalrest pillow backpacking.

7.5 oz. it feels like warm air.

Biggest bonus was found it on ebay for $140 New with tags.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 25, 2013 - 05:51pm
CDBahl · Hiker · Seattle
I think it's important to mention the unbelievably poor sizing of this jacket. I'm not sure who Mountain Hardwear was designing the fit for, but it sure wasn't me. I'm a pretty average size and build: 6 foot, 160 lbs, and I wear a size medium from most outdoor brands without a problem. The sleeves on this jacket are waaaaay too short and there is a ton of extra room in the body- much more than is necessary (even if layering). If I go up a size, the sleeves are still a little short, and now the jacket could fit two of me in the torso section. This isn't just me either, if you look closely at most of the pictures accompanying this article, you can see the sleeves often end about 3-4 inches away from the wrist of the wearer. This is inexcusable on a ~$300 piece of supposedly technical gear.

A jacket can have all the fancy features in the world, but if it doesn't even come remotely close to fitting properly, it's ultimately a fail.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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Click to enlarge
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
Credit: Mountain Hardwear
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