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Hands-on Gear Review

Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket - Women's Review

Price:   $185 List | $75.99 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, compressible, feminine fit and style, hefty carabiner loop
Cons:  Fabric pills after limited use, absorbs water
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear

Our Verdict

A technical jacket that has cozy features and an attractive cut and design, the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket really impressed us. We thought this thin, lightweight jacket performed well during big adventures and still looked great; it's the lightest of the jackets we tested - packing down to the size of a one-liter water bottle. Throughout the testing process, we closely compared the technical attributes of the Thermostatic with the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket - Women's, Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket - Women's, and The North Face ThermoBall Jacket - Women's. We approached these four jackets as a subcategory of the review since they were the lightest and most compressible and we wanted to see how they stood up against each other.

This jacket hasn't changed too much over the years, but this year they added a fancy new carabiner loop! Feel free to clip take this jacket onto a harness for any alpine adventure.


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Score Product Price Weight Insulation Outer Fabric
74
$235
Editors' Choice Award
11.2 oz (medium) 60 g/m2 PrimaLoft Gold Pertex Quantum 20D 100% nylon
72
$299
Top Pick Award
11.4 oz (small) 60 g/m2 Fullrange 1.3 oz 20D 100% nylon ripstop w/ mechanical stretch
71
$259
11.3 oz (small) 60 g/m2 Coreloft Tyono 100% nylon 20D mechanical stretch with ripstop, light Taffeta shell
69
$245
14.7 oz (medium) 80 g/m2 Polartec Alpha Pertex Microlight (100% polyamide with polyurethane coating)
67
$299
Top Pick Award
14.6 oz (medium) Mainbody: Coreloft 120 g/m2; Hood & Underarms: Coreloft 80 g/m2; Inside Pockets: Coreloft 60 g/m2 Tyono 100% nylon 30D shell
67
$199
Best Buy Award
10.9 oz (small) 60 g/m2 PrimaLoft Gold Pertex Quantum 22D 100% nylon + 75D stretch double weave panels
65
$299
15.7 oz (small) 98 g/m2 Polartec Hi-Pile Alpha 100% nylon 30D stretch woven shell
64
$199
10.4 oz (medium) PrimaLoft ThermoBall 15D ripstop, 100% nylon
64
$199
9.8 oz (small) 60 g/m2 PrimaLoft Gold 1.4 oz 22D ripstop, 100% recycled polyester
62
$140
15.7 oz (medium) 100 g/m2 Omni-Heat (50% polyester/50% recycled polyester) Omni-Shield of Windowpane Triple Ripstop 100% Polyester
61
$185
9.7 oz (medium) 60 g/m2 Thermal.Q Elite 15D ripstop, 100% nylon

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Amber King
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday
November 11, 2014

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Two year ago, the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket earned an award for its light weight and flattering features. With the introduction of many new contenders, it was dethroned - even though it's been the same jacket for two years. This product serves as a great technical workhorse jacket and has a burly zipper our testers loved. Additionally, it has a flattering feminine fit and a few critical features that significantly increased its comfy factor. This piece works well as a mid or outer layer whether you're running errands around town or belaying 400 feet up a wall. We just wish that it had a gear loop so that we could clip it to a harness or backpack.

Performance Comparison


Approaching Mt. Sneffells in the San Juan Mountains. On a mission to find some early season ice  the Thermostatic did a great job keeping Amber warm on this hilly hike.
Approaching Mt. Sneffells in the San Juan Mountains. On a mission to find some early season ice, the Thermostatic did a great job keeping Amber warm on this hilly hike.

Warmth


Like the other pieces in this "subcategory" of insulated jackets, this product has 60 g/m2 of Thermal.Q Elite insulation. After performing a head-to-head test, during which our testers wore the jackets on a cold evening while camping, this product was not quite as warm as the Patagonia Nano Puff or the Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's. Instead it was on par with the Outdoor Research Cathode. Neither the Thermostatic nor the Nano Puff, however, were as warm as thicker jackets like the Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody - Women's or Outdoor Research Uberlayer - Women's. Even though we tested a non-hooded version of the Thermostatic jacket, you may still be able to find the discontinued hooded version from select online retailers.

Hmmm....which jacket is warmer? Doing some fun comparison testing in Indian Creek with our best lady friends. The Thermostatic lost this comparison test  but not by much.
Hmmm....which jacket is warmer? Doing some fun comparison testing in Indian Creek with our best lady friends. The Thermostatic lost this comparison test, but not by much.

Compressibility & Weight


This was the most compressible and lightest weight jacket tested. Weighing it at of 9.7 ounces (medium), it compresses into one of its hand pockets and measures a little smaller than a one-liter Nalgene bottle. This is a perfect size for long missions when you need to go light.

This year, Mountain Hardwear changed things up and fulfilled our wishes! They added a hefty loop to the jacket, making it far more versatile and upping its scores in this category.

The Thermostatic packs down into a stow pocket in the hand pocket. Though we found it difficult to stuff and a little annoying that it did not have an additional accessory loop we loved how light and small it got.
The Thermostatic packs down into a stow pocket in the hand pocket. Though we found it difficult to stuff and a little annoying that it did not have an additional accessory loop we loved how light and small it got.

Weather Resistance


None of the quilted jackets that we reviewed, including this one, did shed water as well as the continuous shell jackets. Additionally, we were unimpressed by how much water it absorbed after standing underneath a showerhead for five minutes. We were shocked to learn that it absorbed the most water of all the jackets tested and took the longest to dry out. As a result, it was docked a few points in this category, as it wasn't nearly as water resistant and resistant to absorption.

In terms of wind resistance, this jacket performed on the same relatively low level as the other quilted jackets. The ripstop outer provides a great barrier for a little while, but with frigid, blowy conditions, this jacket is just not built to stand up to super cold and windy situations. Continuous shell coats like the Xenon X and the Arc'teryx Atom AR did a much better job.

Comfort & Coziness


This jacket works hard to outdo its competitors in this category. This piece features really nice fleece-lined hand pockets (but no chest pocket), as well as a fleece-lined chin guard and garaged zipper. It has comfy elastic cuffs and a drawcord at the hemline to seal in warmth; however, it's worth noting that these pull cords are a little bulkier than those on other jackets. This piece is definitely not as comfy as the plush Columbia Kaleidaslope II Jacket - Women's, but as a technical piece, it impressed us with its extra features.

Ooooh! We love comfort extras. The Thermostatic has a few of them. A felted garage for the zipper  a little room for a tiny bit of chin protection  felted chin guards  AND felted pockets. Oh...oh! And the zipper is big  burly  and easy to zip without snags.
Ooooh! We love comfort extras. The Thermostatic has a few of them. A felted garage for the zipper, a little room for a tiny bit of chin protection, felted chin guards, AND felted pockets. Oh...oh! And the zipper is big, burly, and easy to zip without snags.

Breathability


Even though its wind resistance was sub-par, this jacket did not score highly in breathability. Like the ThermoBall and Nano Puff, the Thermostatic lacks breathable fabrics and insulation. If it featured softer, more breathable materials like the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's (Our Top Pick for Breathability) it would have scored higher in this category.

Style & Fit


We were pleasantly surprised at the flattering fit of the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic. This jacket is cut slim enough that it looks feminine while still providing enough space to layer lightweight pieces underneath. Plus, its arms and torso were plenty long for even our longer limbed testers. Since 2013, Mountain Hardwear has not changed the style and kept the vertical zig zag design that we really loved.

The relaxed  athletic fit on this jacket makes it a great option to bring up into the mountains or into town. We really loved the color combinations for 2014  and the great diamond zig-zag patterning.
The relaxed, athletic fit on this jacket makes it a great option to bring up into the mountains or into town. We really loved the color combinations for 2014, and the great diamond zig-zag patterning.

Best Applications


Since it's lightweight and compressible, but still provides a good amount warmth, we would recommend this jacket for a wide variety of outdoor adventures, including hiking, backcountry skiing, alpine adventures, and rock climbing. It is also great for wearing out with friends or running errands around town.

Ahhh...versatility at its finest. Not the warmest jacket  but it works great as a stand alone layer during all seasons except winter. It's also a great layering piece that fits nicely under a shell.
Ahhh...versatility at its finest. Not the warmest jacket, but it works great as a stand alone layer during all seasons except winter. It's also a great layering piece that fits nicely under a shell.

Value


At just $185 (cheaper than last year!), this is one of the least expensive insulated jackets we tested. It's a great value if you are looking for a lightweight jacket with plenty of features and an added stylish flair. But, if you're looking for piece that still compresses into its pocket (with a carabiner loop) and offers more warmth for a slightly higher price, check out The North Face ThermoBall.

We observed quite a bit of pilling on the Thermostatic after just two weeks of use. Pilling  torn stitches  and holes can give your jacket a very "worn" look.
We observed quite a bit of pilling on the Thermostatic after just two weeks of use. Pilling, torn stitches, and holes can give your jacket a very "worn" look.

One red flag that we did observe was that the fabric started pilling after just two weeks of use. That said, all the other components have remained intact and its burly large-tooth zipper makes us confident that zipper replacement won't be necessary for a very long time. Even if it was, Mountain Hardwear will replace your zippers free of charge - another plus for this piece.

A beefy zipper and a great look wins points for the Thermostatic. Though  we were disappointed to see pilling and wear and tear after just two weeks of wear.
A beefy zipper and a great look wins points for the Thermostatic. Though, we were disappointed to see pilling and wear and tear after just two weeks of wear.

Conclusion


We liked the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic because of its light weight, compressibility, flattering style, and comfy features. If you're looking for a strictly technical piece, the Patagonia Nano Puff may be the way to go, but if you're seeking a little more balance, we think the Thermostatic is a good choice.

Other Versions


Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket
Thermostatic Jacket
  • Cost - $200
  • The men's version of this jacket

Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Hooded
Thermostatic Hooded Jacket - Women's
  • Cost - $250
  • Hooded version of this jacket
Amber King and Amanda Fenn

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Most recent review: November 11, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
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3 star: 100%  (1)
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