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Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Review

An outstanding jacket with high-quality down that's lighter than the competition and stands out for its functional simplicity
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Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Review
Credit: Sam Schild
Price:  $360 List
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Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By Sam Schild, James Lucas & Buck Yedor  ⋅  Jan 23, 2024
75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 16
  • Warmth - 30% 6.0
  • Comfort - 30% 7.0
  • Portability - 15% 10.0
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 8.0
  • Breathability - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 is our top choice for a down jacket when weight savings is a priority. We love this jacket's ability to pack down into its own pocket. And at 8.3 ounces (men's size small), this featherweight layer barely tips the scale. This is light enough to hang on your climbing harness or throw in your backpack to stay warm at the summit without holding you down on the way up. While this jacket has minimal extra bells and whistles, a feature-heavy jacket isn't what this tries to be. It has exactly what it needs and nothing more. This is our go-to layer for everything from long hikes to late-evening strolls, and it's comfortable enough that you'll never want to take it off.
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
Great compressibility
Good warmth-to-weight ratio
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited features
Minimal adjustability
Editor's Note: We purchased and retested this jacket alongside numerous others to update our findings and comparisons on January 23, 2024, reflecting our most recent testing.

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Bottom Line An ultralight jacket that excels in fast and light mountain missions while disappearing in your pack when you're not wearing itThis jacket provides solid heat and weather protection in cold weatherThis midweight down jacket features excellent weather resistance and solid warmth in an affordable packageThis lightweight hoodless option has a basic set of features, is comfortable, and looks greatYou'll probably do a double-take when you look at the price of this jacket
Rating Categories Mountain Hardwear G... Rab Electron Pro Rab Microlight Alpine REI Co-op 650 Down Wantdo Packable Dow...
Warmth (30%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
Comfort (30%)
7.0
9.5
9.0
8.0
5.0
Portability (15%)
10.0
4.0
5.0
8.5
8.0
Weather Resistance (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
Breathability (10%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Specs Mountain Hardwear G... Rab Electron Pro Rab Microlight Alpine REI Co-op 650 Down Wantdo Packable Dow...
Down Fill 800-fill goose down 800-fill European goose down with Nikwax hydrophobic finish Recycled 700-fill Down with Nikwax hydrophobic finish 650-fill down 90% duck down
Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Outer Fabric 10D recycled ripstop nylon 20D nylon Pertex Quantum Pro Recycled 30D nylon Pertex Quantum Recycled ripstop nylon 20D 400T nylon
Weight (Size Small) 8.3 oz 16.1 oz 14.9 oz 10.1 oz 10.6 oz
Hem Type Drop hem (small) Drop hem (large) Drop hem (large) Drop hem (small) Straight
Fit Slim Standard Standard Standard Standard
Pockets 2 zippered hand 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered external chest 2 zippered hand. 2 internal slip in pockets 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered external chest, 2 internal slip in pockets
Hood Yes, hoodless option Yes Yes No, hooded option Yes
Cuff Construction Elastic cuffs Two stretch-panel cuffs Elastic cuffs Elastic cuffs Elastic
Adjustment Points Hem drawcord Hem shockcord, hood shockcord, hood velcro Hem shockcord, hood shockcord Hem drawcord None
Stow Option Zips into pocket Stuff sack Stuff sack None Stuff sack
Features Recycled shell matierials, harness compatible hand pockets Harness compatible pockets, helmet compatible hood, stiffened bill, hydrophobic down Stiffened hood bill, recycled hydrophobic down N/A N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

As one of the best lightweight down jackets on the market, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 takes a technical approach to ultralight warmth. It's stuffed with high-quality down and made of lightweight yet durable recycled ripstop nylon. This jacket is the lightest jacket we've seen but is surprisingly warm considering the weight. It's simple yet effective, fits well, and moves even better. This is a no-brainer when considering what to pack for your next lightweight backcountry adventure.

Performance Comparison


mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 - the mountain hardwear ghost whisperer is lightweight, has an...
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer is lightweight, has an athletic fit, and features some of the best compressibility of the jackets we tested.
Credit: Sam Schild

Warmth


The Ghost Whisperer/2 packs significant warmth for its minimal weight. This isn't as warm as a big, puffy, down jacket, but it's plenty warm for summer nights in the mountains and shoulder season adventures.


The jacket's strong warmth-to-weight ratio comes from its high quality down. It is stuffed with 800-fill RDS-certified down. So even though there isn't a lot of down insulating this jacket, it still lofts enough to keep you warm in mild to moderate cold.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 - while the ghost whisperer/2 isn't the warmest jacket, it can keep...
While the Ghost Whisperer/2 isn't the warmest jacket, it can keep you comfortable down below freezing as part of a layering system.
Credit: Sam Schild

This jacket works best while moving. We wore this on challenging alpine climbing routes in Rocky Mountain National Park. And despite the cold early morning temperatures at 13,000 feet, the jacket kept us warm enough. When you combine this jacket with a lightweight fleece, it's more than warm enough for most conditions where you're moving.

It has a drawcord at the bottom to trap the heat that adjusts easily with a single pull. It has no other adjustment features to help seal in the heat, but the hood fits snuggly around your head and neck. The jacket only has a single zipper. If you're standing in sub-freezing temps, then make sure to layer with a few more pieces of clothing. But for such a lightweight piece, this jacket offers plenty of warmth.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 - the ghost whisperer is lightweight and moveable, a perfect layer for...
The Ghost Whisperer is lightweight and moveable, a perfect layer for tossing on during a chilly day spent recreating outdoors.
Credit: Sam Schild

Comfort


The Ghost Whisperer is an extremely comfortable jacket overall. It's made of soft material that feels good against your bare skin, and the light weight of the garment adds to the overall comfort. You won't feel weighed down while wearing this jacket.


Having a comfortable fit in a technical jacket is crucial, as it allows for mobility in the mountains. The Ghost Whisperer/2 fits close to the body without any extra space or excess material. But even with this alpine fit, it still allows for a full range of motion.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 - the ghost whisperer/2 allows for good range of motion, but we found...
The Ghost Whisperer/2 allows for good range of motion, but we found it runs slightly slimmer than some jackets.
Credit: Sam Schild

Our testers, most of whom have wide backs and shoulders, found decent mobility in this jacket. The sleeves don't ride up too much when we put our arms overhead, and the jacket doesn't expose much torso when reaching above you either. This makes it a great jacket for ski touring, hiking, or climbing, where freedom of movement is essential.

A very thin fleece, a base layer, or a t-shirt is best for wearing under this model. If we planned to wear a thicker sweater underneath, we would get one size larger than we normally wear.

While the jacket lacks much in adjustability, especially in the hood, we find a reassuring comfort in its simplicity. The no-frills features, as well as the quality of its construction, make it a go-to jacket for backcountry adventures or multi-pitch fun.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 - the ghost whisperer/2 doesn't have much adjustability in the hood...
The Ghost Whisperer/2 doesn't have much adjustability in the hood, but we like the simplicity.
Credit: Sam Schild

Portability


On our scale, the Ghost Whisperer/2 weighs a mere 8.3 ounces as a men's small. This is the lightest jacket we tested. It packs into its own pocket to a size that is the smallest of any jacket as well.


The Ghost Whisperer/2 is as packable and portable as it is because it is a simple jacket. There aren't extra zippers, pockets, or extra adjustment features that might help you dial in the fit. It has two hand pockets, a waist hem cinch cord, and nothing extra. However, this minimalist design approach makes this jacket the unquestionably best choice for ultralight missions.

It is made with thin 10-denier recycled ripstop nylon. This ultralight fabric choice is durable enough, but we definitely recommend carrying a stick-on patch for longer adventures with this jacket. While our testers didn't have any mishaps while running through brush and talus in Rocky Mountain National Park, we definitely have a couple of small snags from a long-distance backpacking trip on the Arizona Trail with this jacket.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 - a close-up of the thin fabric on our well-worn ghost whisperer/2...
A close-up of the thin fabric on our well-worn Ghost Whisperer/2 with a repair patch earned during a long distance hike on the Arizona Trail.
Credit: Sam Schild

The Ghost Whisperer/2 fits inside one of its zippered hand pockets. When compressed, it easily stuffs into a backpack or suitcase. This is the smallest compressed jacket we tested. The high-quality 800-fill down and the lightweight features of the jacket make it very compressible. This is a great piece to toss in and forget about until it gets cold.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 - the ghost whisperer/2 practically disappears in your pack when you...
The Ghost Whisperer/2 practically disappears in your pack when you aren't wearing it.
Credit: Sam Schild

Weather Resistance


The Ghost Whisperer/2 has a DWR coating on the exterior shell material. This makes it relatively water resistant but not as weather resistant as a few other down jackets.


One of our testers wore this jacket in an afternoon storm in Colorado and, unsurprisingly, ended up drenched. The DWR treatment helped keep the jacket dry in the torrential downpour for a few minutes, but eventually, the water soaked through.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 - the ghost whisperer/2 will initially repel water, but it isn't the...
The Ghost Whisperer/2 will initially repel water, but it isn't the most water-resistant down jacket, over long periods of time.
Credit: Sam Schild

This is common with DWR coatings on down jackets, though. They aren't rain jackets, after all. Most DWR coatings help with keeping a jacket dry in light precipitation, and this jacket does well to make the initial sprinkles of the summer alpine thunderstorms just bead on the coat. However, a deluge of any kind will soak through most down jackets, and the Ghost Whisperer/2 is no exception. If there's serious precipitation in the forecast, bring a rain shell.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 - the ghost whisperer/2 will protect you from dry snow and light rain.
The Ghost Whisperer/2 will protect you from dry snow and light rain.
Credit: Sam Schild

In our spray and rub water-resistance test, the Ghost Whisperer/2 performed better than many jackets. It wasn't the most water resistant, but it performed just above average in this test.

It also does a fairly good job of blocking the wind. We regularly use this jacket in lieu of a windbreaker while backpacking. In our wind resistance lab test, it performed better than most other jackets, too.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 - the ghost whisperer/2 performed well in our wind resistance fan test.
The Ghost Whisperer/2 performed well in our wind resistance fan test.
Credit: Sam Schild

Breathability


The Ghost Whisperer/2 is one of the most breathable down jackets we've worn. We regularly hike long distances and climb hard in this jacket, and it doesn't cause us to overheat nearly as quickly as other jackets.


Most of its breathability comes from the simple fact that it isn't as warm. A thin layer of down is more breathable than a thick blanket of it, after all. It has no other breathability features other than the full-length zipper, which is easy to operate thanks to an ultralight cord zipper pull.

The warmer a jacket is, the faster you're going to overheat when you start a high-output activity. This model is perfectly insulated for moving. In fact, you'll likely get cold if you stop moving. This is breathable enough for uphill skiing or heavy hiking in moderately cold temperatures. And it's breathable enough to wear as your only layer for summer alpine missions, too.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 - the ghost whisperer/2 is breathable enough for heavy hiking in the...
The Ghost Whisperer/2 is breathable enough for heavy hiking in the winter.
Credit: Sam Schild

Should You Buy the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2?


The Ghost Whisperer/2 takes the cake in terms of being a light, compressible, warm jacket with decent weather resistance. This is one of the best overall down jackets on the market. While it's a bit thin for extreme cold weather, it excels for high-output cold weather activities like winter hiking or backcountry skiing. If you're looking for a technical piece for lightweight mountain adventures, the Ghost delivers.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 - taking the ghost whisperer/2 is a great choice for lightweight...
Taking the Ghost Whisperer/2 is a great choice for lightweight mountain adventures.
Credit: Sam Schild

What Other Down Jackets Should You Consider?


If you're shopping on a budget, the REI Co-op 650 Down and the even less expensive Wantdo Packable Down Hoody are worth a look. If you need something lightweight but don't care as much about weather resistance, check out the more affordable MontBell Superior Down.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 - testing the ghost whisperer/2 on a snowy day in the mountains.
Testing the Ghost Whisperer/2 on a snowy day in the mountains.
Credit: Sam Schild

Sam Schild, James Lucas & Buck Yedor