The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Hoody claimed the coveted Editors' Choice award for the best overall down jacket. Our testers loved the lightweight jacket's ability to pack down extremely small, hang on their harness, and then be pulled off for some simple warmth. While the features tend more towards the simple side, this jacket utilizes what it has to the best of its abilities. It became our go-to piece for long hikes and late evening strolls by combining comfort with quality.Editor's Note: We purchased and retested this award winner, putting it through the stringent side-by-side testing process that sets us apart from others. This review was updated on August 21, 2022, to reflect our current findings.
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Light, great compressibility, strong warmth to weight ratio compact
Cons: Limited features, little adjustability
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
Compare to Similar Products
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2
|Price||$243.75 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at Amazon
$329.00 at REI
|$209 List||$46 List|
$21.90 at Amazon
|Pros||Light, great compressibility, strong warmth to weight ratio compact||Lightweight, stylish, high warmth to weight ratio||Warm, well-fitting, excellent styling||Inexpensive, lightweight,||Fit allows for layering underneath, soft inner liner, inexpensive|
|Cons||Limited features, little adjustability||Expensive, not super durable||Poor weather resistance, slightly heavy||Sweater weight warmth, moderate adjustability||Thinner outer shell, less durable, not as warm as premium brands, not that compressible|
|Bottom Line||A mountaineering jacket with high quality down and lightweight, this piece stands out for its functional simplicity||If you are looking for a warm, light layer for a trip where ounces count, this is a great selection||This classic down has a comfortable fit, excellent style, and plenty of warmth making it a reliable choice||This 800-fill jacket offers quality down at a reasonable price and little weight||A down jacket alternative that uses synthetic insulation that won't break the bank|
|Rating Categories||Mountain Hardwear G...||Arc'teryx Cerium SL...||Patagonia Down Swea...||MontBell Superior Down||Amazon Essentials L...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Mountain Hardwear G...||Arc'teryx Cerium SL...||Patagonia Down Swea...||MontBell Superior Down||Amazon Essentials L...|
|Down Fill||800-fill goose down||850-fill goose down||800-fill goose down||800-fill goose down||100% polyester|
|Total Weight||8.5 oz||7.6 oz||14.9 oz||8.7 oz||11 oz|
|Baffle Construction||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles|
|Main Fabric||10D ripstop nylon||100% nylon||100% ripstop polyester||10D nylon||Nylon|
|Compression Method||Zips into pocket||Stuff sack||Zips into pocket||Stuff sack||Stuff sack|
|Pockets||2 zippered hand||2 zippered hand||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest||2 zippered hands, 1 internal||2 zippered hand|
Our Analysis and Test Results
As one of the best lightweight down jackets on the market, the Ghost Whisperer takes a technical approach to warmth. Mountain Hardwear used high-quality 800 fill down to create a no-nonsense piece that fits well, moves even better, and provides solid warmth. While the jacket lacks much in adjustability, especially in the hood, the simplicity of its features, as well as the quality of its construction, make it a go-to jacket for backcountry adventures or multi-pitch fun.
The Ghost Whisperer 2 packs significant warmth for its light weight. The jacket's strong weight-to-warmth ratio comes from its high quality down. Mountain Hardwear used 800-fill RDS certified down. The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certifies garments that fill derives from geese and ducks raised humanely. This promise makes for superior loft and a strong warmth-to-weight ratio.
This jacket tends to work best while moving. One of our testers wore this while climbing hard routes on Rocky Mountain National Park's Ship Prow. Despite the cold early morning tempts at 13,000 feet, the jacket performed well. The jacket only has a single zipper. It does fit well under a backpack waist belt and the drawcord at the bottom will help trap heat inside of it. If you're standing in sub-freezing temps, then make sure to layer with another piece.
The Whisperer 10-denier x 10-denier ripstop recycled nylon helps cut out wind and as previously mentioned, the 90% goose down/10% goose feather 800-fill down does an excellent job of keeping this jacket warm. For such a lightweight piece, this jacket offers plenty of warmth.
On our scale, the Ghost Whisperer 2 Hoody weighs a mere 8.5 ounces for a size men's medium; a close competitor, the Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody, weighs in at 7.6 ounces. Mountain Hardwear achieved this low weight by forgoing some features. They skipped on the drawcord in the hood, kept the two zippered pockets streamlined with light pull cords, used a thin Whisperer 10-denier x 10-denier ripstop recycled nylon as an outer, and utilized high-quality 800-fill down. These features all helped keep the jacket streamlined.
The recycled nylon outer that Mountain Hardwear uses works well as a lightweight protective shell for the down filling. While our testers didn't have any mishaps while running through brush and talus in Rocky Mountain National Park, it seemed like the thin material would be susceptible to ripping and our testers kept tape in the field just in case. One tester did experience a baffle thread coming undone but it created a temporary tightness in the forearm of the jacket.
The Ghost Whisperer Jacket is similar to this model but without the hood. The main difference is that jacket is a little lighter than the hoody and saves you some money. We prefer a hood in most applications because it adds a lot of warmth and not much extra weight. But the hoodless version is easier to layer under other jackets. We highly recommend both models.
Our tester got drenched when rain turned to hail during an afternoon thunderstorm in Rocky Mountain National Park. The DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment put on the ultralight ripstop shell fabric outer helped keep the jacket dry in the torrential downpour for a few minutes before eventually, the water soaked through.
Most DWR coatings help with keeping a jacket dry in light precipitation and Mountain Hardwear's treatment did 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 was no exception. If there's serious precipitation in the forecast, bring a shell, which the Ghost Whisperer will fit right under.
Having a comfortable fit in a technical jacket is crucial as it allows for mobility in the mountains and the Ghost Whisperer performed well here. The jacket fits close to the body without any extra space or excess material. A very thin fleece, a long sleeve, or a t-shirt were found best to fit under the jacket.
Our testers, most of whom had wide backs and shoulders, found decent mobility in this jacket. The sleeves didn't ride up too much when the arms went overhead and the jacket didn't expose too much of the torso then either. This makes it a great jacket for ski-touring, hiking, or climbing when movement in the garment is essential.
As one of the most compressible jackets we reviewed, the Ghost Whisperer excels in this metric. The jacket fits inside one of its zippered hand pockets and then can easily stuff inside of a backpack, or easily stored while traveling. It is the smallest compressed jacket we reviewed, better than both the Arc'teryx Cerium LT, which came with its own stuff sack, and the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody, that similarly stuffed into its own pocket.
The high quality of the down, as well as the lightweight features of the jacket, makes it easily compressible, meaning it's a great piece to toss in a jacket and forget about until it gets cold.
The Ghost Whisperer 2 excels in its simplicity. The jacket comes with a scuba-style hood with an elastic rim that fits well around our tester's heads. The sleeves also have elastic cuffs. While some users may not like the lack of adjustability, our testers found that the piece still kept out drafts and kept body heat in. It also cut down on weight. Additionally, synthetic down fills the first baffle of the cuffs to prevent them from wetting out.
The jacket comes with many standard features including two hand warmer pockets with thin zippers, which some of our testers disliked because they were hard to grab and unzip with gloves on. The jacket fits well under a harness. It tucks under the harness top and the hem is long enough for it to stay there even with significant overhead movement, which is helpful since it doesn't have a second zipper.
The jacket lacks internal stash pockets like some of the other models we tested. Also, some of our testers disliked the hem drawcord and how large the loop became when it got cinched down.
Intended for skiing or heavy hiking, in moderately cold temps, the Ghost Whisperer provides a great layer when the temps fluctuate between night and day, when you need an athletic outer piece, or when you just want some lightweight warmth.
Should You Buy the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Hoody?
The Ghost Whisperer 2 Hoody takes the cake in terms of being a light, compressible, warm jacket with decent water resistance. These attributes make it one of the best overall down jackets on the market. While it's a bit thin for extreme cold weather, think sub-zero climates or standing around for long periods,
the jacket excels for cold weather activities like winter hiking, backcountry skiing, or needing a slightly heavier layer. If you're looking for a technical piece for mountain adventures, the Ghost Whisperer delivers.
What Other Down Jackets Should You Consider?
When you compare price points, you'll notice that the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer outperforms many that follow it — and at a lower price. While this is our first pick in our lineup, other jackets are also worth your consideration. If you're shopping on a budget, the Patagonia Down Sweater and Rab Microlight Alpine are top performers that will save you a little. If you want to save even more, consider our value picks, the Montbell Superior Down or REI Co-op 650 2.0.
— James Lucas & Buck Yedor
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