Once awarded our Editors' Choice award for best overall lightweight down jacket, this year we are happy to call the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded our Top Pick for Lightweight Warmth. Although it doesn't have as much heat-trapping loft as many heavier jackets, there is one thing that makes this jacket super unique and a must have — it's incredibly lightweight. At a mere 7.7 ounces and compressing down nearly as small as a tennis ball, how could you not bring this life-saver along? This jacket includes a protective hood and a hem drawcord and still weighs nearly four ounces less than its closest hooded competition. With its form-fitting design, we love it as a stand-alone jacket to ward off cool evening breezes in the summer just as much as we love wearing it underneath an alpine shell while winter climbing or skiing. While it doesn't come cheap and compromises a bit on durability to achieve such a mind-blowing light weight, this versatile jacket is easily one of the best we have ever worn, and one we highly recommend to you.
The Ghost Whisperer Jacket is similar to our Top Pick but without the hood. The main difference is that jacket is a little lighter than the hoody and saves you $30 (the jacket retails for $319). 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.