The Nitrous used to be by far the simplest and lightest jacket we tested. Then out came the Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer which is much lighter and the winner of our Editors' Choice award. The Nitrous is still a top scoring jacket and is less expensive, but overall we prefer the Ghost. Check out our complete Down Jacket Review to see how this compared to others.
Mountain Hardwear Nitrous Jacket Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Lightweight, packs down really small.
Cons: Fabric wears out easily.
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Nitrous jacket is one of the lightest jackets in this review (10 oz.), which is awesome if you are going to pack it with you on a long alpine adventure. It skimps on other features, such as an interior pocket or zippered hand pockets, to keep it lightweight. I brought this jacket with me on many days of climbing because it could squish so small in my pack. Since this jacket is so thin and light it works well as a mid-layer underneath a shell as well as an outer layer.
After a lot of wear while hiking and belaying, a tiny hole appeared in the sleeve and started leaking feathers. There was not a memorable tear or rip, but the fabric just wore out in a tiny spot. The thin fabric makes this jacket light and easy to stuff, but the material doesn't take tons of rough wear.
This is the perfect down layer to bring on long alpine days since it is so small and light. If you are looking for the most stripped down jacket, this one is it. The hand pockets in this jacket are small and don't fit bulkier items like wallets, which makes this not the jacket of choice for wearing around town. If you would prefer a jacket with more features such as bigger zippered hand pockets lined with soft fleece, check out the MontBell Alpine Light Jacket or the Aconcagua Jacket.
The Nitrous jacket costs $220 without a hood and $240 with a hood. This puts it in the middle price range compared with other similar jackets. It is worth the investment if you are interested in a simple but warm layer for long outings.
— Chris McNamara and McKenzie Long