Hands-on Gear Review

Mountain Hardwear Nitrous Jacket Review

Mountain Hardwear Nitrous Jacket
By: Chris McNamara and McKenzie Long  ⋅  Nov 19, 2014
Price:  $220 List  |  $142.99 at MooseJaw - 35% Off
Pros:  Lightweight, packs down really small.
Cons:  Fabric wears out easily.
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear

Our Verdict

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.

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.

Best Application

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

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: January 6, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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Average Customer Rating:  
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0% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 50%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Jan 6, 2015 - 10:59am

I own a lot of Mountain Hardwear gear, and I generally like it. I do not like this jacket, simply for the zippers. The zippers are very flimsy and will not hold up. I tore the right side pocket simply by pulling up on the zipper. MH said they would fix it, but they did not have the original color of the zipper, and it would take at least a couple months because they don't have enough staff to perform the work. That left me with no option but to take it with me to the Himalayas in August, after gluing the seam back together. Then the main zipper started with problems. Anytime you stress the bottom portion of the jacket, the zipper comes apart. There is no "second" zipper on the bottom, to help relieve stress, and I'm 5' 11'' tall and 165 pounds so there shouldn't be that much stress there. Anyway, the main zipper pulls apart anytime stress is put on the bottom portion of the jacket, making it necessary to unzip the jacket and then zip it up again. You then need to baby the jacket so that you don't stress the zipper and cause it to come apart again.

Again, I generally like MH gear. I would not buy this again. I think they tried to go too light, to the point of making this a piece of gear that will not stand up to "hard wear". Don't buy it.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.

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