The Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded jacket is unique in that it is the only down jacket that we have ever tested that uses stretchy fabric in its construction. Rather than a simple nylon face fabric that has long been the norm for down jackets, this one uses polyester stretch weave that feels like a softshell and moves as you do. To pull this off, the baffles are welded together instead of sewn, creating a more impermeable layer against wind and water. Despite its innovative and unique design that has a number of advantages, especially for use in highly mobile activities, we found this to be the lowest performing jacket in this review. Compared to the competition it was heavy, didn't compress well, wasn't super warm, and didn't offer a lot of initial water repellency. All of these factors led to a low overall score.
Like most of the hooded jackets we reviewed, this one comes hoodless. The men's StretchDown Jacket retails for $260 and is virtually the same but without the hood. There are also a number of other variations on the StretchDown theme, and each come both hooded and without. The StretchDown DS uses offset quilt patterned baffles and 800-fill power treated down. On the other hand, the StretchDown HD uses horizontal shaped baffles but mixes treated down with synthetic insulation in areas likely to get wet.