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Mountain Hardwear Blazar Pullover Review

Mountain Hardwear Blazar
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Price:  $450 List
Pros:  Very light, highly breathable, very comfortable.
Cons:  Least durable hardshell ever tested.
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By Chris McNamara and Max Neale  ⋅  Feb 28, 2013
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Our Verdict

Mountain Hardwear discontinued the Blazar Pullover.

The Mountain Hardwear Blazar is the lightest three-layer hardshell we know of. However, our side-by-side tests with other jackets that weigh 0.2 oz. — 0.8 oz. more indicate that the Blazar is the least durable hardshell we've ever tested. For this reason we do not recommend the jacket. If saving weight is your absolute top priority consider the Haglofs Gram Comp Pull or Patagonia M10.

Check out our complete Hardshell Jacket Review to compare all of the models tested.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Breathability


This could be the most breathable waterproof jacket available anywhere. It doesn't get any better. The author even used it for nordic skiing, a high output activity where most hardshells would be suffocating. Most of our testers used the jacket in colder temperatures. In warmer weather we prefer full-length zippers for improved ventilation.

Features


Like the company's Quasar, which we have been testing for two years, the Blazar has one internal stash pocket, an adjustable hood that goes best under a helmet, and very nice non-adjustable wrist closures. Simple and effective, though our testers prefer external chest pockets.

Tommy Dutra in the Mountain Hardwear Blazar on the Torment-Forbidden Traverse  Cascades  WA.
Tommy Dutra in the Mountain Hardwear Blazar on the Torment-Forbidden Traverse, Cascades, WA.

Mobility


The jacket is so light and so soft it feels like you're wearing a windbreaker. It is among the most mobile of any jacket we've tested and it

Weight


The Mountain Hardwear Blazar is one the lightest three-layer waterproof breathable jackets available. We've tested two models: one weighed 7.0 oz and the other 7.5 oz.

We cut off the jacket's "buttery cuffs" on the second model we tested and are very pleased with the change because it saves 0.6 ounces, or nearly 9% of the total weight!! and does not appear to negatively impact warmth or comfort. Cutting off the cuffs makes this jacket the lightest three-layer jacket in the world.

Durability


Through testing the jacket backcountry skiing, alpine climbing, mountaineering, nordic skiing, and backpacking, we've found that it's not durable. In fact, the Blazar is likely the least durable 3-layer waterproof breathable jacket we've ever tested. As you can see in the photos below, the jacket's face fabric pilled up after only one week of use. We believe this is unacceptable for a $450 jacket. One tester tore a hole in the wrist while on the North Cascades Torment-Forbidden Traverse. Due to its low durability, we do not recommend the Blazar and give it a 3-star rating.

No ultralight hardshell is very durable. But several others that weigh less than one ounce more (Haglofs Gram Comp Pull and Patagonia M10) have proven to be much more durable, and exhibit virtually no signs of wear, after testing for a similar duration in similar, if not tougher, conditions.

The Mountain Hardwear Blazar's super thin face fabric is the least durable of all hardshells tested. After a only few trips it started pilling up and wearing away. Very disappointing.
The Mountain Hardwear Blazar's super thin face fabric is the least durable of all hardshells tested. After a only few trips it started pilling up and wearing away. Very disappointing.
Rip in the sleeve of the Mountain Hardwear Blazar.
Rip in the sleeve of the Mountain Hardwear Blazar.

Versatility


The low weight and supreme breathability increase versatility, but low durability and the lack of a full-length zipper offset those gains. We give the jacket a 7 out of 10, which is the same score as other lightweight half-length shells.

Best Applications


Fast and light winter alpine climbing.

Conclusion


The Blazar is a fantastic jacket that's disappointingly durable.

Chris Simrell "chossaneering" in the North Cascades with the Mountain Hardwear Blazar jacket and Arcteryx Alpha FL 45L pack.
Chris Simrell "chossaneering" in the North Cascades with the Mountain Hardwear Blazar jacket and Arcteryx Alpha FL 45L pack.


Chris McNamara and Max Neale