Hands-on Gear Review

Mountain Hardwear Hooded Compressor Review

Mountain Hardwear Hooded Compressor PL Jacket
Price:  $250 List | $125.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Lightweight, well made wrist cuffs.
Cons:  Hood is tight with helmet on, Insulation not as good as PrimaLoft ONE.
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight:  17 oz
Insulation:  100g/m2 Thermal.Q Elite in body, 80g/m2 in sleeves
OuterĀ Fabric:  20D Ripstop nylon
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear

Our Verdict

The Hooded Compressor is a good mid-weight synthetic insulated jacket. In this review it is best compared to the Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody. For around town use we preferred the Atom AR. The Hooded Compressor however, is a nicely featured jacket for those looking for something warmer than the standard lightweight synthetic layer.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Synthetic Insulated Jackets For Men

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Ian Nicholson and Chris McNamara

Last Updated:
Wednesday
May 4, 2011

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The Mountain Hardwear Super Compressor vs. The Mountain Hardwear Hooded Compressor


Mountain Hardwear has replaced the Hooded Compressor with the Super Compressor, which retails for $295 - almost $50 more than the Hooded Compressor. The Super Compressor weights the same as the Hooded Compressor (17 oz) and has Thermal.Q Elite, which according to Mountain Hardwear, mimics the structure of down to create the highest warmth to weight ratio available in synthetic insulation.

Check out a side-by-side comparison below, with the Super Compression pictured on the left and the Hooded Compressor shown on the right.
Mountain Hardwear Super Compressor
Mountain Hardwear Hooded Compressor PL Jacket

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Hands-On Review


Warmth


Like the Montane Ice Guide and Patagonia Hyper Puff Hoody, the Mountain Hardwear Hooded Compressor is constructed with two different insulation weights to balance warmth with overall weight and mobility - 100g/m2 Thermic Micro TK in the body, and 80g/m2 in the sleeves. Not all synthetic insulations are equal. We find PrimaLoft insulation to generally be the best with PrimaLoft ONE being the widely accepted best. Mountain Hardwear's Thermic Micro insulation seems to be less warm. The difference is not extreme, but we find the Arc'teryx Atom AR to be warmer jackets.

The hood of the Compressor is much tighter fitting compared Atom AR. when used over a helmet it feels restrictive and covers the face only when your chin is tucked to your chest. We found this hood fit to be a big drawback.

Weight


We have to admit that we're rather thrown off by the fact that this jacket is called the "Compressor" and it does not stuff into itself. It squishes down relatively small, but you could not bring it along on a long rock climbing route very easily unless you climbed with a pack. Overall hover, the Compressor is a very light - only 17oz.

Features


There are no stand-out features on the Hooded Compressor other than the wrist cuffs, which are similar in design the the Mountain Hardwear Quasar with soft "jersey" cuffs that act as a sort of internal wrist gaiter, keeping cold and wetness out. There are four pockets: two hand warming pockets are comfortable fleece lined, but small, and there is an external, and an internal zippered chest pocket. The Internal chest pocket is very small, which we like since it keeps our little items closer at hand. The waist has the standard two-point cinch adjustments. The hood, though small as mentioned above, has a good 3-point adjustment system, and small brim.
Molly staying warm on a cold Yellowstone evening.  she has the Mountain Hardwear Hooded Compressor layered over a Patagonia Fitz Roy down parka.
Molly staying warm on a cold Yellowstone evening. she has the Mountain Hardwear Hooded Compressor layered over a Patagonia Fitz Roy down parka.


Best Application


This is a good jacket to pack along for belaying or skiing because it compresses small and is a bit warmer than the lightweight jackets in this review. It is not the jacket you would bring to clip on your harness however (since it can't). Though some may feel it looks a bit "techie" we think it looks nice and is great for around town as well.

Value


for $250 dollars the Hooded Compressor is a bit expensive considering how we rated it against its closest competition Atom AR.
Ian Nicholson and Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: January 28, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (4.3)

100% of 3 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 25%  (1)
4 star: 75%  (3)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Jan 28, 2014 - 10:43am
spauldeagle · Backpacker · michigan, florida, georgia, seattle washington
i love this jacket. I own two. hooded and hoodless. the older version i think 2008-2010 actually packs into its pocket nicely and is prima loft. the newer one used thermic micro. (less efficient) (cost cutter) you'll notice with a lot of mountain hardware gear that after columbia bought them about 7 years ago slowly the quality has deminished in their gear. expedition gear still holds high, but their mid and street gear is selling their logo only.. I worked for mountain hardware and watched as each season fell short of upgrades.. sad but true. thanks columbia for buying your competition and dumbing them down and stealing their technologies.. also chasing their true innovators, and quality long term employees off.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 6, 2013 - 12:29pm
eSod · Backpacker · Central Coast, CA
I own the 15D Primaloft hooded version (I think it's 2010). I am 5'-11", 180lbs. It has an athletic fit and is great as a layering jacket. Under my Gore-Tex shell is a great combo. The 15D fabric is thin and I'm always scared it's going to rip. The hooded version is a must. Also, Fleece-lined hand pockets are nice.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
goofing off at pine creek

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   Dec 7, 2011 - 04:09pm
jfailing · Climber · Lone Pine
I've had this jacket for the past two years - bought it at Wilson's in Bishop - and absolutely love the jacket.

I mostly use it as a non-active layer, whether it's hanging around camp at night or as a belay jacket, although I imagine it could be very useful in an alpine climbing situation. Also, the hood is key! The draw-cords cinch down nicely and really keeps you warm when that frigid winter wind whips up at night.

One of my only gripes with the jacket (which is applicable to many other down/synthetic jackets) is that the outer material is a bit too fragile. I understand that you sacrifice weight with a heavier duty material, but even just scrambling a few times through some J-tree caves put some small rips in the material. Rips aside, it still works very well!

I plan on using this as an insulating layer for some cold climbs in the mountains this winter, and I'm confident it will keep me plenty warm. Yes it was expensive in the beginning, but I consider it has well paid off.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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