Hands-on Gear Review

Mountain Hardwear Micro Thermostatic Review

Price:  $175 List
Pros:  Light, stuffs into pocket
Cons:  Not warm, boxy cut and sizing, expensive for the warmth
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
Weight (size large):  10.4 oz
Insulation:  40 g/m2 Thermal.Q Elite
Outer Fabric:  20D nylon ripstop
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear

Our Verdict

The Mountain Hardwear Micro Thermostatic is one of the two lightest insulated jackets we tested in 2015, with a light 40 g/m2 synthetic insulation. Without a hood or a chest pocket, this thin model works well as a mid-layer under a shell. We found it has good mobility and layers well due to the slippery liner fabric. The Thermostatic Micro includes a couple of small features that add an ounce or so but increase utility. The hand pockets have zippers to close them up and the hem includes an elastic cinch cord to seal in warmth.

For a warmer and more featured hoodless jacket at the same price point, we recommend The North Face ThermoBall Jacket, our favorite model for use a a mid-layer in very cold weather.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Synthetic Insulated Jackets For Men

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Brandon Lampley

Last Updated:
Tuesday
November 17, 2015

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The Mountain Hardwear Micro Thermostatic failed to earn high scores in our evaluation metrics, with the exception of measured weight. Here it stands out since it is only half an ounce heavier than the lightest model we tested.

Performance Comparison


When the wind starts to blow  you'll want to layer a shell jacket over top of the Micro Thermostatic. It is one of the two lightest and least warm pieces we tested  and best used as a mid-layer in cold weather.
When the wind starts to blow, you'll want to layer a shell jacket over top of the Micro Thermostatic. It is one of the two lightest and least warm pieces we tested, and best used as a mid-layer in cold weather.

Warmth


The Micro Thermostatic jacket is insulated with 40 g/m2 of Thermal Q Elite, a proprietary insulation from Mountain Hardwear. With 20 g/m2 less insulation that most of its competitors, this jacket uses the least amount of insulation of all the jackets in this review. In our tests and observations, we found this jacket noticeably less lofty, and therefore less warm, than jackets like the Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody and Rab Xenon X Hoodie, both insulated with 60 g/m2 of PrimaLoft Gold. We found the Thermostatic most similar in warmth to the much more affordable competition. Other jackets are as warm as this jacket, but don't have a cinch cord to snug up the hem to seal in warmth.

Weight & Compressibility


Our size large test jacket weighed in at 10.4 ounces, the second lightest we tested. Zippered hand pockets are the only "heavy" feature on this otherwise minimalist jacket. This model stuffs away small into the right hand pocket, and like the Super Compressor, has a clip-in loop sewn to the zipper pull.

This jacket stows away in one of the hand pockets  a great feature for backpackers and hikers. It can compress a good bit smaller than the stuffed package.
This jacket stows away in one of the hand pockets, a great feature for backpackers and hikers. It can compress a good bit smaller than the stuffed package.

Comfort


While this minimalist jacket doesn't include any fancy comfort features, the mobility is good and it feels light and loose. The slick hanging liner makes layering over a fleece or base layer smooth and it aids in mobility. Zippers for the hand pockets may add a tiny bit of weight but they are much appreciated. The simple elastic cuffs fit with just a little room to spare and the cord lock for snugging up the hem is on your right hip.

Barebones  minimalist design is what keeps this model nice and light. Zippers for the hand pockets is the single 'heavy' feature.
Barebones, minimalist design is what keeps this model nice and light. Zippers for the hand pockets is the single 'heavy' feature.

Weather Resistance


Similar in construction to the Nano Puff Hoody, the Thermostatic has lots of quilted stitching to secure the insulation to the outer shell. And while the wind can blow through the shell due to all these tiny holes, a hanging continuous liner on the interior serves to block drafts. This construction style layers and moves well, but the quilting results in less wind resistance than jackets with a more continuous shell. Finally, while the DWR worked well, this jacket will quickly begin to soak up water through its stitching if you get rained on.

This jacket has the most quilted stitching through the shell fabric of any we tested  meaning it will quickly begin to soak up some water in a light rain.
This jacket has the most quilted stitching through the shell fabric of any we tested, meaning it will quickly begin to soak up some water in a light rain.

Breathability


This is not a jacket designed for breathabilty, and we found that during heavy exertion in the cold we'd get damp inside. We found the similar UL Thermawrap more comfortable when pushing hard and generating some sweat.

Modern contenders like the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody and Outdoor Research Uberlayer use advanced insulation and breathable liner fabrics that are designed to wick away sweat for high energy activity.

Style


The Thermostatic has a lot of quilted stitching in the exterior shell - continuous rows of horizontal rectangles. With about ten colors available, you can choose bright or low key. The size large that we tested was enormous, a trait shared with the other Mountain Hardwear model we tested, the Mountain Hardwear Super Compressor. This jacket runs large, so you'll want at least one size smaller than you normally wear.


Best Applications


This is one of the lightest jackets we tested and we think it can make a good dedicated mid-layer for cold weather. Stuffing away in a hand pocket is a nice feature for backpackers or climbers that need to conserve space.

Value


The Thermostatic retails for $175 and we think you find better bang for your buck elsewhere. If you're willing to step up to $200, The North Face ThermoBall is a warmer hoodless mid-layer and the Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket is a warmer and more versatile jacket.

Conclusion


The Micro Thermostatic from Mountain Hardwear is a very light insulating mid-layer with the benefits of zippered hand pockets.

Out for a lap around Turquoise Lake in Leadville  CO. This jacket makes a nice  light mid-layer.
Out for a lap around Turquoise Lake in Leadville, CO. This jacket makes a nice, light mid-layer.
Brandon Lampley

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Most recent review: November 17, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
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5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
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