Trim fitting and featuring Gore Windstopper, the Ultimate is a reasonable choice for cold fall day hikes.
The Ultimate Hoody uses a 3-layer Gore Windstopper membrane that is known across the industry for providing excellent wind protection while still remaining breathable. Treated on the exterior with a DWR coating to help shed water and keep it from soaking through, it withstood 20 seconds in the shower test before wetting-out, making it adequate for short periods of wet weather but not nearly as effective as the Gamma MX or the Patagonia Galvanized.
While the wind resistant fabric is good for breezy conditions, we would rather look at the water than be pelted by it while wearing this jacket.
The hood can seal around a small climbing helmet, but with only two adjustment cords is not as customizable as those with a third on the back of the hood. We found the short length and lack of a hem adjustment cord to allow the back of the jacket to ride up and create an exposure along our waistline.
The heavier, layered Gore material used for the shell breathes reasonably well, though it did not perform as well as the Marmot ROM or the Arcteryx Tenquille. Two large underarm zippers allow for extra ventilation, which we found to be awkward to use - read more in features.
During high output activities, the Ultimate breathes ok, but the Windstopper does not breathe as well as many other jackets.
Mobility & Fit
The stretch woven Gore Windstopper fabric is highly mobile and allows for good freedom of movement, especially when only worn on top of a thin base layer or a t-shirt. The elastic cuffs stay in place when reaching overhead, making it friendly for climbers, although the zipper along the side does not feel very good under a harness.
This jacket is stretchy, but when paired with a midweight base layer we felt like the fit was too tight.
The fit is athletic, in this case meaning tight. We could not fit a mid-weight layer or an insulated jacket underneath without feeling very constricted.
Weight & Packed Size
Weighing in at exactly 1 pound, the Ultimate V SO Hoody is reasonably lightweight, and for being a Windstopper jacket which tends to be heavy and bulky, packs down to a nice compact size. Stuffing this into the bottom of a pack for later on when the wind picks up on your hike would certainly not weigh you down or take up too much room.
The Ultimate features a hood, though it only barely fits over a standard sized climbing helmet, and is adjustable on the sides with two cords. There are no cuff closures, but the elastic fitted cuffs provide a secure fit around a wrist, though it is quite difficult to fit a glove under the cuff. The thumb loops are tight-fitting and usable, but are only spandex type material and are not as robust as those found on the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody
What we were the most perplexed by were the full-length side zips. Underarm zips for ventilation, great! But two-way zippers that run all the way to the hem are unnecessary, and when wearing a pack led to fabric bunching up and pinching under straps, and the two-way zipper would sometimes start creeping up. All in all, this feature was poorly executed.
The bottom zipper on the two-way underarm opening is unnecessary, and its use created some comfort issues when carrying a pack.
The fit of the Mammut Ultimate is definitely athletic, on the verge of tight. Wearing much more than a thin base layer underneath would not allow for much mobility. Strongly consider one size up from your typical size.
This jacket is best suited to those who desire extra wind protection, want massive zip zips to dump heat while they are sprinting uphill in the cross country ski track or cycling in the cold, and who want a tight fitting external layer that is stretchy and mobile.
With a retail price of $279, this is an expensive softshell jacket, but it does not come with the value that similarly priced high-end jackets include. Better performing jackets can be found for $100 less elsewhere in this review.
The main selling point of the Mammut Ultimate V SO Hoody is its wind protection, thanks to its wind resistant shell. Overall, we were less impressed with this jacket than with others that offered better wind protection and did not suffer from some of the inadequately designed features that this model does.