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Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded Review

If you are looking for an extremely breathable softshell, this jacket is a great choice
Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded
Credit: Mammut
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $279 List | $279.00 at Backcountry
Pros:  Athletic fit, easy to regulate heat, stretchy
Cons:  Zipper can be finicky, slightly heavier
Manufacturer:   Mammut
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 18, 2022
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Weather Protection - 30% 8.0
  • Breathability - 30% 8.0
  • Mobility - 25% 8.0
  • Weight - 10% 7.0
  • Versatility - 5% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Mammut Ultimate VII SO is the most recent iteration of a long line of softshell jackets from this quality Swiss brand. While previous models have fallen a bit short on performance, the VII SO has really hit the nail on the head. We are impressed with its capable performance as a durable wind-stopping softshell that also boasts exceptional breathability. With such good performance across all of our testing metrics, it is easy to see why we heartily recommend this layer for mountain sports. It is a supremely versatile piece that offers backpackers, alpine climbers, mountaineers, and casual hikers all something to love.

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Pros Athletic fit, easy to regulate heat, stretchyDurable fabric, great fit, all-around usefulnessGreat mobility, highly breathable, well-fittedWaterproof, comfortable, stretchySuper breathable, durable, inexpensive
Cons Zipper can be finicky, slightly heavierLimited water resistance, fitted cuffsOnly one hood adjustment, average weightSmall hood, light on featuresPoor wet weather protection
Bottom Line If you are looking for an extremely breathable softshell, this jacket is a great choiceThis is a great medium weight softshell jacket that will hold up to rugged use thanks to its durable fabricThis stretchy and mobile jacket is great for climbing and skiing thanks to its above-average breathabilityThis waterproof softshell jacket is one of the few hybrid models that we have found to be highly breathableThis budget-friendly softshell is one of our favorites for summertime rock climbing
Rating Categories Mammut Ultimate VII... Arc'teryx Gamma LT... Marmot ROM 2.0 Rab Kinetic 2.0 Outdoor Research Fe...
Weather Protection (30%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
4.0
Breathability (30%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
10.0
Mobility (25%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
10.0
Weight (10%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Versatility (5%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
Specs Mammut Ultimate VII... Arc'teryx Gamma LT... Marmot ROM 2.0 Rab Kinetic 2.0 Outdoor Research Fe...
Measured Weight (size medium) 17.9 oz 17 oz 17.1 oz 11.6 oz 13.4 oz
Material 100% recycled polyester, Gore-Tex Infinium Wee Burly (56% nylon, 34% polyester, 10% elastane) 92% nylon, 8% elastane 100% recycled polyester 86% nylon (46% recycled), 14% spandex
Type Technical Active Technical Technical Active
Lined/Insulated? Mesh backing No No No Yes, lining 91% nylon, 9% spandex
Hood? Yes, helmet compatible and adjustable Yes, helmet compatible, adjustable StormHood Yes Yes, under helmet with rear hood adjustment Yes, climbing helmet compatible, adjustable, stowable
Number of Pockets (zippered unless otherwise noted) 1 chest zippered, 2 hand zippered 3 (2 handwarmer, 1 internal) 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered 2 zippered hand 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest
Adjustable Cuffs? Stretch cuffs Stretch cuffs Yes, Velcro Yes, velcro Elastic cuffs
Available Sizes S - 3XL XS - XXL S - XXL S - XXL S - XXXL

Our Analysis and Test Results

We tested the Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded jacket during an epic six-day climb up Yosemite's El Capitan. Choosing our clothing wisely, we needed to be prepared for anything. During the week on the wall, we had heat waves, cool and gusty winds, and rain showers. The VII SO jacket stood up to everything that was thrown at it, regulating temperature and blocking the weather with ease. While we had our issues with the previous version of this jacket, Mammut has fixed them all and improved this model in new ways, making it one of our favorite jackets in our current lineup.

Performance Comparison


Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded softshell jacket - high on the cliff, we put a lot of trust in the ultimate vii so...
High on the cliff, we put a lot of trust in the Ultimate VII SO jacket, and it did not let us down.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Weather Protection


Using a well-known Gore-Tex Windstopper Infinium fabric as its outer, the Ultimate VII SO does exactly what it is designed to do: keep icy winds at bay. It kept us warm in windy conditions without overheating. A 3D woven polyester backing fabric keeps the outer material from feeling clammy against the skin and provides a small amount of extra warmth when the jacket is fully sealed up. To provide additional protection from the wind, a storm flap behind the front zipper keeps your front from feeling the cold winds blow through the zipper, a feature that many other jackets forgo or forget.


The Ultimate VII SO is a softshell jacket, so we don't expect it to be fully waterproof. However, it did a good job at keeping us dry during brief rain showers, even if the outer fabric wetted out a bit more visibly than other jackets which feature a heavier dose of the DWR treatment that allows water to easily bead off.

Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded softshell jacket - the fabric of the ultimate vii so did wet out a little sooner than...
The fabric of the Ultimate VII SO did wet out a little sooner than others, but we never got wet inside.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

The hood is helmet-compatible and uses two side adjustments to dial in the fit, and the wrists use a stretchy cuff that locks well around an ungloved wrist, though when wearing thicker gloves, you'll have to wear them over the cuff, gauntlet-style.

Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded softshell jacket - with stormy skies on the horizon, we were kept well protected...
With stormy skies on the horizon, we were kept well protected wearing the Ultimate VII SO.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Breathability


Softshell jackets are all pretty breathable, right?! Well, unless you are looking at one of the featherweight models that weigh a half-pound and are made out of Kleenex, it is hard to imagine a more breathable softshell that is also extremely durable and weather resistant than the Ultimate VII SO. The 100% polyester, Gore-Tex outer is thick enough to block wind and weather but allows perspiration to easily pass through, and the woven interior liner wicks moisture away from the skin and base layers.


One of the biggest features the Ultimate VII SO brings to the table is its armpit vents, which allow you to quickly and easily dump heat when the workload gets tough. Unlike many other pit zips, these are unlined, opening fully and allowing for lots of airflow when things get hot and sweaty. For its weight, we found this jacket to be one of the most breathable layers we tested. Others are certainly as good or better, but those suffer from durability issues or diminished weather protection. This is the breathable softshell jacket we want to wear when we are going rock climbing in cold conditions, ice climbing, hiking during the off-season, or going backcountry skiing.

Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded softshell jacket - large pit zip openings were one of the features that really set this...
Large pit zip openings were one of the features that really set this jacket apart.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Mobility


The fit of the Ultimate VII SO is described as "regular," but we consider it to be a much more trim-fitting, athletic fit. Worn as an outer layer over a thin base garment like a t-shirt or a sun hoody, the fit is snug but still allows for full mobility. If you wear something thicker underneath, such as an R1 or similar fleece top, expect to feel a bit constricted. Bottom line: stay with your normal jacket size unless you like to wear a lot of base layers, in which case sizing up is a good idea.


The hem of this jacket stayed put underneath our harness when reaching up high overhead, and the stretchy cuffs remained secure around our wrists when not wearing gloves. If you get the sizing right on the Ultimate VII SO, you'll find it to be as mobile as you need it to be.

Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded softshell jacket - the cuffs of the ultimate vii so stretch around thin gloves, but...
The cuffs of the Ultimate VII SO stretch around thin gloves, but much bigger and you'll have to wear them on the outside.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Weight


Weighing in at 17.9 ounces for a size medium, the Ultimate VII SO is in the middle of the pack when it comes to weight alone. The average weight for softshell jackets has shifted over the past couple of years with the addition of so many thin and lightweight models. We have no problem calling the VII SO a little bit chubby when compared to these ounce-shaving jackets, but it sure doesn't feel heavy when looked at on its own, and we honestly thought that it would weigh less when we put it on the scale.


The outer fabric is thin and pliable, not stiff or bulky, and it packs down into the size of a one-liter Nalgene bottle, so it is surely packable enough for those who want to take it off and stuff it inside a pack. Sure, it's a bit on the heavier side looking at its competition, but we have no problem with a bit of additional durability and performance for the slight weight penalty.

Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded softshell jacket - the mammut ultimate vii so on the scales
The Mammut Ultimate VII SO on the scales
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Versatility


The trim-fitting Ultimate VII SO comes in various colors, ranging from bright outdoorsy hues to more subtle colors that are better suited to casual events. It is versatile enough to be used on everything from an adventurous expedition to a mellow walk around the local trail system, although the trimmer fit doesn't allow this jacket to be used as an overcoat as much as other models might.


One of the only gripes we had with the Ultimate was its zipper — it is a quality YKK zipper, but at times was hard to get started. A drop of zipper lube helped out, but it still got caught on the storm flap at times. Not a major demerit but just something to note as a potential maintenance concern.

Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded softshell jacket - the ultimate vii so is a great all-around softshell jacket, but we...
The Ultimate VII SO is a great all-around softshell jacket, but we found it to really shine in challenging conditions that demand mobility and breathability.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Value


This softshell provides great value. It's pricey, but we have no problem recommending it to someone looking for a fully-functional jacket at a fair price.

Conclusion


The Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded is one solid piece of outdoor apparel. We think it is one of the top choices for someone looking for a quality softshell jacket that does a great job at blocking wind and light precipitation but also can breathe well and dump heat easily. This is an all-season softshell, which can be used for pretty much any athletic pursuit that you have in mind. While other layers offer niche performance and cater to specific user groups, this jacket offers a lot to a wide range of mountain sports enthusiasts.

Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded softshell jacket - the mammut ultimate vii so softshell jacket lets you relax and know...
The Mammut Ultimate VII SO softshell jacket lets you relax and know that whatever the weather throws at you, you'll be covered.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Ryan Huetter
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