Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded Review
Cons: Zipper can be finicky, slightly heavier
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Mammut Ultimate VII SO Hooded
$279.00 at Backcountry
$249.00 at Amazon
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|$229.95 at Amazon|
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|$128.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Athletic fit, easy to regulate heat, stretchy||Durable fabric, great fit, all-around usefulness||Great mobility, highly breathable, well-fitted||Waterproof, comfortable, stretchy||Super breathable, durable, inexpensive|
|Cons||Zipper can be finicky, slightly heavier||Limited water resistance, fitted cuffs||Only one hood adjustment, average weight||Small hood, light on features||Poor wet weather protection|
|Bottom Line||If you are looking for an extremely breathable softshell, this jacket is a great choice||This is a great medium weight softshell jacket that will hold up to rugged use thanks to its durable fabric||This stretchy and mobile jacket is great for climbing and skiing thanks to its above-average breathability||This waterproof softshell jacket is one of the few hybrid models that we have found to be highly breathable||This 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%)|
|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|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Ryan Huetter
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