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Mountain Hardwear Dragon Review

mountain hardwear dragon softshell jacket review
Mountain Hardwear Dragon
Credit: Mountain Hardwear
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Price:  $260 List
Pros:  Lightweight, great mobility, awkward hood.
Cons:  Poor hood closure.
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By Chris McNamara and Max Neale  ⋅  Mar 13, 2013
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Our Verdict

The MH Dragon is No Longer Available as of 2011
The Mountain Hardwear Dragon is an excellent softshell jacket that was discontinued in late 2011. Check out our comprehensive Softshell Jacket Review to compare the lastest and greatest softshells including the amazing Arc'teryx Venta MX Hoody which wins our Editors' Choice.
mountain hardwear dragon softshell jacket review - arcteryx venta mx hoody
Arcteryx Venta MX Hoody
Credit: Arcteryx

Refer to the original review below for info about the Dragon jacket.

Our Analysis and Test Results


The Mountain Hardwear Dragon is a lightweight, comfortable, and fully-featured ice and alpine climbing softshell. The Dragon is made exclusively from Gore Windstopper Soft Shell fabric. This is a three-layer laminate thats completely windproof, breathable, and water resistant. It performs very well in cold, windy, and dry environments, but poorly in most others. In this respect, the Dragon does what few others do it exemplifies the true definition of a softshell. No insulation adds to this claim and makes the jacket better for cold weather because you can layer accordingly.

Other features make the Dragon good for alpine pursuits. Pit zips ventilate, thumb loops keep the sleeves secure, adjustable cuffs close tightly over gloves, high hand pockets accommodate a hip belt, watertight zippers keep snow and ice out, and a free flowing main zipper makes getting in and out a breeze. The Dragon also has die cut patterned velcro cuffs (see photos) and our favorite zipper pull of any softshell reviewed here (theyre thin, light, and grippy).

mountain hardwear dragon softshell jacket review - soffshells can be the jacket of choice for active winter pursuits in...
Soffshells can be the jacket of choice for active winter pursuits in dry climates like the Sierra Nevada.
Credit: Max Neale


While the Dragon is great for ice and alpine climbing its not so good for other winter activities. The hood makes it bad for Nordic skiing and most alpine ski conditions require a more waterproof jacket. Snowshoeing and hiking are okay but not ideal. The Dragons specialty lies in the vertical realm. Other jackets are better for all-purpose activities.

The hood can be troublesome. Its very large and covers a helmet well, but without one its titanic and can obstruct your view of the world. We usually flip the brim back when were not wearing a helmet. Theres also only one draw cord (most softshells have three), which doesnt adequately tighten the neck area. The hood on this companys Kepler jacket is much better.

Another minor fault lies with the tiny zippered interior pocket. This can hold a key or ID, but not much else. Wed like to see a slightly larger pocket here.

Despite the poor hood closure and small interior pocket, the Dragon is our top choice for ice and alpine climbing.

Best Application

Ice and alpine climbing.


The Dragon is reasonably priced if you only need it for ice and alpine climbing.

Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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