Mountain Hardwear discontinued the Ghost Lite Pro in the Spring of 2018The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro is an insulated wind breaker. It features the same super thin wind resistant and water resistant shell fabric as the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket, but also includes a mesh liner inside for added wind resistance, greater wicking ability, and increased warmth. We certainly felt that the liner contributed to make it one of the more wind resistant jackets in the test. But we also felt like the liner added bulk without adding much in the way of warmth. It was not as warm as the Ether DriClime Hoody, but at the same time was too heavy and bulky for us to consider using it during warmer weather. While there are some good things to like about this wind breaker, it seems to fall into the nebulous realm of decent jackets, but not better than the competition.
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro Review
Cons: Heavy and bulky, not very warm, but also too warm.
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
Our Analysis and Test Results
Among the jackets tested for this review, the Ghost Lite Pro is most similar to the Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody, but unfortunately fails to stack up to the quality of that jacket. While both featured interior liners meant to help with wind resistance, provide warmth, and aid in wicking and breathability, the materials used in the Ghost Lite Pro were obviously less effective at doing all of those things. While the mesh wicking liner is comfortable to the touch and against the skin, it was also bulkier and simply didn't get the job done as well as the competition.
That said, we certainly enjoyed wearing the Ghost Lite Pro more than the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket, as the interior liner seemed to correct many of the fit issues that the lighter weight jacket had for us. The Ghost Lite Pro was the second best in the review when it came to cutting the effect of the wind, while also retaining pretty decent breathability and venting, so there are some things to like. However, the ill-conceived hood, elastic wrist enclosures, and large and bulky pack size meant that there was also plenty that needs to be reconsidered for the next version.
The 15D nylon ripstop face fabric is the same type of shell material as the entire Ghost Lite Jacket is constructed of, and we found it to be fairly air impermeable while still offering decent breathability. This shell combined with the wicking liner meant that this jacket was better than most when it came to taking the edge off the wind, and so we awarded it 9 out of 10 possible points. However, we also found the liner to be a bit bulky. Its pattern consists of tons of little perforations that we speculate lowered its ability to protect from the wind and trap warmth. While it did a good job, it wasn't as good as the Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody.
Breathability and Venting
As it is made of the same shell material, this jacket breathes roughly the same as the Ghost Lite Jacket, which is merely okay. While the mesh liner did a decent job of absorbing sweat and wicking it away from our body, we aren't sure it contributed much to actually transferring that moisture outside of the shell. Like what we found with the other lined and insulated jacket in the review, it was simply too warm to wear during summer and other warm days. The idea with a wind breaker is to take the edge off the wind and help maintain a perfect body temperature, not unnecessarily heat a person up. What we did like about this jacket was that its two hand pockets and chest pocket all had mesh lining, aiding in the ability to vent. In our opinion, allowing a jacket to vent out heat is far more comfortable than needing to heat up to the point of heat and water transfer taking place — breathing. Anyway, the end result was seven out of 10 points when compared to the competition.
Fit and Functionality
The fit of this jacket is slightly baggy, although with the liner it isn't really designed to be layered underneath. The liner is meant to be the layer, so we wish it was slightly sleeker. Surprisingly, it was certainly not as baggy as the super lightweight, single layer Ghost Lite Jacket.
We liked some of the features of this jacket quite a bit, like the stow-able hood. The hood itself is constructed of a single piece of nylon, is not adjustable and is simply not tight enough to stay on the head or keep severe weather out; it basically feels like an afterthought. That said, it is luckily stow-able into the collar of the jacket by rolling it up and fastening it in multiple places with Velcro. It is possible to deploy or stow the hood while wearing the jacket, something that isn't possible with the Patagonia Alpine Houdini or the Ghost Lite Jacket.
We like the hem draw cord buckle which is really easy to release by simply squeezing the buckle inside the fabric, and we like that this jacket had comfortable mesh-lined hand pockets. We thought the elastic around the wrist cuffs, and especially the hood, was not tight enough. Annoyingly, every time we put the jacket on the liner would bunch up and come out the wrists, requiring constant adjustment. The end result was that we awarded six out of 10 points.
The water resistance capabilities of this jacket are a bit of a conundrum. With the same shell fabric as the Ghost Lite Jacket, it performed similarly. In the shower, we found that water simultaneously beaded up and bounced right off the jacket, while also very quickly absorbed water into the fabric and passed through to the inside. Whereas this was noticeable very quickly in the Ghost Lite Jacket, with the Pro the liner kept us dry on the inside throughout our "light rain" test. We aren't convinced that would last long in the field, though. Six out of 10.
Weight and Packability
Mountain Hardwear says that this jacket is amazingly light at only 9.5 ounces, but we found it to be the heaviest jacket in this test of extremely light jackets. While that isn't very much, just over half a pound, this is a comparative test, so we awarded the lowest score. Unfortunately, when accounting for packability, we had to deduct another point. The jacket stows into one of its hand pockets, and the net effect is that it is rather bulky. That leaves the fragile mesh lining exposed on the outside to wear and abrasion. While it does have a clip-in loop, we wouldn't want this thing hanging on the outside of our harness or pack.
Like the Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody, this jacket is best suited for aerobic and athletic activities during colder times of day and seasons when the air is colder in general. The mesh liner traps too much heat to be comfortable wearing this during warmer weather, but is also not warm enough to keep you warm in cold weather unless you are really moving your muscles. We think it is a decent option for running, biking, hiking, camping, and general hanging out, as long as you nail its temperature sweet spot.
This jacket retails for $130, which seems fair considering how much material you are buying compared to some of the much lighter, and slightly cheaper, jackets in this review. That said, it is still $5 more than a product that is very similar in design and intention, but scores much higher than it. This jacket is too limited to warrant spending that money on, especially when there are better options available.
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro is more enjoyable to wear than its lightweight cousin, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket, but is not a finely tuned product like the high scoring Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody. While we think its an interesting concept, we feel like it might take a change in material selection and hood design for this jacket to compete against the performance of some very good jackets available on the market today.
- Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket - $100 — extremely minimal and lightweight version of the same jacket, without liner, also reviewed.
- Women's Ghost Lite Pro Jacket - $130 — women's version, with different colors
— Andy Wellman