Hands-on Gear Review

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro Review

An insulated wind breaker whose liner makes it too warm for summer use, but not really warm enough for cold weather.
Ghost Lite Pro
By: Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 20, 2016
Price:  $130 List  |  $71.99 at MooseJaw - 45% Off
Pros:  Good fit, among the best in wind protection, decent water resistance.
Cons:  Heavy and bulky, not very warm, but also too warm.
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
64
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Wind Resistance - 30% 9
  • Breathability and Venting - 30% 7
  • Weight and Packability - 20% 2
  • Fit and Functionality - 10% 6
  • Water Resistance - 10% 6
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  • 2
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Our Verdict

Mountain Hardwear Discontinued the Ghost Lite Pro in the Spring of 2018

The 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.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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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.

Performance Comparison


On a cool autumn day with the aspen leaves changing in Ironton Park above Ouray  Colorado  wearing the Ghost Lite Pro to protect from the chilly wind.
On a cool autumn day with the aspen leaves changing in Ironton Park above Ouray, Colorado, wearing the Ghost Lite Pro to protect from the chilly wind.

Wind Resistance


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.

The Ghost Lite Pro has an interesting look where you can look through the super thin face fabric to the see the orange mesh liner behind it. While we enjoyed its performance on the trail  we felt that this look was a bit too techy for wearing around town. You be the judge.
The Ghost Lite Pro has an interesting look where you can look through the super thin face fabric to the see the orange mesh liner behind it. While we enjoyed its performance on the trail, we felt that this look was a bit too techy for wearing around town. You be the judge.

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.

A closeup of the heavy mesh liner inside the Ghost Lite Pro.
A closeup of the heavy mesh liner inside the Ghost Lite Pro.

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.

The Ghost Lite Pro is a lined version of the Ghost Lite Jacket also reviewed here. The hood does not have the liner that the rest of the jacket does  and is made solely of dual layers of nylon.
The Ghost Lite Pro is a lined version of the Ghost Lite Jacket also reviewed here. The hood does not have the liner that the rest of the jacket does, and is made solely of dual layers of nylon.

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.

A nice feature of the Ghost Lite Pro is how it stows the hood inside the collar using a couple of Velcro tabs. It is relatively easy to fold up or take out while wearing the jacket compared to the other jackets with a stowaway feature  and keeps the hood from flapping away in the wind if it's not being worn.
A nice feature of the Ghost Lite Pro is how it stows the hood inside the collar using a couple of Velcro tabs. It is relatively easy to fold up or take out while wearing the jacket compared to the other jackets with a stowaway feature, and keeps the hood from flapping away in the wind if it's not being worn.

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 Ghost Lite Pro has an orange liner on the inside of its wind protective shell that makes it a lot warmer and more insulated than the Ghost Lite. It is a good option for shoulder seasons  but for us was a bit too warm to recreate in during the summer.
The Ghost Lite Pro has an orange liner on the inside of its wind protective shell that makes it a lot warmer and more insulated than the Ghost Lite. It is a good option for shoulder seasons, but for us was a bit too warm to recreate in during the summer.

Water Resistance


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.

The ten wind breakers in this review stuffed into their pockets'  from left to right: Sierra Designs Exhale Windhirt (green) does not fit into a pocket  Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody (orange)  Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro (light orange)  Patagonia Alpine Houdini (navy  discontinued)  Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket (glossy black)  Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie (neon green  discontinued) Patagonia Houdini (black)  Rab Windveil (white mesh)  Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody (brown)  Outdoor Research Tantrum (neon yellow).
The ten wind breakers in this review stuffed into their pockets', from left to right: Sierra Designs Exhale Windhirt (green) does not fit into a pocket, Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody (orange), Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro (light orange), Patagonia Alpine Houdini (navy, discontinued), Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket (glossy black), Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie (neon green, discontinued) Patagonia Houdini (black), Rab Windveil (white mesh), Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody (brown), Outdoor Research Tantrum (neon yellow).

Best Applications


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.

Despite having a little too much insulation for wearing in the warm sun  the Ghost Lite Pro was pretty effective at wicking away moisture that built up on this ride. Rainbow Trail  Silverton  Colorado.
Despite having a little too much insulation for wearing in the warm sun, the Ghost Lite Pro was pretty effective at wicking away moisture that built up on this ride. Rainbow Trail, Silverton, Colorado.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

Wind breakers are equally good for hiking in the summer as they are for climbing  skiing  running  or mountain biking. Here we are testing the Ghost Lite Pro at high altitudes on the Colorado Trail  San Juan Mountains.
Wind breakers are equally good for hiking in the summer as they are for climbing, skiing, running, or mountain biking. Here we are testing the Ghost Lite Pro at high altitudes on the Colorado Trail, San Juan Mountains.

Other Versions

  • 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

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Most recent review: October 20, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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