The best ski and snowboard leaning jacket in our test
Price: $350 ListPros: Heavily featured for ski resort use, warm for the cost. Cons: Synthetic insulation will break down; without securing the powder skirt the jacket is drafty. Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
The Mountain Hardwear Therminator is designed with a unique feature set, catering to skiers and snowboarders alike. The synthetic insulation keeps the price low while offering solid protecton in wet weather. There are warmer jackets, there are cheaper jackets, and there are jackets that better protect against the wet, but the Therminator balances these better than any other in our test.
There's a new version around town (pictured above). More details on the update are hashed out below.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Current Version of the Therminator vs. the Previous Version
The latest iteration of the this jacket gains an inch to its overall length while dropping 8oz from its weight. The sleeves are shorter which could account for the lower weight, and the materials used are unchanged. Check out the two models below, with the latest jacket on the left and its predecessor on the right.
Here's a summary of the updates:
Weight — This years model is lighter at 2 lb 4 oz. (The prior model was 2 lb 12 oz.)
Length — The Therminator acquires an inch in length.
Sleeve Length — The sleeves shrink an inch.
RECCO — The new model features RECCO® (a band-aid sized chip that reflects a signal to rescuers).
Colors — The current color choices are black, white, and grey.
The review below reflects hands-on testing and investigation of the original Therminator.
Hands-On Review of the Original Mountain Hardwear Therminator
The Mountain Hardwear Therminator is the third warmest jacket in our test and the one most purpose-built for ski and snowboard usage. Generally, we've chosen all-around products for this test. The Therminator fits this description, but it also brings some resort-specific functions.
The warmth of a jacket is a function of the type of insulation it contains, the amount of that insulation, and the draft-proofing construction of the entire product. Generally speaking, synthetic insulation is less effective per ounce of material than down insulation. The Therminator contains synthetic insulation, but it has the most of any synthetic filled piece in our test. A rough estimate indicates that it has twice as much "ThermicAero" insulation as the next closest synthetic Arc Teryx Fission SV. This, plus the jacket's so-called "powder skirt" to keep drafts out, makes it a reasonably warm piece. It is significantly warmer than another synthetic jacket we tested, the Helly Hansen Dubliner. As compared to the down jackets we reviewed, the Therminator is similar to our Best Buy winning Marmot Fordham and former Best Buy winner, The North Face Gotham III Parka.
The shell fabric of the Therminator is reasonably protective, but there are plentiful, external, non-sealed seams. For true wind and water resistance, look at something like the fully waterproof Editors' Choice Arc'teryx Camosun or the unique three-in-one design of the Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka. For light rain and occasional wet snow, the shell of the Therminator will suffice.
The smooth inner fabric, sewn-through insulation baffling, and light external material make for a flexible, well-draping design in the Therminator. The fit is loose and airy in a good way. For a closer, more body-hugging and warming fit, check out the Marmot. For even more warmth in a similarly loose fitting jacket, check out Top Pick Canada Goose Expedition Parka.
On our list of desirable features, the Mountain Hardwear Therminator checks nearly every box. With fleecy hand warmer pockets, a technical hood, Velcroed cuffs, seven total pockets, pit zips, an integrated powder skirt, and a two-way zipper, we couldn't ask for more features. The Therminator tops the chart in this category.
The style of the Therminator is decidedly snowboard and ski friendly. The Camosun is more appropriate for semi-formal settings while the Patagonia Isthmus is the most understated. The Therminator is youthful and casual.
The synthetic insulation in this jacket will break down with time. In our testing period, we experienced no noticeable decline in warmth, but our experience tells us that it will lose loft with time and usage. The shell fabric of the Therminator is on the lighter end of the products we tested. The Camosun has a beefier shell, as does the Dubliner. However, the Columbia Gold 650 Turbodown and the Rab Neutrino Endurance are all equipped with much flimsier shell fabrics.
This is a solidly built ski and snowboard jacket that is also suitable for day-to-day winter wear.
Of the jackets in our test that scored 8 or better in terms of warmth, including the Therminator, only one is less expensive than the Therminator. In this way, we can say it's a good deal.
If you ride ski resorts, this is the best jacket in our review.
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