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Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody - Women's Review

This featherweight and highly packable jacket is a great choice for gram counters and winter adventurers
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Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody - Women's Review (The Mountain Hardwear Ghost makes us grin with how light, packable and useful it is.)
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost makes us grin with how light, packable and useful it is.
Credit: Kaylee Walden
Price:  $360 List
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Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By Kaylee Walden ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 21, 2024
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 17
  • Warmth - 30% 6.0
  • Comfort - 30% 7.5
  • Portability - 15% 9.5
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 7.0
  • Breathability - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 performs true to its name as a phenomenally lightweight and warm-for-its-weight jacket. It's still soft to the touch, easy to layer, and has good breathability to keep you moving. Its elastic-rimmed hood is more adaptable than we anticipated, and an overhanging cuff baffle adds some additional hand warmth. As a standalone jacket, the Ghost is not the warmest coat in our fleet; it's just too thin to provide an exceptional amount of warmth. But if you're looking for an ultralight down jacket that can be easily incorporated into a cold-weather layering system, this is the one. See it rated versus top competitors in our review of the best women's down jacket.
REASONS TO BUY
Incredibly lightweight
Breathable
Comfortable
Great for high output activities
REASONS TO AVOID
Relatively fragile exterior
Not many adjustment points
Not very warm when you're not moving
Editor's Note: We updated this article for the Ghost Whisperer 2 on February 21, 2024, with new comparisons and updated findings.

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Bottom Line Living up to its name, this ultralight down jacket makes a great layer for any adaptable cold-weather setupA very warm coat with an exceptionally mobile fit, top-notch adjustability, and an absolute pillow of coziness to wearA high-end jacket without the high-end price tag, this down jacket can take you from the trails to downtown in a pinchA solid and reasonably warm puffy that's more affordable but does come with some flawsSimple and straightforward, this low-loft down jacket packs away small and costs less than most
Rating Categories Mountain Hardwear G... Rab Neutrino Pro -... Marmot Highlander H... REI Co-op 650 - Wom... Wantdo Packable Hoody
Warmth (30%)
6.0
9.5
7.0
5.5
5.0
Comfort (30%)
7.5
10.0
8.5
7.0
5.5
Portability (15%)
9.5
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.0
Weather Resistance (15%)
7.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
6.5
Breathability (10%)
9.0
5.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Specs Mountain Hardwear G... Rab Neutrino Pro -... Marmot Highlander H... REI Co-op 650 - Wom... Wantdo Packable Hoody
Down Fill 800-fill down 800-fill European goose down, hydrophobic Nikwax 700-fill down treated with 'Down Defender' 650-fill down 90% duck down
Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified? Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Outer Fabric 10D recycled ripstop nylon 20D recycled Pertex Quantum Pro, ripstop 100% Recycled nylon and ripstop Recycled nylon, DWR finish 20D Nylon Taffetta
Weight (Size Small) 6.9 oz 18.5 oz 13.0 oz 9.9 oz 8.8 oz
Hem Type Drop hem (small) Drop hem (large) Straight hem; hip length Drop hem (small); hip length Straight hem; hip length
Fit Slim Standard Standard Standard Standard
Pockets 2; 2 zippered hand pockets 3; 2 zippered hand, 1 internal zippered chest 3; 2 zippered hand pockets, 1 exterior zippered chest pocket 4; 2 zippered hand, 2 internal slip 4; 2 zippered hand, 2 interior stash pockets with media pass-through
Hood Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Cuff Construction Elastic Elastic and velcro Elastic Elastic Elastic
Adjustment Points Single hem bungee Dual hem bungees, dual hood bungees, velcro back-of-hood, velcro cuffs Single hem bungee Dual hem bungees None
Stow Option Packs into a pocket with an integrated carabiner loop Packs into an included drawstring stuff sack Packs into a pocket with an integrated carabiner loop No stow option Packs into an included drawstring stuff sack
Features The lightest option of the lineup, with high quality down and fill power. First two wrist baffles are synthetic fill to avoid wetting out when ice climbing, digging pits, shoveling snow, etc. Helmet-compatible hood, 2-way zipper, wire-stiffened projected hood brim, twisted sleeve baffles for greater mobility, felt chin guard, large velcro loop at nape of neck N/A N/A N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 is a truly ultralight down jacket with 800 fill RDS (Responsible Down Standard) certified goose down in a 90/10 down/feather ratio. Its exterior is 10D x 10D 100% recycled ripstop nylon with a DWR finish. It's a standard fit jacket of average length with a small drop hem. It weighs a scant 6.9 ounces and packs into its own pocket.

Performance Comparison


mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 hoody for women - the mountain hardwear ghost whisperer is so light, we wouldn't...
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer is so light, we wouldn't hesitate to take it on a long fall bike ride, and it easily fits in a small pack.
Credit: Kaylee Walden


Warmth


The Ghost Whisperer 2 has some stiff competition in this metric, and as a thin, lightweight contender, it simply can't match the warmth of most other models. Insulated with 800-fill goose down, this jacket is only 90% down-filled (the other 10% are feathers, which don't hold as much loft or warmth). It's also one of the thinnest jackets in our lineup, with very narrow baffles (read: more seams), both of which contribute to its less impressive warmth. It's not without merit here, though, and we enjoy wearing it as a standalone layer on milder sunny winter days or colder days during moderate exercise. That being said, we haven't yet encountered a better option for highly packable warmth for high output activities like running and skate skiing.


The Ghost offers reasonable adjustability as well. A single hem bungee helps to close the bottom of the jacket — though it's one of the thinnest, flimsiest hem bungee cords of any we've tested. The cuffs are lined with elastic inside, and though it's not particularly tight against the wrist, it does help over a pair of gloves. The hood has an elastic rim and is decently adaptable. We were able to wear it over a thicker beanie with a pom, though it was a bit tighter than we preferred. It also comfortably accommodates a helmet, as many climbers will appreciate.

Perfect for cold weather running, the Ghost Whisperer is a lightweight down jacket that won't overheat during moderate activity.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Comfort


The Ghost Whisperer has a good fit that doesn't restrict mobility and slightly above-average comfort. It's a touch on the plasticky-feeling side of things, but not so much that we don't want to wear it over bare arms for summer alpine missions. It has an average length and fit, and it's easy to toss on over warm base layers on a cold day. Similarly, it's great to layer under a shell if the temperature or conditions dictate added protection. The fit feels flattering without restricting movement and feels more like a hoody than the technical jacket it is.


Despite being an ultralight jacket intended for backcountry pursuits where counting ounces matters, the Ghost 2 lacks any extra mobility features like raglan arms or twisting sleeve baffles. When we put our arms out in front of us or straight overhead, it easily leaves our bums and wrists exposed to the cold air. If you're a big fan of the well-placed chest pocket, the Ghost also leaves that behind in favor of saving a little extra weight by eliminating another zipper. It has just two zippered hand pockets for basic use.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 hoody for women - the ghost whisperer doesn't have any mobility-enhancing features but...
The Ghost Whisperer doesn't have any mobility-enhancing features but is still enjoyable and comfortable to wear.
Credit: Maggie Nichols


Portability


Here is the shining glory of the Ghost Whisperer. The size small we tested weighs just 6.9 ounces, which is incredibly light for a down jacket--nearly half the weight of most jackets in this lineup. It feels like wearing a vest of air, keeping you light and nimble on whatever mission you undertake.


For most mountain backpacking trips or fall climbing trips, the warmth provided by this ultralight jacket is adequate and can be worth saving yourself the additional weight of a warmer option. But if you need a truly warm lightweight jacket, the Ghost Whisperer doesn't quite provide the most impressive warmth-to-weight ratio in our lineup.


The Ghost 2 packs pretty easily into its own pocket. It becomes a narrow, compact package with a fabric carabiner loop on one end of the zipper for you to clip it to your backpack or harness. It packs down amazingly small, ending in an oblong bundle that's about the same size as a 16 ounce can. We're impressed by how compressible it truly is — an absolute joy for anyone keeping track of how much their backcountry kit weighs.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 hoody for women - the mountain hardwear ghost whisperer packs uber tiny, and easily...
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer packs uber tiny, and easily clips onto a harness.
Credit: Kaylee Walden


Weather Resistance


Though the 10D x 10D recycled ripstop nylon exterior of the Ghost Whisperer 2 is one of the thinnest of any jacket we tested, it's still treated with a DWR finish. During our testing, this effectively beaded light precipitation and stopped it from soaking into the seams. It stood up to hours of snowfall while ice climbing without wetting out, and we also appreciate the strategic synthetic insulation in the first two wrist baffles and hood. We're not totally convinced how well this ultrathin material will withstand years of packing, carrying, unpacking, and wearing, but it did just fine during our testing.


The adjustability of the Ghost 2 hem helps to block wind from entering the jacket. The elastic-rimmed hood does a pretty good job of keeping our heads reasonably warm without having to adjust it while we're on the go. However, the cuffs are a bit loose, easily letting breezes up our sleeves, and the thin insulation in narrow baffles with sewn-through construction just isn't built to withstand serious cold.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 hoody for women - the mountain hardwear ghost whisperer does pretty well at repelling...
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer does pretty well at repelling water, dries quickly, and has strategic synthetic insulation.
Credit: Kaylee Walden


Breathability


As a thinner jacket, the Ghost 2 offers better breathability than most. Despite having no additional features to aid in breathability, it's one of the few jackets we can happily keep wearing while doing some strenuous winter adventuring. It's thinner than most and easy to expel excess heat by unzipping partway. We found that we could comfortably keep it on while winter trail running, which is a rare find in down jackets.


Interestingly, because the Ghost Whisperer is so thin, we can also functionally push the elastic-lined cuffs partway up our forearms to offer a little venting relief, though we couldn't always get them to stay up through all our exertions.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 hoody for women - as one of the thinnest jackets we tested, the ghost is also more...
As one of the thinnest jackets we tested, the Ghost is also more breathable.
Credit: Maggie Nichols


Should You Buy the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2?


The Ghost Whisperer is our top choice when it comes to ultralight missions where every ounce counts. It's easy to layer when the weather gets colder but is still a decent standalone option for mild climates or light and fast activities. If you need something more substantial where you live, having to constantly layer up the Ghost will probably get old, quickly. But if you need the lightest option that still provides the warmth of down, or a warm jacket for winter cardio, the Ghost Whisperer 2 is the one we'd recommend.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 hoody for women - an elastic rimmed hood cuts down the need to fuss with toggles to...
An elastic rimmed hood cuts down the need to fuss with toggles to keep your head warm.
Credit: Maggie Nichols


What Other Down Jackets Should You Consider?


The Ghost 2 is a great addition to a versatile cold weather layering kit. If you like to layer but want a little more warmth, consider the Arc'teryx Cerium, which weighs just a few ounces more but is far warmer. If you're just searching for a mild to moderate weather layer that does well across the board and won't break the bank, the Rab Microlight Alpine is an affordable option we greatly enjoy wearing.

mountain hardwear ghost whisperer/2 hoody for women - the mountain hardwear ghost whisperer is our top pick for high...
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer is our top pick for high output activities in the cold, and for taking along on big adventures.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Kaylee Walden