Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Hoody 2 - Women's Review
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|Pros||Incredibly light, very compactable, easy to layer over and under, good breathability, good hood adaptability||Very warm, poofy and light, comfortable fit, mobility features, excellent adjustability||Very warm, super lightweight, highly compressible, versatile, great coverage, cozy and fluffy, high quality down, good wind resistance||Durable, weather resistant, athletic cut, good movement, versatile||Uncomplicated and effective design, thickly filled and puffy, layers well over thick fleece|
|Cons||Fragile fabric, not that warm, lacks mobility features, wind goes through easily||May be too warm for mild climates, hood volume adjustment is velcro rather than toggle||Harder to layer under a shell, lacks specific-use features, can see down through light colors||Narrower baffles compress down, slightly lower quality (recycled) 700 fill down||No hood option, hip length lacks coverage, lower quality down, loses feathers readily, when packed has no carabiner loop|
|Bottom Line||Living up to its name, this ultralight down jacket makes a great layer for any adaptable cold-weather setup||An impressively warm jacket that offers a highly mobile fit, great adjustability, and cloud-like comfort||A very soft, poofy jacket that's filled with high-quality ultra-warm down and offers great everyday warmth in even the coldest climates||A durable, versatile, and very comfortable jacket that can handle many activities, from mountain to town||A pretty decent puffy jacket on a budget, though not without its flaws|
|Rating Categories||Mountain Hardwear G...||Rab Neutrino Pro -...||Feathered Friends Eos||Rab Microlight Alpine||REI Co-op 650 2.0|
|Weather Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Mountain Hardwear G...||Rab Neutrino Pro -...||Feathered Friends Eos||Rab Microlight Alpine||REI Co-op 650 2.0|
|Down Fill||800 fill goose down, 90/10; Responsible Down Standard certified||800FP European Goose Down, hydrophobic Nikwax||900+ fill down||Recycled 700 fill power down||650 fill goose down; Responsible Down Standard certified|
|Outer Fabric||10D x 10D recycled ripstop nylon, DWR coating; 100% recycled||20D recycled Pertex Quantum Pro, ripstop||Pertex Quantum brushed ripstop nylon with DWR||Recycled 30D nylon Pertex Quantum ripstop, DWR finish||Recycled nylon taffeta, DWR finish|
|Weight, size small (ounces)||7.3 oz||18.5 oz||10.3 oz||13.5 oz||9.9 oz|
|Hem Type||Drop hem (small)||Drop hem (large)||Drop hem (small)||Drop hem (large)||Drop hem (small); hip length|
|Pockets||2 zippered hand||3; 2 zippered hand, 1 internal zippered chest||3; 2 zippered hand, 1 external zippered chest||3; 2 zippered hand, 1 external zippered chest||4; 2 zippered hand, 2 internal slip|
|Cuff Construction||Elastic (overhanging baffle)||Elastic and velcro||Lycra (elastic)||Elastic (overhanging baffle)||Elastic|
|Adjustment Points||Single hem bungee; elastic-rimmed hood||Dual hem bungees, dual hood bungees, velcro back-of-hood, velcro cuffs||Dual hem bungees, dual hood bungees||Dual hem bungees, dual hood bungees||Dual hem bungees|
|Stow Option||Packs into hand pocket + carabiner loop||Stuff sack included (drawstring) + carabiner loop||Stuff sack included (drawstring) + carabiner loop||Stuff sack included (drawstring) + carabiner loop||Packs into hand pocket|
|Other Notable Features||Helmet-compatible hood, first cuff baffle is filled with synthetic insulation||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||Felt chin guard, wire-stiffened projected hood brim||N/A|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 is an 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 7.3 ounces and packs into its own pocket.
The Ghost Whisperer 2 has some stiff competition in this metric, and as a thin, lightweight contender, it just 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 slightly colder days during moderate exercise.
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's also compatible with wearing a helmet over top, as many climbers will appreciate.
The Ghost Whisperer is of 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. 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 very thin and easy to layer under a shell if the temperature or weather dictates added protection. It flares out slightly at the hips, but not much.
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.
Here is the shining glory of the Ghost Whisperer. The size small we tested weighs just 7.3 ounces, which is incredibly light for a down jacket. 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 truly need lightweight warmth, 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 long skinny 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 ways.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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 and every inch count. It's very easy to layer when the weather gets colder but is still a pretty decent option for mild climates. 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, the Ghost Whisperer 2 is the one we'd recommend.
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 couple 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.
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