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Mountain Hardwear Mistral Review

Mountain Hardwear Mistral Jacket
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Price:  $130 List
Pros:  Wind resistant yet soft and cozy, really nice fit.
Cons:  Can't push sleeves up, not the most breathable, heavy.
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By McKenzie Long ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 19, 2013
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  • Style - 5% 6
  • Wind Protection - 5% 9
  • Water Resistance - 5% 5
  • Breathability - 15% 5
  • Comfort and Cozyness - 20% 9
  • Warmth - 25% 8
  • Layering Ability - 15% 7
  • Ease of Movement - 10% 8

Our Verdict

Unfortunately, the MHW Mistral has been discontinued, though it can still be found for sale at several online retailers. Read our updated Best Women's Fleece Jacket Review to see what other technical fleece jackets may suit you.

The Mountain Hardewear Mistral is a very stylish, soft and cozy polar fleece that has the added function of being wind-resistant. We like this jacket just as a regular fleece jacket, so the wind-resistance is a bonus since wind cuts right through most fleece fabrics. Its main downside is its weight, since it is heavier than many of the others.

Among wind resistant fleeces, we prefer the Mountain HardWear Mistral to The North Face Windwall because of the softness, the flexibility, and the style. However the Mistral is heavier and more expensive, so it depends which features are more important to you. Overall the Mistral is a functional jacket to curl up in or wear around town or on an all-day outdoor adventure.

Our Analysis and Test Results

Comfort and Coziness

Behind the zipper at your chin there is a wind flap that is soft against your face when zipped all the way up.


This Mountain Hardwear Jacket can also be sealed against the weather if you are in a raging windstorm because there is a waist drawstring and second inner cuffs on the sleeves that keep out wind.

The inner cuffs on the sleeves are great for keeping out wind and sealing in warmth, but make the wrists so tight that I cannot push the sleeves up if I am hot when hiking or climbing.


When using this as an all-around outdoor jacket, we found it was not very breathable on approaches or when running.

Layering Ability and Ease of Movement

It has a reversible zipper, so it can be zipped into a shell outer layer for extra weather protection.

Wind and Water Protection

The Mountain HardWear Mistral is a great garment because it doubles as a cozy fleece and a windbreaker. Unlike the North Face Windwall, the Mistral is very soft and comfortable, yet it stands up really well to wind.

Style and Fit

We love the way this jacket fits. It is stylish and feminine while also being comfortable and functional.

Best Application

This polar fleece jacket is a great choice to bring with you if you are spending all day outdoors since it serves the dual purpose of windbreaker and warm fleece. We usually don't like combination pieces as much, but this jacket pulls it off. This jacket weighs the most of the fleeces reviewed, so if you prefer a lightweight jacket that is still windproof, The North Face Windwall weighs nine ounces less.


This jacket is moderately priced among fleece jackets, although more expensive than other jackets with similar functionality. However, it is also more comfortable than other wind-resistant jackets, so if wind-resistance is what you are looking for, it is better to pay a little more and purchase this jacket.

McKenzie Long