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Mountain Hardwear Stratus Range Full Zip Hoody - Women's Review

A lightweight hoody with comfortable thumbholes, good breathability, and ease of layering
mountain hardwear stratus range full zip hoody for women fleece jacket review
Credit: Mountain Hardwear
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Price:  $110 List
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By Maggie Nichols ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 29, 2022
62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 13
  • Warmth - 25% 6.0
  • Comfort - 25% 5.0
  • Versatility - 20% 6.0
  • Breathability - 15% 8.0
  • Layering Ability - 15% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Mountain Hardwear Stratus Range is a lightweight zip-up hoody that feels more like a technical garment than a cozy sweatshirt. It's better used for high-output activities than it is for hanging out around home. Uniquely shaped thumbholes add warmth to the balls of your thumbs and hide away easily when not in use. A long torso adds coverage and the thin fabric and looser sizing of this hoody make it easier to layer. However, it's not as stretchy as some options, and it has somewhat scratchy cuffs and an oddly shaped hood. It's still a reasonable choice for a lightweight hoody, though not our favorite.
REASONS TO BUY
Warm thumbholes
Easier layering
Solid coverage
Good breathability
REASONS TO AVOID
Less stretchy
Cuffs are slightly scratchy
Hood is an odd fit

Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $110 List
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$89 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
62
74
70
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63
Star Rating
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Pros Warm thumbholes, easier layering, solid coverage, good breathabilitySoft and cozy, very warm, better accommodating of diverse body types, lots of pocketsSoft interior, pockets are high enough for hip belts, robust wind guards on zippers, easy to layerVery stretchy, comfortable thumbholes, extended coverage, packable, very breathable, great warmth-to-weight ratioInstantly cozy, soft and fluffy, affordable, lots of color options
Cons Less stretchy, cuffs are slightly scratchy, hood is an odd fitCuffs are tight, pockets are bulky, wind guard is an awkward lengthShorter torso and sleeves, less stretchy, stiff zippers and wind guard make hood awkwardChest pocket looks bad, oddly long cut, light colors are see throughNo pockets, challenging to layer, not breathable, less wind resistant
Bottom Line A lightweight hoody with comfortable thumbholes, good breathability, and ease of layeringOffering cozy sweatshirt vibes, tons of pockets, thumbholes, and exceptional stretch and warmthA simple and lightweight sweatshirt-like jacket that's comfortable to wear, if lacking in a few detailsThis lightweight fleece features good technical performance and coverage, a great warmth-to-weight ratio, and a reasonable priceA simple pullover with a classic design that's cozy, relaxed, easy to love, and affordable
Rating Categories Mountain Hardwear S... REI Co-op Hyperaxis... The North Face Cany... Outdoor Research Vi... Columbia Benton Spr...
Warmth (25%)
6.0
8.5
7.0
6.0
8.0
Comfort (25%)
5.0
6.5
7.0
6.5
7.5
Versatility (20%)
6.0
7.5
6.5
7.0
6.0
Breathability (15%)
8.0
6.5
7.0
9.0
4.0
Layering Ability (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.5
7.0
4.0
Specs Mountain Hardwear S... REI Co-op Hyperaxis... The North Face Cany... Outdoor Research Vi... Columbia Benton Spr...
Type Lightweight Midweight Lightweight Lightweight Midweight
Main Material Polyester Polyester 96% recycled polyester, 4% elastane 94% polyester, 6% spandex Polyester
Cuff Construction Elastic band Lycra spandex binding Elastic cuff Same fabric as jacket Elastic cuff
Weight 11.5 oz 14.3 oz 10.6 oz 8.9 oz 10.4 oz
Hood Option? Yes Yes Yes No No
Number of Pockets 2 hand 2 hand, 1 chest 2 hand 1 chest None
Features Thumb holes, chin guard, elastic hood hem, off-shoulder seams Hip belt compatible hand pockets, thumb holes, seam-free shoulders Chin guard, elastic hood hem, full length wind guard Thumbholes, flat seam construction, UPF 30, moisture wicking, off-shoulder seams, no armpit seams, chin guard Comfort stretch, extended collar

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Mountain Hardwear Stratus Range is a lightweight jacket with a full zipper and a hood. It's made of polyester and has two zippered hand pockets. It features thumbholes, a chin guard, an elastic hood hem, and off-shoulder seams.

Performance Comparison


mountain hardwear stratus range full zip hoody for women fleece jacket review - the stratus range is breathable enough for extended day hikes.
The Stratus Range is breathable enough for extended day hikes.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Warmth


This lightweight jacket holds few surprises when it comes to warmth. The inside is lined with tiny fuzzy squares of fleece separated by lines of regular fabric. The fleece is thin but did a decent job keeping us warm while recreating. Wind and intense cold can come right through these lines when stationary. An exaggerated drop hem helps protect you as you move and a fitted hood can accommodate a beanie as well. The hood isn't nearly as tight as many others, with a much lower chin that doesn't facilitate burrowing your chin inside against the cold. Its rim also cuts back much further than most — both higher across our foreheads and back behind our eyes. Keeping it up in the wind or over a particularly thick beanie is challenging. The thumbholes are uniquely shaped, with a wider end across the balls of the thumbs that adds warmth. The main zipper and pocket zippers have fine teeth and do a solid job blocking moderate breezes and keeping warmth inside.

mountain hardwear stratus range full zip hoody for women fleece jacket review - micro squares of fleece on the inside of this lightweight jacket...
Micro squares of fleece on the inside of this lightweight jacket keep you relatively warm.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Comfort


The Stratus Range fabric is stretchy, but not nearly as much as several others we tested. We really noticed this across our shoulders and on our hands when wearing the thumbholes. The cuffs are somewhat scratchy and don't feel as nice when pulled up our forearms. Its slim straight fit isn't overly accommodating for curvy women. Two zippered hand pockets are large and deep and lined with microfleece. Their zippers are practically hidden in the fabric of the jacket — this looks great, hiding them when they're zipped up, but also makes them difficult to locate and operate with cold hands.

mountain hardwear stratus range full zip hoody for women fleece jacket review - the tapered shape of the thumbholes helps to keep your hands warm...
The tapered shape of the thumbholes helps to keep your hands warm without restricting your thumb's utility.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Versatility


Like most fleeces we tested, the Stratus Range easily soaks up water. Because it's quite thin, that water transfers through to your base layers fairly quickly. It's not great against the wind, but it isn't a hopeless sieve either. While the zippers of many fleeces are a windy day week point, the Stratus Range zippers are a strong fortress against the elements. The size Small we tested weighs 11.5 ounces. It's slightly heavy for a lightweight jacket but within reason. Its thin fabric lends to its packability, but it's far from our favorite to try to cram in a daypack.

mountain hardwear stratus range full zip hoody for women fleece jacket review - the hand pocket zippers are tight and well hidden, though...
The hand pocket zippers are tight and well hidden, though challenging to operate with cold fingers.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Breathability


With so many minute spaces between fleece squares, the breathability of the Stratus Range is excellent. It's a great layer for high-output activities that are more stop-and-go, like climbing or hiking. The cuffs are okay when pulled up our forearms — a bit scratchy, but they stay put. While many hooded models carry a lot of weight in the hood, leaving it to awkwardly flop around when unzipped, the Stratus Range hood is light and comfortable, making it easy to wear unzipped or partially zipped.

mountain hardwear stratus range full zip hoody for women fleece jacket review - the stratus range hood offers less coverage and a looser fit than...
The Stratus Range hood offers less coverage and a looser fit than just about any other fleece we tested.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Layering Ability


The Stratus Range can be reasonably layered over a light baselayer without too much catching of fabrics against each other. Its smooth exterior and slim silhouette are easy to layer over top of when you need extra protection.

mountain hardwear stratus range full zip hoody for women fleece jacket review - our favorite aspect of the stratus range is its breathability.
Our favorite aspect of the Stratus Range is its breathability.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Should You Buy the Mountain Hardwear Stratus Range?


While the Stratus Range is on the lower side of average for our testing lineup, it's not everyone's cup of tea. It has some great technical features (like excellent thumbholes, good pockets, and great breathability) but is a slim fit that isn't as accommodating as many others. If you like its features, we recommend trying it on to see if you like its fit before committing to this hoody.

What Other Fleece Jacket Should You Consider?


The Mountain Hardwear Stratus Range is a lightweight hoodie with a mixed bag of technical features and limiting fit. If you like the breathability and useful thumbholes but want something with a little more give and comfort, check out the Outdoor Research Vigor. If you don't mind not having thumbholes, the lightweight Patagonia R1 Air is our favorite fleece, with a dynamic performance that works well for tons of uses.

mountain hardwear stratus range full zip hoody for women fleece jacket review - the thin, lightweight stratus range can be worn over or under other...
The thin, lightweight Stratus Range can be worn over or under other layers - depending on how it fits you.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Maggie Nichols
 
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