Introducing this year's Best Buy Award Winner - the Mountain Hardwear Torsun Jacket. This is an attractive hardshell with great lines, colors, and many features (comfort and functional). Not only that, but it packs down to the size of a cantaloupe and only weights 15.15 ounces. With a price tag of just $350, this is for the shopper looking for high value at a low price. It boasts an incredibly versatile and mobile fabric due to the permeable Dry.Q.Elite membrane that allows moisture to escape immediately (before turning into water vapor), while simultaneously keeping the heat inside.The Mountain Hardwear Torsun - Women's, which rings up at $350, faced some steep competition for the Best Buy award. In fact, the Outdoor Research Clairvoyant (Top Pick for Lightweight Design), was a contender for the Best Buy Award, pricing in at just $325, but the Torsun beat it out for its higher level of versatility. You can wear this jacket everywhere except for multi-day severe weather situations. For that, check out our Top Pick for Mountain Expeditions, the Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket - Women's (which has a much heftier price tag). So, if you're in the market for a cute jacket that boasts breathable fabrics, versatility, and a lightweight design, you've come to the right place!
Mountain Hardwear Torsun - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Mountain Hardwear Torsun Jacket is this year's Best Buy Award Winner, cashing in at $350.00. This jacket features a bomber storm hood, breathable fabrics, and award-winning versatility.
This hardshell jacket hosts three-layer shell construction integrating a Dry.Q.Elite permeable membrane. It will protect you from the elements, be it hail, wind, snow, or rain. It didn't earn top marks in this category because unlike the Gore-Tex Pro shell, the Mountain Hardwear Torsun started to absorb water after just a minute of being under a shower head. However, the fabric was still waterproof, and we didn't notice any leakage in or around seams or zippers, even after it had wetted out.
The storm hood also has three-way adjustments to cinch around our heads for more coverage. Additionally, it has a bendable wire at the brim that allowed us to adjust where the stream of water went. Thank goodness too, because unlike the Patagonia Piolet - Women's, the water did not funnel down the jacket in any strange way. As a result of this testing, we would be comfortable bringing this hardshell into the mountains through a storm. However, if severe and wet weather hit, we might be hoping for a different shell like the heavy duty Arc'teryx Alpha SV. Finally, we liked the Mountain Hardwear Torsun's longer cut, similar to the Arc'teryx Theta AR Jacket - Women's, that provided great coverage through the torso and bum (for all you snowboarders out there!).
Mobility & Fit
With mobility similar to the Trollveggan, we were impressed with how stretchy the fabric was. It moves with you whether you are going for an early morning run, scrambling to a summit, or ice climbing. That said, we didn't like how the jacket moved upwards when we put our hands up. Mountain Hardwear claims a no lift technology, but through our testing, we found this was untrue. We were also hoping for a little bit more room through the arms for layering purposes as we found with the Arc'teryx jackets. If Mountain Hardwear improved these features, they'd have a more comfortable jacket. Another nice feature is that it has a longer fit similar to the Patagonia Piolet - Women's, but not as long as the Arc'teryx Theta.
Breathability & Venting
The Dry.Q.Elite technology is fantastically breathable, and we loved it. We took this jacket running, skate skiing, and uphill hiking. Unlike the Gore-Tex Pro fabric that had us sweating but allowed the vapor to eventually escape, each time we wore the Mountain Hardwear Torsun, we noticed that the fabric consistently breathed well and kept us from getting too swampy. The drawback with this jacket is that it lacks pit zips and instead the ventilation system is built into the hand pockets.
They are mesh-backed pockets that when opened, turn into vents. However, if we were to put a pair of gloves in there, the venting would be no more. The Outdoor Research Clairvoyant also mirrored this design. Both models are designed to be somewhat minimalist, but we wished for a set of pit zips when the going got more intense. Our feedback for Mountain Hardwear would be to integrate some pit zips for ample breathability and venting for next year.
Weight & Packed Size
At a weight of 15.15 ounces, this is a relatively light jacket, close in weight with the Arc'teryx Theta AR, and Arc'teryx Alpha SV. For packability, it was similar to the Arc'teryx Beta AR and Clairvoyant getting to a small size - perfect for stashing into a pack among all your lightweight gear.
This hardshell jacket has a variety of features that we loved, including different types of adjustments, a bomber storm hood, and a great fit.
The zippers are all equipped with seals that aid in waterproofing and keep you protected from the elements. The cuffs aren't huge, but have a thick adjuster that grabs and doesn't let go. The two backpack strap and harness compatible handwarmer pockets are not the warmest, as they have a featured mesh back ventilation system; however, they have ample room to fit your hands, gloves, or any other extras on the mountain.
The hood is three-way adjustable, allowing you to cinch it down around your head, and around your face. We didn't like how small the pull tabs were, simply because they were hard to adjust with big gloves on. We also didn't like how the cinch straps were located inside the jacket.
On blowy, snowy days, the internal cinch straps forced us to open up the jacket, when it was the last thing that we wanted to do. Aside from that caveat, we liked the longer cut that protected our butt, similar to the feature-laden Patagonia Piolet. Oh - did we mention the SUPER COZY chin warmers that didn't only keep our chin, but also our cheeks warm when we nuzzled down into the high collar? Well, it's true, the Mountain Hardwear Torsun also has these sassy digs. Last but not least, it has a two-way zipper - the only jacket tested to have this feature. Perfect for many purposes.
Over the three months of testing, we didn't notice any flaws in the Mountain Hardwear jacket construction. The three-layer construction, with tight and sealed stitching, provides excellent long-term durability. However, it's not as bomber as the Gore-Tex Pro shells with their ultra-durable face fabrics. The only thing that we didn't like was the sticky zipper.
Upon receiving the garment, it was tough to zip up and down. And after three months of use, it's still a minor issue. Though, it has us questioning its small toothed zipper construction. Based on some research, these zippers used in the Mountain Hardwear Torsun showed evidence of blowing out. Luckily the jacket has a lifetime warranty that will cover zipper repairs for free.
Mountain Hardwear did an amazing job at making this hardshell the most versatile jacket tested, which also contributed to its winning our Best Buy Award. Although it's dubbed an alpinist's jacket, it can do much more. We couldn't award 10 points for versatility simply because it wasn't as weather protective as more heavy duty shells like the Arc'teryx jackets, and not best-suited for severe conditions (high winds and blowing wet snow). However, if you're looking for something that can do everything else, look no further.
All mountain sports like alpine climbing, ice climbing, or mountaineering are within the realm of this product. Because of its breathable fabric, don't be afraid to use it as a running shell on frigid mornings or during jaunts around the skate ski track. You should also feel free to wear it around town or at the ski hill.
At a price of just $350, this hardshell won this year's Best Buy Award. With stacked features, breathable fabric, and all around versatility, this is for the buyer looking for a high-value jacket at a low-value price. Take it to the mountains, out to the store, or through a blizzard - this women's hardshell will keep you out of the elements, warm, and psyched.
The Mountain Hardwear Torsun is simply a pretty jacket with a great cut and minimalist design. It features a low price tag of $350, is stacked with fancy features and allows you to go pretty much anywhere. If you're looking for a deal - look no further.
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