A stretchy and deluxe softshell, the Gamma MX Hoody is an ideal piece for activities that require a lot of movement and a little extra weather protection. It earns our highest award season after season because of its lavish comfort and competent wind and water resistance.
The Gamma MX is an all-around champion. It was able to withstand squeezing through slot canyons from both a movement and a durability standpoint, all the while keeping our testers protected from all manner of weather variables.
The MX designation on this shell stands for 'mixed weather,' and that's where it excels. The Gamma MX provides mixed usage protection in changing weather conditions. It sheds water for a time and blocks a decent amount of wind, though it won't shelter you from a severe storm or downpour. In that situation, you would want a hardshell.
The Gamma has a DWR finish that beads and sheds water and a hood that cinches down to block against windy weather. Overall we find this jacket to be a solid performer through all kinds of cold and windy swing season activities. If you want to add a softshell to your wardrobe that you can feel confident about and that will last for many years, this is a fantastic choice.
Our Editors' Choice performed like the champ it is through blowing snow, frigid temperatures, and intense winds high in the Rocky Mountains.
The Gamma MX is adequately breathable, particularly when you consider that it has a lining and is on the heavy side.
This shell hits an excellent balance between protection and ventilation. Whether biking, skiing, running or hiking in the glacial alpine, it allows the body to breathe better than most lined options. As a bonus, if you are working hard and need more airflow, you can unzip the sizeable mesh-lined hand pockets to use them as vents, a helpful detail that we appreciate.
A steep hike up to a glacier in the winter really proved to us that the Gamma MX Hoody can not only handle some wind and low temps but also feel great when raising the heart rate.
Mobility is another area where this shell excels. With underarm gussets, articulated elbows, and lush stretchy fabric, this jacket is easy to move in and an overall joy to wear.
The tailoring on the Gamma MX is top notch. It doesn't ride up when you raise your arms and moves expertly along with you during all types of activities. Whether hiking, cross-country skiing, ice climbing, or just running around town, this layer is comfortable and non-restrictive. When worn over a helmet, the hood is slightly tighter than on other models, but not enough to cause discomfort or irritation.
The Gamma MX was well-appreciated while navigating the unknowns of chilly Utah canyons.
The insulative lining of this jacket adds a bit of weight, landing the Gamma in the bottom half of our test suite.
At 17.1 ounces, we don't consider this shell so heavy as to be cumbersome. Thus we have no reservations about recommending it for long days in the mountains. That said, it is considerably bulkier than other options in our review. The tradeoff is better weather protection, but if you need to go lighter and smaller, we recommend looking at our Top Pick for a Windproof Layer, the 13.1-ounce Mammut Ultimate V SO Hooded Jacket or our Top Pick for a Waterproof Layer, the 10-ounce Rab Kinetic Plus.
The Gamma MX is on the heavier side, but it also offers excellent comfort and weather protection.
The Gamma MX offers excellent features suitable to the ice climber, backcountry skier, or general swing season athlete. It has a slim and contoured fit that provides a flattering profile for all manner of activities, remote or urban. Easy to move in and highly durable, this is a very versatile softshell to invest in.
The helmet-compatible hood adjusts for volume in the back and around the face. The hood features a stiff, laminated brim, which helps keep it firmly in place on a helmet and for blocking sun or rain from the eyes. It fits over a helmet fairly easily and also adjusts down to fit well over a bare head.
The hood on the Gamma MX is easy to adjust whether you have a helmet on or not.
The Gamma has four pockets — one laminated sleeve pocket, one garaged chest pocket, and two hand pockets. While it's a little tight, the hand pockets are indeed accessible if you're wearing a harness. The stretch-woven cuffs are not adjustable, so they can't be tightened around glove cuffs, but they do slide smoothly underneath gloves with a long gauntlet.
You know it's going to be a good adventure day when your jacket moves well, keeps you warm, and also allows you to get in your pockets with a harness on.
The construction quality of this piece is very high with well thought-out and useful details. It has a durable, thick wind flap behind the easy-to-use zipper that prevents snagging and that also blocks cold air from coming inside. The material by the face is a very soft fleece which prevents chin chap when the hood is cinched down. The fabric is easy to keep new-looking, and the available colors are fun and appealing. We felt at ease, natural, and even a bit classy wearing the Gamma MX from the mountains to the grocery store to drinks with friends.
Since the Gamma shines in the mobility and weather resistance categories, it excels at high-exertion fall and winter activities such as backcountry skiing, cross-country skiing, ice climbing, hiking, and snowshoeing. This shell has an extensive range of uses, from a casual dog-walk or bike ride to an intense day in the mountains, and it will keep you comfortable all the way.
Even when we couldn't get to the mountains we loved having the Gamma MX around for things like cold urban bike rides and general commuting.
This is the most expensive jacket in our review, making it a commitment to purchase. However, paying a luxury price for the best option can be worthwhile. This piece is exceptionally comfortable, which is one of the main things you want in a softshell. If you decide to throw down and purchase the Gamma, we don't think you will be disappointed. Making your investment even more worthwhile is the fact that this jacket is extremely durable, and the classic look is likely to remain stylish for years to come.
A high-end softshell, the stretchy Gamma MX Hoody offers excellent weather protection, mobility, and comfort. We think this piece best exemplifies the desirable characteristics of a cool-weather softshell which is why it carries over the Editors' Choice award year after year.
Climbing, hiking, biking, skiing... whatever your pleasure, this jacket will be a welcome addition to your wardrobe.