A lightweight, stretchy, and deluxe softshell, the Gamma MX Hoody is an ideal piece for high-exertion activities that require a lot of movement and breathability. It earns our highest award for the third time because of its lavish comfort and mobility as well as its 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 stands for mixed weather and that's where the Gamma MX excels. It provides mixed usage protection in changing weather conditions. It sheds water for a time and blocks a decent amount of wind, but it won't shelter you from a storm or downpour. In that situation, you would need 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 found this jacket to be a solid performer through all kinds of chilly 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 one of the more breathable models in our review, especially because it's lined and a bit on the heavy side.
This shell hits a critical balance between protection and ventilation. Whether biking, skiing, running or hiking in the glacial alpine, it allows the body to breathe. This is a big reason this jacket continues to win our Editors' Choice award year after year. 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 appreciated.
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 and getting sweaty.
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, and the jacket does not ride up when you raise your arms. It 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 more noticeable than on other lighter weight 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 middle of our competitive pack.
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 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 the impressive Psiphon FL Hoody or the minimal Rab Borealis.
Between its comfort and its moderate weight, this jacket was easy to pack, easy to wear, and easy to love.
The Gamma MX has the perfect list of features suitable to the ice climber, backcountry skier, or general swing season athlete.
The helmet-compatible hood adjusts for volume in the back and around the face. The hood features a stiff, laminated brim, which is helpful for keeping 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 while 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. This simple design keeps the jacket lighter and more streamlined, though we did often find ourselves struggling a bit to get our hands in and out as the cuffs are quite narrow and tight. Most of our testers prefer models with adjustable velcro cuffs, but some people dislike this feature, in which case the cuff configuration on the Gamma MX is a bonus.
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.
In general, we find the construction quality of this piece very high and the details to be well thought-out and useful. It has a durable, thick wind flap behind the zipper that prevents snagging and also blocks cold air from coming inside the jacket. The plastic zipper is durable and easy to zip. The material by the face is a very soft, fine fleece, which prevents chin chap when the hood is zipped all the way closed. All these features add to the comfort and ease of wear of this jacket.
The Gamma MX is slim and contour-fitting, providing a flattering fit and a look that we enjoy for all manner of activities — even those centered in the city. Sure, this layer is slightly more technical than a favored casual around-town piece, but it looks decidedly less techy than many other models.
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. We like how durable and easy to keep new-looking the material is, and the available colors are fun and appealing. Most importantly, we love that this contender's comfort makes us want to throw it on every time we walk out the door.
This jacket kept us feeling stylish no matter what direction the day took.
Since the Gamma MX shines in the mobility and breathability 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, which is one of the reasons it holds on to our Editors' Choice award once again, despite sharing the throne with the Psiphon FL. From a casual dog-walk or bike ride to an intense day in the mountains, this shell will keep you comfortable.
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.
The Gamma MX 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 jacket 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 exceptional breathability, mobility, and comfort. It maintains a classic style while still protecting in mild to moderate weather. We think this piece exemplifies the desirable characteristics of a softshell more than any other piece we tested, which is why it carries over the Editors' Choice award for yet another year.
Climbing, hiking, biking, skiing... whatever your pleasure, this jacket will be a welcome addition to your wardrobe.