New Colors for 2016
In addition to Black, Stone White, and Velvet (seen above), this jacket is now offered in Aloe, left, and Marine, right.
Sarah Hegg on a cross-country ski in the Mammut Ultimate Hoody. This lightweight shell has left off many of the adjustment features found on other jackets in order to keep the weight down. It has no adjustments on the hem or sleeves and only a single adjustment in the hood. This light and simple design makes this windproof shell ideal for aerobic activities like running and XC skiing.
Photo: McKenzie Long
Normally a softshell is made from an extremely breathable fabric, and that material is what allows the jacket to breathe. Less breathable jackets such as hardshells or rain jackets usually offer some type of ventilation to make up for the fact that the fabric is less breathable than desired. The Ultimate Hoody has an interesting combination of both breathability and ventilation. It is made from Gore Windstopper which is a lightweight and flexible windproof fabric that includes a membrane. This material is also fairly breathable, but less so than other non-windproof materials. So to compensate for this, the Ultimate Hoody has pit-zips for additional ventilation, and it is the only jacket in our review to do so. It also has mesh-lined hand pockets that can double as vents.
The hand pockets in the Ultimate Hoody are lined with mesh, making excellent vents when left unzipped. If you use the pockets and the pit-zips you can get quite a but of airflow in this shell.
Photo: Luke Lydiard
The main advantage of the Ultimate Hoody is that is windproof. We think it is the most comfortable windproof model in this review. It is decently water resistant, but is very protective in windy weather.
The other windproof jackets in this review, the Patagonia Adze Hoody - Women's and The North Face Apex Bionic Hoodie - Women's both have a thicker, stiffer feel and fit than the Ultimate Hoody. By comparison, this jacket moves freely with the wearer and is extremely flexible and comfortable.
At 0.94 pounds, the Ultimate Hoody is the second lightest in our review, beat only by the Marmot ROM - Women's. This jacket keeps the weight down by skimping on a lot of adjustment features that usually add on bulk and weight: multiple hood adjustments, hem adjustment, and sleeve cuff adjustment. The hood can cinch around the face, but does not have a rear volume adjustment. This lack of adjustment is a trade-off for the lightweight, and we think the jacket accomplishes it well. None of these adjustment features are particularly missed, and instead, the light weight makes the jacket more comfortable and more desirable to bring along on a long day.
The Ultimate Hoody keeps things spare and simple. The hood adjusts only by the face through internal cinches and there is no rear volume adjustment. The sleeve cuffs do not adjust, but instead have comfortable thumb loops. The hem does not cinch tight, but is lined with elastic to keep it tight against the hips. There are 2 mesh-lined hand pockets and one of them has a media loop to make it easier to listen to headphones even though the jacket lacks a chest pocket.
The Ultimate Hoody is the only jacket in this review that has pit-zips. Usually we take this as a warning sign that the fabric is not as breathable as a softshell should be. We find that it makes this piece particularly well-suited to highly aerobic activities such as running, biking, and skate skiing.
Photo: McKenzie Long
We like the bright, bold colors of this jacket and the simple cut. It does not look overly techy, and can blend into everyday wear quite well.
The lightweight and simple features tailor this jacket to aerobic activities such as running. Features such as thumb loops, pit-zips, and a media loop in the hand pocket make this shell perfect for endurance athletes.
More expensive than both the Adze Hybrid and the Apex Bionic, we wouldn't label this a budget shell. Instead, this is like a more refined version of both of those inexpensive and windproof jackets. The extra cost gets you a lighter and more flexible jacket that is still windproof. It is also more expensive than the Marmot ROM, which is designed for a similar purpose, featuring Windstopper fabric and a very lightweight. Ultimately, the Ultimate Hoody is more protective overall than the hybrid ROM, so if you are looking for a lightweight jacket for your winter aerobic pursuits, we think this jacket is a good value.
We love this piece for aerobic activities like running and Nordic skiing. The lightweight coupled with windproof protection is just what is needed on those high heart rate days. The features are spare, but well-thought out, all the way down to the media hole in the hand pocket. This is our favorite windproof shell that we have tried.