The Mammut Ultimate V SO is our Top Pick for a Windproof Layer because it strays from the norm in almost every category. Often, windproof softshells are heavy and stiff with poor breathability. Not one of those things is true of the Ultimate V. The medium size weighs just 13.1 ounces, its mobility is fantastic, and what it lacks in breathability due to its lining and windproofing it makes up for with zippers that extend from the armpits all the way down to the hemline. This is a well-conceived layer optimized for hiking but suitable for almost anything you're willing to throw at it. Just keep in mind that, while the side zips on this jacket are impressive and useful, it can still feel a bit clammy through the chest and arms if you're really sweating. The Ultimate V is optimized for long days hiking, biking, and skiing — it's not what you'll want to grab for full-on winter outings or sweaty trail-running excursions. If you need something windproof but still want to be able to breathe and ventilate, this durable and stretchy hoody is downright awesome.
Mammut Ultimate V SO Hooded Jacket - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Full-legth side zippers, excellent fit, windproof, lined, thumbholes
Cons: Less breathable due to windproofing, expensive
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ultimate V is a functional and feature-rich windproof softshell that's ready to hit the trails with you for the next big adventure.
The Ultimate V is thin and lightweight yet still offers decent weather protection. The windproof material is DWR-treated for water repellency, so you can feel confident in a lot of different scenarios. It has a nicely fitted hood with chin protection for when it's really blowing outside and comfortable thumbholes that overlap when not in use, so they don't let the cold in.
There are several windproof models in our review, but all the others are heavy and stiff with little-to-no breathability. This hoody, on the other hand, manages to keep the wind out while staying thin, light, and mobile. It is also quite water repellent, however — when really wet — it feels a bit cold, almost as if water is being held between the outer layer and inner liner. But that was also after our full-on water test where we stand under a running shower — a scenario that is pushing past the limits of what a softshell is meant to withstand. With more normal splashes of water, the Ultimate is fantastic and dries quickly.
If this were a normal jacket, the breathability would be decent but not mindblowing. But the Ultimate V isn't normal: it has zippers all the way down each side for maximum venting options.
This hoody is lined and windproof, but the membrane has an open 3D structure that helps it breathe. It feels nice against bare skin, though if you're particularly sweaty, you will still feel clammy on your arms and upper torso. But you can vent most of your body with two-way zippers that start above the armpits and don't stop until the hem. Whether you want to vent just your pits or open up the entire torso, you can use this jacket to your advantage when modulating temperature.
Considering this is a windproof jacket with body-length zippers, we wouldn't have been surprised if it suffered in regards to mobility and comfort. Not so at all, the Ultimate V is meant for movement.
Even when pulling on a harness and scampering up rocks, we felt good in this layer. While the side zippers are not super conducive to being harness-bound, they are flexible and low-profile enough to mostly go unnoticed. The hood fits nicely under a helmet without being constrictive, and the arms are long enough that the thumb loops are functional for long-armed folks. Stretchy and thin, this is an excellent piece for an active lifestyle.
The Ultimate weighs in at 13.1 ounces for a size medium — an impressive number considering it is windproof, lined, and has full-length side zips. It feels lighter than it weighs when on the body due to good design and implementation.
There are quite a few lighter options in our review, but the majority of them are not nearly as weather protective. If you know you'll be in a lot of wind, the bit of extra weight on this jacket is worth it.
We assessed versatility by looking at features, style, durability, and the ability of each piece to move seamlessly between activities. This layer received high marks because of how movable, protective, and creatively breathable it is. There are a lot of ways for adventure-lovers to put this jacket to great use.
The Ultimate V is feature-rich with an adjustable hood that fits under a helmet, two-way full-side zippers, thumb loops, two zippered hand pockets, and waterproof-yet-decently-breathable stretchy material. Its streamlined athletic cut is both attractive and functional, making it an easy layer to wear straight from the outdoors to dinner with friends. And the durable material can stand up to washes and wear, no matter how technical you want to get. The only time this isn't an appropriate jacket is if the temperature dips too low or too high. It's lined but not meant for full-on winter unless you are working hard (though it's fitted enough to accommodate throwing a jacket over it). And while the side zips make for unique ventilation options, it's still not a layer you would want to wear if you're dripping sweat in the sun. But for everything outside of the extremes, the Ultimate is a great candidate.
The Ultimate V is not cheap. It's one of the most expensive items in our review. But if you are someone that hikes and adventures a lot during seasons where the temperature (both yours and Mother Nature's) is constantly fluctuating, it very well might be worth it. It's well-constructed and durable, so you'll have a solid jacket for years to come. While there are better options for specific activities, if your main form of adventuring is hiking in the hills, this is a solid investment.
The Ultimate V SO is a high-performing windproof layer with excellent stretch, water repellency, and ventilation. The tailoring is on point, and the features are well-conceived. For those of you that want a competent wind-layer that will never feel overbearing or stiff, this is a clear Top Pick.
— Penney Garrett