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Mammut Ultimate V - Women's Review

This innovative hoody ups the ante with great features like full-length side zips, fantastic mobility, and excellent weather protection
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $279 List | $153.45 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Fantastic weather protection, full-length ventilation zips, great mobility, windproof, unobtrusive thumbholes
Cons:  Less breathable fabric, no stow-away pocket for clipping to your harness, pockets not harness compatible, spendy
Manufacturer:   Mammut
By Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett  ⋅  May 7, 2020
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 14
  • Weather Protection - 30% 9
  • Breathability - 30% 7
  • Mobility - 25% 8
  • Weight - 10% 6
  • Versatility - 5% 9

Our Verdict

The Mammut Ultimate V is our Top Pick for Alpine Conditions because it is supple, windproof, and is an ideal layer for ice/mixed climbing, backcountry skiing, and winter mountaineering. Windproof softshells are often stiff, suffocating, and heavy. On every front, the Ultimate V breaks the mold. The size small weighs just 12.5 ounces, moves like a second-skin, and makes up for the lack of breathability inherent to windproof fabric, with full-length, two-way pit-ventilation zippers. While this isn't the warmest jacket in our fleet, when coupled with a light insulating layer, the Ultimate V is unstoppable in alpine conditions. You would be absurd to overlook this boss backcountry layer.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Ultimate V is an awesome, feature-rich, windproof softshell for getting rowdy in the alpine or to extend your rock climbing season.

Performance Comparison


The Ultimate V is a worthy companion on cold and windy ice climbing days.
The Ultimate V is a worthy companion on cold and windy ice climbing days.

Weather Protection


In terms of weather protection, our reviewers evaluate each jacket in terms of wind and water resistance, and then for warmth. The Ultimate V scored exceptionally high in this metric because it is fully windproof and pretty dang wind-resistant, but slightly less warm than our top performers.


Shortly after busting this jacket out of the package, our lead reviewer put this jacket to the test… in the shower. In the shower-test, the Ultimate V was one of the only jackets able to withstand the constant pressure of shower-water for almost four whole minutes. That said, it did not pass the test with flying colors — it was wet on the inside by the very end. While these results bear mention, we bring it up to point out how impressive it is that a softshell without taped-seams fared this well, and to underscore that this is not the ideal jacket for a massive down-pour. If you need a jacket for a full-on-deluge or summer monsoons, then a hardshell with fully taped seams is definitely the way to go.

In the shower test  the Ultimate V was soaked on the inside by the end  but it did significantly better in this test than nearly every other softshell in our review. Not too shabby for a jacket without taped seams!
In the shower test, the Ultimate V was soaked on the inside by the end, but it did significantly better in this test than nearly every other softshell in our review. Not too shabby for a jacket without taped seams!

In terms of wind, however, there is no beating the Ultimate V. With the 3-layer Gore-Tex Windstopper face-fabric, this bad boy is fully windproof. It performs like an absolute boss while both ice climbing and climbing multi-pitch routes on a blustery winter day. The reason for this is simple: the face fabric is impermeable to wind. 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. The Ultimate V is not the warmest softshell in our test fleet; however, if you layer it with a lightweight fleece or insulating layer, it can extend the warmth of this jacket into the teens and single-digits when moving. To ensure adequate comfort, warmth, and psyche while ice climbing, our lead reviewer wore this jacket with a light insulation layer underneath. As long as she was moving, this combo proved unstoppable.

The Ultimate V is a great layer for cutting the wind while ice climbing. Being wind-proof  fairly water-resistant  and decently warm  the Ultimate V performed impressively well in terms of weather protection in our review.
The Ultimate V is a great layer for cutting the wind while ice climbing. Being wind-proof, fairly water-resistant, and decently warm, the Ultimate V performed impressively well in terms of weather protection in our review.

Breathability


If this were a normal jacket, the breathability of the Gore-Tex face-fabric would be decent but not mindblowing. All the same, the Ultimate V is not a normal jacket. It has two-way zippers from the armpits to the hem for maximum ventilation.



This hoody is lined and windproof, but the membrane has an open 3D structure that helps it breathe. It is cozy enough against bare skin, but if you're particularly sweaty, you will feel clammy on your arms and upper torso, without opening up the entire jacket. If you get to this point, you can vent your upper 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.

Start at the top or the bottom  open up a lot or little - temperature regulation in the Ultimate V is super easy.
Start at the top or the bottom, open up a lot or little - temperature regulation in the Ultimate V is super easy.

Mobility


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.


This jacket is comfortable, sufficiently long, has a great fit, and moves with ease. Climber's crack begone! While climbing, our lead reviewer had no problem with the hem lifting off her waist. Instead, the Ultimate V has a feeling of being barely there while still providing a ton of warmth and weather protection — really it is the best of all the worlds. For one of our reviewers, thumb-loops just aren't her thang, but the Ultimate V has thumb loops understated enough that even she did not find them annoying. The hood fits nicely under a helmet without being constrictive but isn't exactly ideal for over-helmet wear. Stretchy and thin, this is an excellent jacket for alpine missions in the winter and beyond.

As a technical softshell  the Ultimate V shocked us all with being so comfortable that you could even use it to stay warm while bouldering.
As a technical softshell, the Ultimate V shocked us all with being so comfortable that you could even use it to stay warm while bouldering.

Weight


The Ultimate V weighs 12.5 ounces for a size small — an impressive light-weight for a windproof and lined jacket with full-length side-zips. It feels lighter than it weighs when on the body due to good design and implementation.


There are a number of lighter options in our review, but the majority of them are not nearly as weather protective. If you're looking for a lightweight softshell that strikes the perfect balance between weight, warmth, weather protection, mobility, and breathability — then this jacket is worth the extra grams in your pack when you need to stash it on a warm day.

The Ultimate V is so lightweight that it never felt cumbersome or heavy while climbing.
The Ultimate V is so lightweight that it never felt cumbersome or heavy while climbing.

Versatility


We assess versatility by looking at features, style, durability, and the ability of each piece to move seamlessly between activities and climates. This layer received high marks because of how well it deals with the elements while still being incredibly pliant, stylish, and breathable. The Ultimate V is highly feature-rich with an adjustable hood that fits under a helmet, two-way full-length side-zippers for ventilation, unobtrusive thumb loops (which spells great news for everyone, even those of us who loathe thumb loops), two zippered hand pockets, and fairly weather-resistant but stretchy material.


Speaking of style, the Ultimate V has a streamlined athletic cut that doesn't sacrifice form for function. This means you can wear it straight from a windy crag to a brewery with your friends. The burly face fabric will withstand heavy use and time, no matter how rowdy you like to get. Used alone or with other layers, this jacket can accommodate high winds and decently cold temps, as long as you're moving. The Ultimate V is not the best jacket for warm weather climbing or summer hikes, so if you're explicitly looking for a fair-weather softshell this is not the ideal option for you. However, if you wish to extend your climbing season into the winter or if you love to ice climb, backcountry ski, winter mountaineer, or snowshoe — this little gem might be the perfect contender for you.

What's not to love about the Ultimate V?! It handles weather like a boss  it is breathable  it offers great mobility  and it's styish and form-fitting to boot!
What's not to love about the Ultimate V?! It handles weather like a boss, it is breathable, it offers great mobility, and it's styish and form-fitting to boot!

Value


Sadly, they aren't just giving away the Ultimate V. Indeed, it's one of the spendiest jackets in our review. That said, you get what you pay for. This innovative and bombproof jacket fits well, looks great, is fairly warm (especially when coupled with a lightweight insulation layer), wind-proof, AND well-ventilated. It is a fantastic option for winter multi-pitch, ice/mixed climbing, cross-country skiing, skinning uphill on a cooler day, and alpine rock climbing. There are better budget-oriented options, especially if you're looking for a fair-weather softshell, but if you're on the hunt for an exceptionally well-designed technical softshell, then we think it is well worth the price.

Breathable enough for the approach  warm enough for the descent  and mobile enough on the climb - we think the Ultimate V is an exceptional value for a technical softshell for alpine environments.
Breathable enough for the approach, warm enough for the descent, and mobile enough on the climb - we think the Ultimate V is an exceptional value for a technical softshell for alpine environments.

Conclusion


The Ultimate V walked away with our Top Pick for Alpine Conditions for a reason. It offers impressive weather protection while maintaining breathability through full-length ventilation zips, it is highly stretchy, offers great mobility, and looks aesthetically pleasing to boot. It is windproof, lined, highly water-resistant, comfortable, and has unobtrusive thumbholes. While this is not the warmest jacket in our review, it handles cold temps like a boss when paired with the proper layers (such as a lightweight fleece and a thin breathable puffy). If you're looking for a beastly wind layer to extend your climbing season into the winter, a stretchy mid-layer for ice climbing, or a rad jacket for accessing backcountry lines on cold days, then this impressive jacket might just be the one for you.

Pick the Ultimate V and you're sure to be psyched  even ice climbing on cold days in the alpine.
Pick the Ultimate V and you're sure to be psyched, even ice climbing on cold days in the alpine.

Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett