Mammut Ultimate V - Women's Review
Cons: Less breathable fabric, no stow-away pocket for clipping to your harness, pockets not harness compatible, spendy
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More