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Mountain Hardwear Kor Preshell Hoody - Women's Review

An ultra-light, ultra-packable, and fairly breathable wind layer for summer climbing and hiking
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $130 List | $51.98 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Ultralight, comfortable, fairly breathable, stow-away pocket, ideal for summer and fair weather activities
Cons:  Sizing runs a bit large, not very weather resistant, not durable, hem rides-up while climbing
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By Mary Witlacil ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 7, 2020
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The Mountain Hardwear Kor Preshell is a shockingly lightweight wind-layer designed by and for climbers and mountain athletes. It moves like butter and is fairly breathable when you're working hard, so it's easy to forget when you're wearing it. The Kor Preshell has three pockets, with one designed for stuffing into when you need to stash this puppy on your harness. What this rad little number offers in terms of being ultra-light, ultra-packable, and fairly wind-resistant, it lacks in terms of durability, water-resistance, and overall protection from the elements. That said, if you need an ultra-light wind layer for fair-weather climbing days or mountain running, the Kor Preshell is one of the best options around.

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Our Analysis and Test Results

The Mountain Hardwear Kor Preshell stole our hearts and a Top Pick Award for Ultralight Pursuits by being as light as a feather while providing impressive wind-resistance. If you're in the market for an affordable but wicked-light option for your next long-distance mountain adventure or as a temp-saving layer on fair-weather alpine climbs, you might have found your match.

Performance Comparison


The Kor Preshell is an awesome layer for sunny late-winter days in Indian Creek.
The Kor Preshell is an awesome layer for sunny late-winter days in Indian Creek.

Weather Protection


Weather protection is one metric where the Kor Preshell did not perform very well. Then again, this softshell was not designed as a water-resistant, all-weather champion; it was designed as a minimal wind-layer for summer sending on breezy days or a lightweight layer for long mountain runs. Indeed, this jacket proved far too thin for anything but fair-weather testing, especially given how cold our main reviewer tends to run.


The main reason for the low performance here is that the Kor Preshell lacks warmth, and it scored poorly on our water-resistance tests. That said, it is not designed as a burly winter layer, nor is it meant to be your go-to for heavy downpours. Instead, with Pertex Infinium fabric, this jacket is meant to protect you from the wind while being lightly water-resistant and exceptionally breathable. Our reviewer found this to be true with regard to breathability and wind resistance on warm but breezy days — but in the shower and soak-through tests, the Kor offered hardly any resistance at all. In a light drizzle, it would likely offer some water-resistance while you hustled back to shelter, but we wouldn't recommend depending on this jacket in truly inclement weather. Given that it is so lightweight, if you are intending to be in the backcountry for an extended trip, it might be reasonable to take the Kor Preshell in addition to a lightweight hardshell, to have a breathable wind-layer as well as a jacket to wear in the event of a storm.

In our shower-test  the Kor Preshell was wet on the inside in under 10 seconds and fully soaked within one minute. If your next adventure calls for heavy precip  this probably isn't the ideal jacket for you.
In our shower-test, the Kor Preshell was wet on the inside in under 10 seconds and fully soaked within one minute. If your next adventure calls for heavy precip, this probably isn't the ideal jacket for you.

Breathability


Breathability is one of the categories where the Kor Preshell earned the highest marks. On sunny but breezy mornings with long-uphill approaches, this jacket proved incredibly breathable.



This barely-there layer is a great companion for warm days rock climbing when the breeze picks up in the afternoon, and you need something to cut the bite of the wind. It is also an easy go-to layer for breezy trail-runs. On long sunny hikes, it is a perfect layer to bring along — it weighs next-to-nothing, and when the temps drop toward the end of the day, it is great for maintaining core temps. It does not feature pit-vents or any additional ventilation for sweat, but our reviewer found this to be unnecessary, as the fabric is super breathable as is.

The Kor Preshell is a perfect layer for spring runs.
The Kor Preshell is a perfect layer for spring runs.

Mobility


Mobility is another metric where the Kor Preshell performs notably well. This thin layer moves well and Is a great layer for cutting the wind while bouldering, cragging, or multi-pitch climbing on fairly warm days.


The form-fitting hood on the Kor Preshell is quite comfortable with or without a climbing helmet, and doesn't impede movement. Indeed, the only reason this jacket didn't earn a perfect score in this category is that the hem-line tends to ride-up while climbing. This could be a product of having to size-down due to the jacket running a wee-bit on the large side, so take this with a grain of salt. Overall, with incredible four-way stretchy fabric and a well-tailored fit, the Kor Preshell moves like a second skin and became one of our reviewer's favorites for evening sends.

The Kor Preshell offers unparalleled mobility on classic desert splitters.
The Kor Preshell offers unparalleled mobility on classic desert splitters.

Weight


Weight? What weight? The Kor hardly weighs anything at all! In an extra small, this jacket hardly registers with the absurdly low weight of 4 ounces. No, your eyes do not deceive you. 4 ounces.


For all you ultralight enthusiasts looking for a highly packable and wind-resistant layer, this jacket definitely shocked us all with its lack of heft.

Whether bouldering  crack climbing  hiking  or running  the Kor Preshell never weighed us down.
Whether bouldering, crack climbing, hiking, or running, the Kor Preshell never weighed us down.

Versatility


You can't win 'em all. Versatility is one of the metrics where the Kor Preshell did not earn top marks. We determine versatility by considering the features, style, durability, and the array of conditions and activities ideal for each jacket.


This uber-thin layer is not the most weather versatile of the jackets we tested, but it isn't designed to be used in inclement weather or during things like ice and mixed climbing. The Kor Preshell is perfect for climbing in Indian Creek at sunny crags in early spring, but the thin material isn't durable enough for too many encounters with offwidths or chimneys. It has just enough features to be functional, with a form-fitted hood and three pockets, two being zippered hand pockets, and one being a drop-in pocket that doubles as a stow-away pocket. After stuffing the Kor Preshell into its stow-away pocket, it was by far the smallest of the jackets we tested, and the nylon loop is the most durable of those we tested.

Of all the jackets we tested, the Kor Preshell would be the easiest to clip to the back of your harness on multi-pitch climbs, or as an extra wind-layer on fair-weather alpine climbing days.


Value


While the Kor Preshell is not the cheapest jacket in our review, it is far from the most expensive. If you're looking for something more substantial than an ultra-light wind-layer, then this jacket isn't going to be a very good deal. However, if you need a lightweight summer layer for mountain running or an ultralight layer for fair-weather multi-pitch climbing, then this jacket is a worthy contender and a reasonably priced one at that. Be fair-warned that ultra-light often does not translate to ultra-durable, so if durability is a key component to value, then this may not be the jacket for you.

The hood on the Kor Preshell fits well without impeding mobility.
The hood on the Kor Preshell fits well without impeding mobility.

Conclusion


The Kor Preshell earns a Top Pick Award for being the Best for Ultralight Pursuits because of its absurdly low weight coupled with excellent mobility, great breathability, and wind protection. It is a great fair-weather climbing jacket for keeping temps up while belaying, and it stows away into a compact package for stashing on your harness when not in use. We loved climbing and hiking in this jacket, as long as the temps weren't too low, and appreciate the surprising number of pockets and form-fitted hood. If you're looking for an ideal wind-layer for summer mountain runs, hikes, or any style of climbing, then this might be the jacket for you.

The Kor Preshell is ridiculously lightweight and packs down so small  you won't even notice it on your harness.
The Kor Preshell is ridiculously lightweight and packs down so small, you won't even notice it on your harness.

Mary Witlacil