Mountain Hardwear Kor AirShell Wind Hooded Jacket - Women's Review
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|Pros||Fabric feels excellent, breathable, comfortable cuffs, good water resistance||More waterproof, excellent wind protection, snap to allow unzipping during wear, superb hood, good hand pockets||Helmet compatible, lightweight, extremely packable, dries quickly||Super breathable, comfortable, convenient pockets, great reflectivity||Decently wind resistant, moderate precipitation protection, lightweight, less expensive|
|Cons||No adjustability, added breathability sacrifices some wind resistance||Doesn't pack into its own pocket, no reflective logos||Not the most waterproof, can see through thin fabric||Stinks easily, gets wet quickly||Sleeves a bit short, small pockets, sloppy construction|
|Bottom Line||Though less technical, this super comfortable jacket has all the features and style we want for casual adventures||A blend of minimalist design and technical features, this jacket offers solid protection from the elements at a reasonable price||A true featherweight model that continues to impress, combining excellent performance with great value||This extremely breathable jacket with perfectly placed vents is a great choice for high output activities like running||A simple, casual jacket that's best for mild days and small budgets|
|Rating Categories||Mountain Hardwear K...||Rab Vital Hoody - W...||Patagonia Houdini -...||Smartwool Merino Sp...||SoTeer Waterproof H...|
|Wind Resistance (30%)|
|Weight and Packability (20%)|
|Water Resistance (10%)|
|Specs||Mountain Hardwear K...||Rab Vital Hoody - W...||Patagonia Houdini -...||Smartwool Merino Sp...||SoTeer Waterproof H...|
|Weight||4.2 oz||4.1 oz||3.1 oz||4.9 oz||6.6 oz|
|Material||Pertex® Quantum Air 20D stretch ripstop; 59% Recycled Nylon, 41% Nylon||Atmos woven nylon with fluorocarbon-free DWR||100% nylon ripstop with DWR (durable water repellent) treatment||100% recycled nylon exterior, 54% merino wool/46% polyester trim/lining, ripstop, DWR treatment||95% polyester, 5% spandex|
|Pockets||2 hand, 1 internal||2 hand||1 chest||2 hand||2 hand|
|Cuffs||Half elastic||Half elastic||Half elastic||Half elastic||Elastic|
|Stuffs Into Pocket||Yes||No; stuff sack||Yes||Yes||No|
|Safety Reflective Material||Reflective logo on chest and back||None||Reflective logo on front and back||Reflective back and lines on sleeves||None|
|Fit||Regular fit||Regular fit||Slim fit||Regular fit||Relaxed fit|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Mountain Hardwear Kor AirShell is a full-zip, hooded windbreaker made of partly recycled ripstop Pertex (nylon). It weighs 4.2 ounces and features half-elastic cuffs, two hand pockets, one internal stretch pocket, and reflective logos on the front and back.
Considering how thin and soft the Pertex fabric of the Kor AirShell is, we're impressed by its above-average wind resistance. A full-length storm flap protects the inside of the main zipper and the hand pockets are sealed with small-toothed zippers. Every opening — hem, cuffs, and hood — includes elastic, helping to keep them held close to your body. The chin zips up high to protect your neck and hold the hood in place against strong gusts. A drop hem adds some extra protection to the small of your back as you move or sit down.
However, the Kor lacks any adjustability at all. There is no drawstring around the hem or adaptable hood strap. This is an obvious detriment in strong winds and very cold winds, as you're unable to cinch it tighter to keep your body heat inside. We also found the hem elastic to be rather loose and ineffective for our main tester's narrow hips. This lack of technical detail could be a dealbreaker for folks wanting protection in the chill of late fall but is still within the parameters of what we require of a casual adventure jacket.
Despite not having any special ventilating features, the Kor AirShell is breathable. Its soft, Pertex fabric feels more like wearing a shirt than a jacket, and its slight stretchiness adds extra mobility to your movements. Even while wearing this jacket on intense midday fall hikes and crisp early morning runs, we didn't have any issues with condensation building up inside.
With comparatively wide cuffs made of soft material, we were comfortably able to pull up our sleeves whenever we wanted to. Though the bottom hem is not adjustable, we found it loose enough to still allow some airflow when we needed it. The Kor has an overall looser fit, further aiding in maintaining breathability when you need it. While many jackets sacrifice breathability for wind resistance, the Kor strikes a balance of both.
Weight and Packability
Weighing just 4.2 ounces, the Kor AirShell is on the lighter side of average among models we tested. It has a unique system of packing into its own special pocket hidden on the inside of the jacket. Located near your right hip, this elastic-closed pouch is vertically oriented, with its opening across the middle of the space. Overlapping flaps of fabric flip inside out as you stuff this jacket into itself.
As the opening to this pocket is small compared to the size of the cavity, some practice is required to figure out the easiest way to pack it up. Though it's less intuitive than the compressing of most other jackets that we packed away into their own pockets, we did find it grew marginally easier over time. Once stowed, this lumpy oblong package reveals a large loop on one end to easily attach it to your purse, backpack, or harness. Reversing it back out of its stow pocket also requires a bit of practice, as that small opening once again hinders the speed of this process.
The Kor is full of features and little details we love for most casual situations and lowkey adventures. The lack of adjustability actually makes it more comfortable for some people, as it leaves off dangling drawstrings and stiff velcro adjustment tabs. Its soft elasticity — both around its openings and of the Pertex nylon fabric itself — adds comfort to every wearable moment and all but eliminates that loud swishiness we attribute to most windbreakers.
Raglan sleeves remove the seams from your armpits, further adding to this jacket's comfortable, shirt-like appeal. Its two zippered hand pockets are large but have zippers hidden in the side seams to keep a sleek profile. The Kor features a slim but relaxed fit that allows you to layer a fleece underneath on a cool day without being too frumpy to wear over a t-shirt in warmer weather. A single reflective logo on the chest adds a touch of visibility for nighttime neighborhood strolls.
Very few windbreakers we've tested are made of fabric as soft as the Kor AirShell — and those that are, lack a reasonable level of water resistance. Though no windbreaker is meant to fully replace a true rain jacket, the Kor's Pertex body is engineered to be "moisture resistant fabric" — and it succeeds!
While comparable feeling jackets soaked up water after just a few minutes of precipitation, water on the AirShell continued to stay beaded on the outside after a full 30 minutes. We could feel the faintest hint of moisture inside after a long time sitting with water on it, but it wasn't truly damp. This is an impressive feat within our extended lineup of jackets — and even more so when considering its breathability.
Should You Buy the Mountain Hardwear Kor AirShell?
The Kor is a little on the expensive end among the models we tested, but is full of features and functionality many people will love. It's an exceptionally comfortable jacket to wear and offers solid protection against moderate wind and light rain, without sacrificing breathability. If you're searching for a versatile technical layer, the Kor AirShell likely lacks the adjustability or extreme performance you need. We wouldn't recommend it for colder adventures, but for casual adventures — like walking the dog, light hikes, and running errands — it's a versatile and comfortable choice.
What Other Windbreakers Should You Consider?
The Mountain Hardwear Kor AirShell is a versatile windbreaker for everyday use. Rather than excelling at any specific sport or in a particular situation, this jacket is an ideal compromise. Check out the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody for active outdoor adventures in much colder temperatures or the Smartwool Merino Sport for really high output activities like running.
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