The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket is a piece of gear that I admit to having coveted for some time. I recall seeing the folks running the Mountain Hardwear/Montrail booth wearing it while I loitered about in the early morning prior to the start of my first 50K trail race last October. It looked like the ideal jacket to take the chill off that morning. It also struck me at the time, that it fit so well and was so “low-profile” that it would be perfect under a shell in the coming months of winter. It also just looked cool. I wanted to try one!
After a few months of patiently waiting I finally got my chance – a silver version of “The Ghost” arrived. I unpacked it, put my arms in the sleeves, zipped it up, and was immediately impressed with the fit. The medium size was perfect around my torso, while the sleeves were a good length for my long arms. What really struck me though, was how light this thing was. All of a sudden, the initial adoration of this jacket was interrupted by my 3 year old daughter who announced that I looked like a “space man” in the Ghost Whisperer Jacket! This is a good thing from her perspective – every time I wear it she says “cool space man jacket dad!” Don’t worry, if you’re not into the space man look like my daughter and I are, it comes in other colours!
Technically, this jacket is super advanced. Rather than regurgitate the specs and features, I will link to a great video that Mountain Hardwear created to allow their product staff to explain all that went into making the superlight Ghost Whisperer fabric used for this coat (and a lot went into it!) Check out the video here (but don’t forget to come back!)
Now that you have seen the innovation that went into this jacket, I’ll share what I liked about it after getting a chance to try it out for myself. I mentioned being struck by how light it was. This jacket is one of those things that you see with your eyes, and then realize you have been deceived when you pick it up. I was amazed that it could be as light as it was – seriously. It’s the same sense I had the first time I picked up a pair of modern cross country ski poles – my brain pre-assessed that something of that physical size must be at least a certain heft and when I picked them up, they simply weren’t.
I also touched on the fit of this jacket. I have worn it on its own, as well as under other jackets on cold days. I found that it has the ideal amount of 850 fill goose down fill to provide warmth, but wasn’t at all restrictive like some big puffy down coats can be. It was a comfortable fit on me, and was cut close to my body without being too tight – it felt like wearing a comfortable sweater (without the itchiness!) I also liked that it had a simple elastic cinch around the waist so I could snug it when I wanted to trap some body heat in. It also had lots of baffles to keep the warmth evenly distributed.
The Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket had two zipped side pockets for keeping my hands warm, or stowing items I needed to carry. One really cool feature of the jacket was that the whole thing stuffed into one of the pockets. It was nice to have this option for packing it, without having a separate stuff sack to keep track of.
One thing this Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket didn’t have was a hood. That being said, there is another version of the Ghost Whisperer (Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down Jacket) that has an integrated hood. If you prefer a hood, it’s an easy choice and only adds 7 grams.
One thing I would have liked to see in this jacket was an inside pocket. It’s always nice to have the option to keep things inside the jacket for warmth. If it was to have an inside pocket, I would like it to have a headphone cord port as well. Not a deal breaker, but it can be a nice feature to have.
I can’t claim to have tested this jacket on mountain tops or alpine rock walls, but it is awesome for what I have used it for. Something to throw on before and after a winter run to keep the chill out, a light insultated jacket for cooler days outside, and a nice inner layer under a shell for cold and windy days. The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket was definitely worth the wait, and I see it being a versatile coat that will continue to get lots of use.