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Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer - Women's Review

Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer - Women's
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $350 List | $227.47 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Incredibly light, compact, warm for its size and weight, packs into its own pocket
Cons:  No way to cinch the hood, colors that you either love or hate
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear

Our Verdict

The Hooded Ghost Whisperer is the unequivocal winner of our Editors' Choice award. It proved to stand in a class of its own. It is a highly technical lightweight down jacket that looks sleek and feels like your favorite sweatshirt.

The fabric has the softest hand of all the jackets we tested--and Mountain Hardwear boasts that there is only one mill in the world that can weave it. Mountain Hardwear also says that the Hooded Ghost Whisperer is the world's lightest full-featured down jacket. We believe it.

If you need something warmer, we suggest the Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket - Women's or the Arc'teryx Thorium AR Hoody - Women's.

Looking to Ditch the Hood?
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Women's
The Women's Ghost Whisperer is also available without the bulk of a hood, check it out here; Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket - Women's The addition of a hood to any jacket provides extra warmth, but we also understand that it also adds bulk. If you're looking for a more streamline layering option, check out the Ghost Whisperer Jacket.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Down Jacket for Women Review


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Lyra Pierotti
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Friday
November 11, 2016

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New Colors for 2017


In addition to the Blurple (seen in the main photo above) and Black introduced in the spring, this women's down jacket is now available in three new colors: Black, Stone Green, and Fiery Red.
Hooded Ghost Whisperer - Women's -- Black
Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer - Women's
Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer - Women's
 

Hands-On Review


The Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer is a lightweight down jacket that will blow your mind. It is truly as light as a ghost's whisper.

Checking out the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer down jacket on Observation Hill  near McMurdo Station  Antarctica  with the McMurdo Sound sea ice below.
Checking out the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer down jacket on Observation Hill, near McMurdo Station, Antarctica, with the McMurdo Sound sea ice below.

Performance Comparison


Check out the following Overall Performance chart to see where the rest of the down jackets in our review ranked in line behind our Editors' Choice winner, the Ghost Whisperer!


Warmth


While this jacket wasn't the warmest in our review (the Rab Microlite Alpine Jacket took the cake for warmth), the Ghost Whisperer's warmth to weight ratio was incredible.


The Q.Shield DOWN 800 (Mountain Hardwear's signature hydrophobic down treatment) is super light and warm for the weight. The narrow baffles ensure ease of movement but are very plump with loft, providing excellent warmth. The jacket also conforms well to the body, which helps to keep out pesky cold drafts.

The Ghost Whisperer hooded down jacket is cozy and technical. The athletic cut allows for excellent movement and the sewn-through baffles minimize bulk. The hood fits snugly and closes comfortably around the face with a simple elastic band.
The Ghost Whisperer hooded down jacket is cozy and technical. The athletic cut allows for excellent movement and the sewn-through baffles minimize bulk. The hood fits snugly and closes comfortably around the face with a simple elastic band.

Weight


At 7.2 ounces, the jacket speaks for itself. Pull it off the shelf and you'll think you dropped it. It is that light. When we first picked up the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer, we could hardly believe how light it was for how substantial the jacket looked. It is much lighter weight than you expect it to be for the amount of loft.


Compressibility


Our lineup of women's jackets compressed into stuff sacks and pockets for compressibility comparison. (L to R: Montbell Frost Smoke  Montbell Alpine Light  Arc'teryx Thorium  Arc'teryx Cerium  Ghost Whisperer  Rab Microlight.
Our lineup of women's jackets compressed into stuff sacks and pockets for compressibility comparison. (L to R: Montbell Frost Smoke, Montbell Alpine Light, Arc'teryx Thorium, Arc'teryx Cerium, Ghost Whisperer, Rab Microlight.

This is our favorite jacket for multi-pitch rock and alpine climbs. It stuffs nicely into its own pocket, and clips easily to the back of your harness. This is one of the least bulky stuffed packages we tested, which is highly desirable for fast-and-light climbing or backpacking missions.


Water Resistance


The Ghost Whisperer did quite well at resisting water. Mountain Hardwear says that the 7 denier by 10 denier fabric is naturally downproof, windproof, and water repellent, and that it is the world's only true 7d by 10d fabric, using single 7d and 10d yarns instead of pairs of strands. All of that translates in the field as a very weather resistant down jacket.


The Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket - Women's is the only one that rivaled the Ghost Whisperer in water resistance. Interestingly, these were the only two down jackets with hydrophobic down. The Ghost Whisperer contains Mountain Hardwear's new Q-shield hydrophobic down, treated with a water repellent compound. The idea is to prevent the down from getting wet and losing loft (and therefore warmth) when the outer fabric can't keep all the moisture out. Judging by the performance of these two jackets, it would seem like the treatment helps at least a little, but it is difficult to isolate the impact of the hydrophobic treatment from the rest of the jacket's features--these two jackets were also among the most well-constructed overall.

Style and Fit


If superhero chic is your style, you'll love the look of this jacket. It is modern and athletic looking, featuring bold and vibrant colors and stylishly angled baffling on the back.


The hood on this jacket is one of our favorites. It is not adjustable at all and does not fit well over a helmet, but the fit is snug and cozy around the face, and it slides easily under a helmet, which then further seals in the warmth when you clasp the chin strap around the hood.

The Ghost Whisperer is a well-fitting and comfortable jacket.
The Ghost Whisperer is a well-fitting and comfortable jacket.

The raglan sleeves ensure great range of movement, as do the thinner sewn-through parallel baffles.

Durability


For the extreme light weight of the outer fabric, this jacket was surprisingly durable. We tried to scuff it up on rock climbs and found that it did snag on sharp rock, but on the exposed stitching, not on the fabric itself. We did not manage to find any holes in the fabric itself, just several snagged threads. The jacket also did not shed a single feather (that we noticed) in our entire testing period. The exposed seam under the arm is the only Achilles heel we could find.


This jacket will not be as durable as the jackets with 20, 30, or 40 denier fabrics, but it is noticeably more durable for a jacket in the 10 denier range.

The stitching on the inner arms of the Ghost Whisperer (left) and Microlight Alpine jacket (right). The simple and inset stitching of the Rab jacket was much more durable. The stitching on the right side of the Ghost Whisperer snagged easily on rock and alpine climbs.
The stitching on the inner arms of the Ghost Whisperer (left) and Microlight Alpine jacket (right). The simple and inset stitching of the Rab jacket was much more durable. The stitching on the right side of the Ghost Whisperer snagged easily on rock and alpine climbs.

Features


Our favorite stand-out feature of the Ghost Whisperer is the ultra-comfortable sleeve cuffs. They do not cinch as aggressively as most lightweight down jackets--they fall much more like the cuffs of a sweatshirt--but they still manage to seal out cold drafts. It is a design you have to feel to believe.


This super light jacket still has a hem draw cord to cinch it tight on bottom. This is a great feature to retain, since a cold draft from below is a great way to flush out all your warmth.

The cuff design of the Ghost Whisperer is by far our favorite of all the jackets tested. It sat flat on our wrists and still sealed out the weather.
The cuff design of the Ghost Whisperer is by far our favorite of all the jackets tested. It sat flat on our wrists and still sealed out the weather.

Otherwise, there are not many comfort features, but this jacket really doesn't need them--the fabric is so soft and supple that you feel like you're wearing a very cozy (and absurdly light) sweatshirt. The hood's elastic closure is also one of the most comfortable, and very similar to the Arc'teryx Thorium AR hoody.

Best Applications


This is a thin, lightweight down jacket, which means it isn't going to protect you from arctic cold. For super cold and stormy weather a technical parka like the Neutrino Endurance Jacket - Women's is more appropriate. However, for any type of trip or activity where you need an insulating layer that you will carry with you, this lightweight layer is perfect. Bike tours, raft trips, all-day rock climbs, mountaineering, backpacking, and ski touring are all activities that will benefit from the high worth-to-weight ratio and compressibility of the Ghost Whisperer.

The Ghost Whisperer packed and clipped for easy carrying.
The Ghost Whisperer packed and clipped for easy carrying.

Value


This jacket is pricey at $350, and the lighter fabric makes it a little fragile, so if you need a long-lasting and durable down jacket, you may want to consider our other award winners which are both less expensive and more durable, and also the Thorium AR hoody.

Conclusion


This jacket is spendy, but if you're counting ounces, it is worth every penny.

Other Versions


Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket - Women's
Ghost Whisperer Jacket - Women's
  • Cost - $320
  • Weight - 6.4 oz
  • Hood-less version of this award-winning jacket

Ghost Whisperer Down Vest - Women's
Ghost Whisperer Down Vest - Women's
  • Cost - $245
  • Weight - 5oz (Claims to be world's lightest full-featured down vest)
  • Perfect for layering; ideal for travel

Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer
Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer
  • Men's version of this jacket
  • Cost - $350
  • Weight - 7.2oz
  • Available in colors that you either love or hate
Lyra Pierotti

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 11, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.0)

0% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 33%  (1)
4 star: 33%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 33%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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Write a Review on this Gear

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   Oct 20, 2015 - 10:24pm
Newenglandsurfer · Surfer · Boston, ma
The only thing positive I could find about this is the weight. I ordered this based on Outdoor Gear Lab's outstanding review, but I should have paid attention to almost every other review online that describes it as having an extremely poor fit. The arm holes are too tight, so I sized up. This matters in a down jacket where I don't want perspiration to soak the jacket causing it to lose its insulating properties.

The trouble with sizing up to a size where my arms would fit through the sleeves is that the rest of the jacket is then way too big and hangs like a boxy tent - not sure how it got good marks for style, but between that and the overly shiny fabric, I thought the styling was pretty poor. In addition it sits at a high hip - not the most flattering point.

If you've got $350 to throw around and you don't care about the above, great. Otherwise I'd recommend the Arcteryx Thorium AR - a much better buy.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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