Mountain Hardwear StretchDown RS Jacket Review

Ice bouldering on some short ice cliffs with the StretchDown RS Jacket

Ice bouldering on some short ice cliffs with the StretchDown RS Jacket

Bottom Line:

A warm and light down puffy jacket that is excellently form-fitting. It does not pull and tug under the armpits like many other down garments. Excellent for days in the wild when it’s too cold to take off your puffy even when your moving.

Observations:

So the main selling point with this new StretchDown RS Down jacket from Mountain Hardwear is that the fabric is stretchy and the seams between the down-filled baffles are closed using expanding welds instead of stitching.

The benefit to this type of construction is that you can easily move around in the jacket without it pinching or tugging uncomfortably, something that anyone who has worn a traditionally constructed down jacket will be aware of.

The StretchDown RS jacket after a full day of being used backcountry skiing.

The StretchDown RS jacket after a full day of being used backcountry skiing.

Usually I never wear a down jacket while doing anything in the mountains. While their warmth to weight ratio cannot be denied the vast majority of them have no stretch in the material. When I’d put them on, throw on a backpack and cinch down the waist and chest straps, I simply couldn’t comfortably move my arms around. The main culprit was always near the armpits, the stitching would dig in and pinch.

So I was pretty interested to see if the StretchDown technology from Mountain Hardwear would solve this issue. Long story short, it does!

Through a Canadian Rockies winter I exclusively used the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown RS jacket as my primary puffy jacket for hiking, ice climbing and ski touring. It worked wonders. There is just enough stretch in the material so that I never felt like the jacket was becoming too tight or loose in any areas. Awesome!

Added to this it is also filled with 750-fill Q.Shield Down (hydrophobic) insulation so on days when I was working hard and getting hot I never noticed the down losing its loft from sweating. Snow and sleet also rolled right off which was a bonus.

I personally tested the StretchDown RS jacket which will retail for somewhere around $280, but there will also be a slightly cheaper version that is a bit heavier that will retail for around $250.

Backcountry skiing with the StretchDown RS Jacket

Backcountry skiing with the StretchDown RS Jacket

 

Pros:

Light: The StretchDown RS only weighs about 400g’s (14 ounces)

Weather Resistant: The face fabric, 15D Ghost Lite ripstop nylon, sheds most precipitation that winter will throw at it. The down insulation is also treated to be waterproof

Warm: The 750-fill down kept me warm while belaying at the bottom of an ice climb or transitioning into downhill mode for skiing.

Cost: Reasonably priced for the technology included in the jacket

Skinning uphill to back backcountry skiing with the StretchDown RS

Skinning uphill to go backcountry skiing with the StretchDown RS

Cons:

No Hood: The jacket version has no hood included. Thankfully this item will also come in a Hoody version if you need it.

Buy It If:

You’re tired of having to layer up because it’s too cold and then layer down because you’re too uncomfortable. Apart from being cozy you will not even notice you are wearing this jacket while moving. Really innovative jacket and form fitting.

Links:

Website: Mountain Hardwear

More Pictures and Features:

Large internal pockets being used to keep ski skins dry and warm

Large internal pockets being used to keep ski skins dry and warm

 

The StretchDown RS Jacket stuffed into one of the pockets

The StretchDown RS Jacket stuffed into one of the pockets

 

The front of the StretchDown RS Jacket

The front of the StretchDown RS Jacket

 

The back of the StretchDown RS Jacket

The back of the StretchDown RS Jacket

Author: Leigh McClurg

I grew up in County Dublin, Ireland and moved to British Columbia, Canada with my wife in 2010. I fell in love with being in the Backcountry and Mountains that are all around me here and try to spend all of my free time exploring those wild places. My main goals are to chase happiness, see as much of this planet and its cultures as possible and grow every day through knowledge and experiences.

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7 Comments

  1. Great photography, man … thanks for the review! What color is the jacket you have (according to Mountain Hardwear) and any idea how much (in ounces) 750-fill Q.Shield Down Mountain Hardwear uses in the construction of this jacket? Sometimes, it’s easier to judge how warm a down/synthetic jacket will be when we know how much (in weight) insulation the manufacturer uses. Thanks again!

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  2. Leigh – which size were you testing as compared to your measurements? Is there a vast difference between M and L like some other jackets?

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    • Hi Shawn, I was using a size M. I’m 6ft, ~180lbs. I have not personally tried the L of this jacket so couldn’t comment on how the fit is different.

      I think the medium size fits most athletic body types but if you have narrower shoulders and chest then I’d try to size this jacket down to get a more trim fit on the torso.

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  3. Nice review.
    Any possibility to get the fill weight?

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  4. Good review. I like a lot about this jacket, except for a couple of things. The first is common for most down jackets – the cold gets through in between the baffles, which is especially important on windy days. The second, again common for down jackets, is breathability. I worked up a bit of a sweat in -15C (-22C windchill) and my inner fleece wicked my moisture away from my body to the inside of this jacket, where it stopped. I had ice form along each gap between the baffles. I do like the fit and look of the jacket, but it works better for me in less active pursuits.

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  5. Very informative for anyone interested in cold winter activities and wanting to optimize comfort. Thanks.

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