Rating: 4 / 5
I was really pleased with this piece after using it in a variety of weather conditions on one long day hike in the Grand Canyon last week.
I'll itemize my praises of the jacket:
I was nervous about this because of the warnings I had heard about the non-stretch Ballistic windshirts that MB also makes being akin to "sauna fabric," but in fact I was extremely pleased with how comfortable I stayed throughout the day. On my downhill section I had temps in the 60s with intermittent sun and high winds; and while working hard on the long afternoon ascent, temps were in the 40s, with high (intermittent) winds and light precipitation. Through all these conditions, the most I needed to do to keep cool enough was roll up the sleeves and partially unzip the jacket. And I hike hot! Very pleased with the breathability.
2) Wind Resistance
On the downhill, the MB easily provided enough protection from the intermittent gusts to keep me warm enough. I was much more impressed on the uphill though, when temps were in the low 40s, with lots of wind and some cold rain. The combination of my working hard on the ascent and this jacket layered over only a lightweight synthetic tee were enough to keep my upper body comfortable and protected the whole time. I think this is pretty great performance from a piece so light.
3) H2O Resistance
As mentioned, the uphill section had intermittent wind-driven drizzle and even some snow flurries. The MB jacket had no problem at all fending these off--I never felt any significant moisture come through the fabric. Of course, this is about on par with any other good DWR windshirt, right? But I was pleased.
4) Other Stuff
Here's some other minor things that I like about the jacket:
- fabric feels non-clammy against the skin due to slight texturing
- slight 2-way stretch makes the jacket a little less noisy and better-fitting
- chest pocket is placed just where I want it for my ultracompact digital camera
- simple elastic hem and cuffs, no excess
- extra lining inside collar and a zipper garage means comfort on the neck when zipped up
- a step-up in weight class from those 3 oz windshirts presumably will mean more durability (and these other great benefits) at little expense
- looks pretty sharp :-D
Yep, I think that covers most everything. So, why a 4 instead of a 5? No hood. Maybe later, Montbell.