The Mountain Hardwear Down Hooded Ghost Whisperer Jacket is an ultralight 800 fill power hooded down jacket that’s a great addition to your pack as part of your layering system, especially for winter adventures. Weighing only 7.3 ounces for the women’s and 7.8 ounces for the men’s, it’s hard to find a reason NOT to put it in your pack.
Specs at a Glance:
- Insulation : 800 fill power, Q Shield hydrophobic down
- Available in men’s and women’s sizing
- Weight: 7.3 ounces for women’s or 7.8 ounces for men’s
- Materials: 7D & 10D ripstop nylon
- Low profile quilt pattern and alpine fit allow layering under a shell.
- Helmet compatible: No
- Pockets: 2, zippered, one of which you can stuff the jacket into
The Ghost Whisperer is intended for layering. Although fairly warm, it is not intended as your sole protection in extremely cold situations when you are stationary. However, it’s great layered over other layers and/or under your shell. It’s highly compressible and can easily be crammed into a gap in your pack.
In order to attain such a light weight, the jacket goes light on features. The hood, with an elasticized rim, is not tight but would not fit over a helmet. There is no adjustability. The lightweight outer fabric is water resistant but not waterproof. With such a lightweight fabric, you will want to treat it with care to avoid holes or rips.
The insulation is 800 fill power hydrophobic down. This treatment is designed to keep the down from compressing excessively when wet and dry faster. I cannot personally attest to this as I typically try to keep my down dry and have not experienced this jacket being wet yet. On a damp day, I err on the safe side and put a hard shell over it. Also, on the rare occasion when I find myself wearing it while moving, I make sure to put a shell over it if there are a lot of low branches that could catch on it.
The cuffs have an inner elastic binding and are not adjustable, but fit snuggly enough. At the bottom, there is one easily adjusted toggle in the hem to seal out drafts. The baffles are standard sewn-thru baffles. Since the jacket is not designed or intended for use as a sole insulating layer in extreme cold, this is not a deal breaker for me.
Comparable Hooded Ultralight Down Jackets
|Make / Model||Weight||Down Fill Power||Price|
|Montbell EX Light Down Anorak||6.2||900||$269|
|Arc'teryx Cerium SL Hoodie||7.6||850||$349|
|Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer||7.8||800||$350|
|Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka||8.4||1000||$439|
|Montbell Superior Down Parka||8.7||800||$209|
|PHD Minimus Down Pullover||9||1000||$427|
|Outdoor Research Baja Down Pullover||9.2||800||$249|
|Western Mountaineering Hooded Flash Jacket||10.25||850||$390|
|Feathered Friends EOS Down Jacket||10.6||900||$309|
|Marmot Quasar Nova Hoody||10.9||800||$285|
|Rab Zero G Jacket||11||1000||$550|
|Western Mountaineering Flash XR||11||850||$440|
|My Trail HL Hooded Down Jacket||11||850||$225|
|Montane Future Lite Hoodie||11.6||750||$200|
|PHD Yukon Down Pullover||12||1000||$527|
|Rab Continuum Jacket||12.5||850||$350|
|Montbell Mirage Parka||12.8||900||$379|
|My Trail UL Hooded Down Jacket||13.5||800||$111|
I found out about the Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer Jacket from my son who is always on a quest to achieve an ever lower base pack weight. At first, I thought it was a bit silly to spend so much on a down jacket, but once I saw it, held it and tried it on, I was hooked. It’s a light and effective addition to my layering system and I frequently recommend it to friends and workshop participants. I recommend going with one of the darker colors.
Due to the thinness of the fabric, you can see the feathers through some of the lighter colors. I believe it runs fairly true to size, but you might consider sizing up if you are on the edge between sizes in order to fit layers under it. I tend to hover between a small and medium in most outdoor tops & jackets depending on the brand and where it is in my layering system. For this jacket, I went with the medium. I probably could wear a small, but the medium allows for layering under it.
I have also purchased a Ghost Whisperer vest which weighs even less than the jacket. It has been discontinued, although you can still find them. Having a vest with the jacket increases my layering options with super lightweight choices. The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer is also available in a version without a hood for those who prefer that configuration.
Disclosure: The author purchased this jacket.
About the AuthorWanda Rice has been backpacking since the late 1980’s. She has climbed the New Hampshire 48, the New Hampshire 48 in winter, the New England 67 and is working on the New England Hundred Highest and the Four-Season 48. Wanda also teaches for the Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) Mountain Leadership School, the AMC New Hampshire Chapter Spring and Winter Schools as well as the AMC NH Winter Hiking Series. She leads day and overnight trips for AMC NH year round and loves mentoring new leaders. She is a gear junkie, a self-proclaimed Queen of Gear Hacks and loves sharing her tips and tricks with others. Wanda lives in southern NH and is looking forward to moving closer to the mountains in the next few years.
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