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Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Hooded Jacket Review

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down Jacket Review

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Hooded Jacket

Warmth
Weight
Compressibility
Moisture Resistence
Hood Adjustemnt
Features

Ultralight Puffy Insulation

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 a Ghost Whisperer Jacket in your pack.

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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 Ghost Whisperer is highly compressible, one of the biggest advantages of down insulation
The Ghost Whisperer is highly compressible, one of the biggest advantages of down insulation.

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 / ModelWeightDown Fill PowerPrice
Montbell EX Light Down Anorak6.2900$269
Arc'teryx Cerium SL Hoodie7.6850$349
Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer7.8800$350
Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka8.41000$439
Montbell Superior Down Parka8.7800$209
PHD Minimus Down Pullover91000$427
Outdoor Research Baja Down Pullover9.2800$249
Western Mountaineering Hooded Flash Jacket10.25850$390
Feathered Friends EOS Down Jacket10.6900$309
Marmot Quasar Nova Hoody10.9800$285
Rab Zero G Jacket111000$550
Western Mountaineering Flash XR11850$440
My Trail HL Hooded Down Jacket11850$225
Montane Future Lite Hoodie11.6750$200
PHD Yukon Down Pullover121000$527
Rab Continuum Jacket12.5850$350
Montbell Mirage Parka12.8900$379
My Trail UL Hooded Down Jacket13.5800$111

Recommendation

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.

The hood is not adjustable, but it's not a deal breaker.
The hood is not adjustable, but it’s not a deal breaker for this kind of garment.

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 Author

Wanda 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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14 comments

  1. I own this jacket and love it. It is an extremely versatile layer, especially when paired with a down vest (which I have from a different company.) I bought it in July on sale, since it is too expensive at full price. My only complaint is that the fabric is crinkly and noisy if you sleep in in with the hood on, though I usually have a wool cap on under the hood.

  2. I love mine, except for the #3 zipper. It tends to pull apart at the bottom, so you have to feed it back together. It’s a common complaint with this jacket. One of these days I’m going to cut the zip off and replace it with snaps. That will save another ounce. I’ll like it even more then.

  3. Thank you for this excellent review. I often read reviews that state that the Ghost Whisperer is not warm enough. I have used mine for several years as part of a layering system and as such, like you so clearly explain, it is an excellent component. When combined with varying weight layers underneath and covered with a shell, it provides a lot of temperature flexibility at a very light weight.

  4. An essential item missing from the table is grams of down. That’s pretty crucial to know, for example the Ghost Whisperer is not effective enough for the environments I would use it for.

  5. By far the RAB Zero G parka is the best because it has NO sewn-thru seams to contain down. Instead the outer and inner shell are WOVEN together with a proprietary technology (PERTEX Infinity weave) to form down tubes, totally avoiding sewn thru problems.

    This is a breakthrough technology that we can expect to see in other manufacturers down clothing. Also I expect PERTEX to use its Y shaped yarn with the Infinity weave to make these shells even more wind and water resistant.

  6. I have two of them, 1 with and one without a hood. Excellent piece for your layering system

  7. I found two of these on ebay in like new condition (one for my wife) for less than half the regular price. As Wanda says, there’s no reason to not put it in your pack. It’s also a great shoulder season piece over a thermal shirt. I am always a medium, but went with the large and glad I did.

  8. Its a great jacket for several of the reasons already mentioned; lightweight, packs down inside one of the pockets, excellent warmth when layered.
    Only challenge I’ve had is with snags and tiny burn holes form a campfire. But hey…it’s a down jacket. If you don’t want the expense of an experienced outdoor tailor for repairs, clear fingernail polish or a tiny dab of Gorilla Glue works fine.
    I’ve had mine for approx. 4years. Bought it on MassDrop for $250. As much as I like the jacket, I wouldn’t pay $350 retail price.

  9. Great review. I’m quite pleased with the jacket. Yes, the hood isn’t tight, but allows you to wear a beenie under it. It doesn’t fit over a helmet, but it does fit under it (which ofcouse reduces insulation, but still).

    I’m between medium and large and settled for a medium. Large was to roomy to insulate me well. I usually wear it over one or two merino shirts and, if needed, put an extra layer between the ghostwhisperer and a shell. Keeps me toasty in most conditions.

    One downside: the cufs are a tight fit (I have big hands). Especially with damp or wet hands, taking the jacket off can be quite a project.

  10. One of the discount sports stores (Decathlon) here in Europe offers a 800 cuin hooded down jacket for €39,99 or £39,99. It weighs 290 grams or approximately 10.2 ounces, uses 100 grams of down (non hydrophobic I guess) and uses 15D nylon. I was wondering how it would compare to the much more expensive competition in this article. See the stores UK website: https://www.decathlon.co.uk/trek500-m-down-jacket-grey-id_8397297.html.

    I am not affiliated with the stores, just a consumer looking for a good alternative.

    Kind regards, and congratulations on a great site and super useful reviews!

    Luuk

  11. I have owned the hooded version for a couple of years. Super light and just about perfect for Arizona backpacking. I’ve worn it in camp down to 20F and it’s been great as part of a layer system. When it’s really cold, throw a wind shell over it and you’re good to go. Very happy with it.

    It’s my go-to everyday cold weather jacket as well as my UL backpacking puffy.

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