The StretchDown DS Hooded Jacket is one of the new additions to the StretchDown line from Mountain Hardwear. The ‘DS’ is for dynamic stretch, and is so named due to the new knit that allows for greater stretch. The insulated jacket keeps it simple while having all the technical features one might want in a performance puffy. It also has a very unique look compared to the Mountain Hardwear's Stretchdown RS Jacket we reviewed a few years back.
The front and back images below show of the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown DS Hooded Jacket's unique baffle design.
Boasted as the most comfortable down jacket available, the StretchDown DS Hooded Jacket certainly holds its ground. The combination of the stretch-weld channel construction and the 100% polyester Dynamic-Stretch knit provide stretch in all directions so movement is completely uninhibited. Mountain Hardwear is not giving aways the secret of exactly how the stretch weld works, but they’ve managed to incorporate stretch into a welded seam, allowing for a stretchy, flexible seam while avoiding the puncture holes involved in a sewn seam. Ditching the stitching and the conventional baffle system, this new stretchier pattern allows for greater heat-trapping abilities that won't interfere with movement.
The StretchDown DS Hooded Jacket is insulated with 800-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down™. This down is RDS certified (responsible down standard), fluorine-free, and water resistant. The hydrophobic treatment means that the down resists wetting; even if the jacket becomes saturated, the down will not only retain more loft than untreated down, but its recovery is much faster as well.
Zippered handwarmer pockets are joined by another zippered chest pocket. All zippers are low profile YKK zippers and feature zipper garages keeping this jacket streamline. Two interior drop pockets offer a convenient place to stash your gloves, but are big enough to fit your skins. An interior draft guard on the main zipper features a grosgrain strip that protects zipper teeth and enhances garment durability.
To finish it all off, the cuffs and hood are lined with comfortable elastic that helps keep the weather on the outside of the jacket. Two super low-profile cord locks allow the hem to be adjusted from either side of the waist.
Body Fabric: 100% polyester, Dynamin Stretch knit
Insulation: 800-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down™ (RDS certified)
Stretch in clothing should not be limited to yoga pants and jeggings. While these are appreciated by many, the promise of uninhibited range of motion is something that we all dream of. The StretchDown™ DS Hooded Jacket may not be quite as form fitting as a nice pair of tights, but the added mobility offered by this jacket will never hold you back in the mountains. Whether it's making a reachy crux move on a climb, stretching out for that truck driver grab on skis, or something as simple as not having your jacket ride up your back while you move up the mountain, this super stretchy coat is going to make your life easier and more comfortable; oh yeah, and you’ll look good in it too.
The new discontinuous lines of the stretch weld channel system brake the mold of how a puffy looks, while combatting cold spots sometimes found in traditional quilting or baffling.
Another thing I like about this jacket is the feel of the shell material. Most puffy style insulators feel really thin and often a bit fragile; a tradeoff of keeping things super light-weight. But this jacket feels quite durable, and when one considers the addition of stretch, I’m confident this jacket will prove to be much tougher than other puffy jackets. Due to the slightly heavier material used, a small amount of weight is added and a bit of compressibility is lost; a small trade off for the added benefits. The jacket is heavier than Mountain Hardwear's Stretchdown RS Jacket and also a full parka like the Mont-bell Frost Smoke Down Parka, but the technical trade offs definitely pull their weight.
One last word of praise for this jacket is for the down. When buying down products, I really like seeing the RDS certification, and the added hydrophobic qualities raise the bar even further.
Price: $400CAN / $340US
Length: 70cm / 28in
Weight: 539g / 1lb 3oz
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