Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown DS Hooded Jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Down and Insulated Jackets

Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown DS Hooded Jacket | Review

The interesting new pattern is claimed to trap more warmth that traditional box-walled jackets

You can tell from one look that Mountain Hardwear’s Stretchdown RDS jacket is going to keep you warm no matter what the conditions throw your way. You can also tell that it’s a pretty unique down jacket.

The Stretchdown DS breaks the mould of traditional grid-quilting and instead opts for a pattern of discontinuous lines featuring what Mountain Hardwear describe as “groundbreaking stretch-welded channel construction”. This supposedly makes it capable of trapping slightly more warmth than a standard-stitched coat to keep the wearer super cosy when they’re out in the wild.

“The innovative stitching patterns house 800-fill power down that keeps heat close to the body”

That does mean that it looks a little different to most standard down jackets – it’s almost like a coat made up of little cushioned ski moguls. It’s quirky, but when you’ve got one of the most comfortable technical down jackets on the market right now, we think that’s easy to look past.

The ‘DS’ in the title stands for ‘dynamic stretch’. It’s quite a slim-fitting jacket, but this techy fabric means that if you’re reaching for a hold up above your head, tying a shoelace, or just getting on with the regular stride of a day hike, you’re not going to feel at all hindered. And it’s durable to boot – much more so than the standard nylon you get on most insulated jackets.

But back to that fill which is the real pull here. The innovative stitching patterns house 800-fill power down that keeps heat close to the body, and the good news for any eco-warriors – which we hope is pretty much everyone who’s serious about accessing the great outdoors – is that it’s all sustainably sourced.

The hood which is padded with the same quilting as the rest of the coat to keep your head nice and warm. Photo: Chris Johnson.
The Stretchdown DS breaks the mould of traditional grid-quilting by using "groundbreaking stretch-welded channel construction”. Photo: Chris Johnson.
The Stretchdown DS breaks the mould of traditional grid-quilting. Photo: Chris Johnson.
It's like wearing a breathable, weather-proof, perfectly-fitted duvet. Photo: Chris Johnson

Down’s big, er, down side when compared to synthetic fills, is that it won’t insulate when it gets wet. However, in recent years, more and more brands are coming up with clever ways of making it capable of fending off moisture. Mountain Hardwear are one of those, and what they’ve done here is use a water repellent treatment that doesn’t contain any of those nasty environmentally-hazardous PFCs you can sometimes find in similar products.

“This is one of the warmest and most comfortable outdoor jackets on the market right now”

On top of all that, the essential details are there. Like the cosy handwarmer pockets, and the hood which is padded with the same quilting as the rest of the coat to keep your head nice and warm when it’s needed. This sits really comfortably as well, not lifting under wind strain thanks to the elastic rim.

The aesthetics may not be for everyone on this coat from Mountain Hardwear, but there’s no arguing with the technical features behind the Stretchdown DS. It really is an innovative coat for the outdoor enthusiast, and is well worthy of a place in the Outdoors Magic 100.

“I love this jacket. It is so warm. So wonderfully padded. So comfortable. It’s like wearing a breathable, weather-proof, perfectly-fitted duvet. If I could replace my bed sheets with a number of these coats stitched together, I would. I tested this out in the Highlands and it kept me cosy on a windy summit above Kingussie. I am now wearing it as I write in a coffee shop in Edinburgh, considering if I should get a poster of it to put above my bed. I should add that some fellow hikers thought the unique padding on the fabric looks a bit bizarre. I disagree. I will never take this jacket off. This jacket is now part of me.” – Stuart Kenny, OM Test Team.

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