The Mountain Hardwear StretchDown DS Hooded Jacket is a down insulating layer that will work well in the mountains or on a cold day at the crag. Stuffed with 800-fill down, it weighs only 1 pound 3 ounces, but it still kept us plenty warm on a couple of test runs, both ice climbing and around town.
Mountain Hardwear got rid of the traditional baffle structure employed by most puffy jacket manufacturers in favor of a more geometric, grid-like pattern that “traps more warmth,” according to the company. The exterior is made of 100% polyester, and is stretchy and flexible. The hooded model has a hood that fits over a helmet, but a slightly cheaper, hoodless option is available as well.
Another bonus: this jacket will get you noticed. While that shouldn’t be your first concern with outdoor gear, it just so happens that the jacket’s main selling point performance-wise—the new baffle construction— also makes it an eye-catcher.
Rock and Ice vigorously tests all gear it reviews for either 50 days or 50 pitches. This is a time-consuming process and limits the amount of new equipment we can present to our readers. Every year hundreds of new products hit store shelves, and most of these aren’t reviewed due to our stringent selection and review process. To better keep you more up to date on what is new, we present First Look. Gear in First Look has not always been field tested, but is gear we think you’d like to know about as soon as it is available. Some of the gear will be reviewed using our 50 days/50 pitches criteria, in future print and online editions of Rock and Ice. We have opted to use affiliate links in our gear reviews. Every time you buy something after clicking on links in our gear articles you’re helping support our magazine.