So my duck, is it curdling? So you want a warm down that won’t prevent you from flapping your wings as soon as your instinct tells you to migrate to the mountains? It is in this spirit that I opted for the StretchDown Plus Hooded Jacket from Mountain Hardwear with its dynamic fabric.
After a winter spent in different situations, here is my opinion.
Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Plus Review
- Material: polyester
- Filling: Q.Shield® Down 750-fill duck down
- Weight: 607 g (in size M)
- Number of pockets: 5 (3 exteriors, 2 interiors)
- Hood: yes (exists non-hooded but not in a “plus” version)
- Tightening: cord at the bottom of the jacket
- Best Price: Check On Mountain Hardwear
- Comfort and well-being inside
- Excellent warmth provided
- Beautiful blue color
- Not having to fear drops and flakes
- Versatile design
- The absence of thumbhole cuffs
- No compression bag
- No tightening for the hood
Heat and insulation
The first of the criteria normally is the thermal power of the down jacket. Even if it is not the warmest from Mountain Hardwear like the Nilas Men's or the Absolute Zero, the StretchDown Plus provides all the warmth you need to be comfortable.
The down jacket is broken down into several bonded “sausage” compartments to better retain heat compared to the seams and thus limit thermal bridges.
Depending on the dynamism of the activity, it is ideal for temperatures between -5° and 10°C. Just to be precise, here are various felt experiences:
- With just a 1st “D4” layer (with the fatigue of the day… and the evening… …) = comfort up to 5°C
- + A monkey fleece = comfort down to 0°C
- + A monkey fleece + a ghost whisperer micro down jacket = comfort down to -10°C
- With just a warm technical 1st layer = comfort at 5°C
- + A monkey fleece = comfort down to -5°C
- At worst, I still have my Millet Elevation Airloft at the bottom of the bag and the combination is truly impressive! And obviously, in dynamics, we will shamelessly access negative temperatures.
Overall, the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Plus down jacket insulates well from the wind and light rain. The hood is then very appreciated and keeps you warm. The polyester fabric is water repellent.
To ensure excellent insulation, Mountain Hardwear treats its downs with its Q-Shield water-repellent technology. This ensures swelling power even when wet and excellent insulation by repelling moisture to the outside for staying dry and therefore retaining all of its heating power.
When the weather really gets bad or when the environment is rougher, I don't take any risks, I put on a gore-tex type hardshell jacket over it, just to perfectly protect me.
To wear and use
Here we touch on the big highlight of the down jacket! The Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Plus is super comfortable to wear! As the down jacket is made of stretch polyester, which seems to be very resistant to abrasion, the fabric stretches according to the movements and it hardly moves.
Its fitted cut hugs the body perfectly up to mid-buttocks, so ideal for keeping the lower back warm even if the plumber wanted to smile… And a cord allows you to tighten the bottom of the down jacket.
The light blue nylon interior fabric is absolutely delicious to touch! Whether it is for the pockets or the hood, the impression of caressing silk is sensational!
Concerning the hood, no problem was noticed. It perfectly encompasses the head without suffocating it and leaving enough space to turn it. Thanks to the stretch, you can even wear a helmet. A cotton edge makes the outline (as for the end of the sleeves) and the chin is well protected by a piece at the end of the zip of the zipper. No risk of getting the skin of the... neck stuck.
Regarding the small details, the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Plus jacket has many pockets: on the outside, 2 large for the hands and a small pectoral (zipped) and 2 very deep inside to put gloves, hat, wallet... All the edges exposed to friction (cuffs, hood, central zipper, chin) are reinforced and protected so you don't feel anything. Even if the cuffs are tight, I would have appreciated small thumbhole cuffs, especially since the fabric is stretchy.
Another small regret: I was used to compressing my ghost whisperer in my own pocket. Here it is not and there is no bag to carry it. At the same time, I quibble there because the down jacket has a suitable compressibility. And in our time, it is unfortunately not the plastic bags that are missing…
For what type of use?
The Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Plus hooded down jacket is a warm jacket with stretchy fabric. It is therefore especially designed for the practice of winter sports where the arms need freedom of movement, such as on snowshoes (skiing and mountaineering if not too dynamic or in very cold weather).
And since who can do more can do less, I use the StretchDown Plus down jacket just as much statically, especially at the top of a ski touring race and possibly on the way down. Even if personally, I prefer an all-terrain hardshell at this time.
Tip: Over the seasons, the insulation loses performance. To maintain your down jacket, you can clean it by reinforcing the waterproofness with a hydrophobic treatment of the feathers with specific Nikwax products. Outdoor cloth is expensive, it is a good idea to extend its lifespan!
Because of its versatility and comfort, the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Plus Hooded Jacket has become my go-to winter down jacket. I take it with me on my mountain outings just as I wear it in town in very cold weather. Thanks to this technology, it retains very good thermal insulation even when exposed to humidity.