Mountain Hardwear Epic Womens Jacket

Review by planetFear
Tuesday 13th March 2007

A relatively new design from Mountain Hardwear, this lightweight outer shell jacket is a good effort at a practical, all round waterproof jacket. Made from Mountain Hardwear’s own Ripstop Nylon fabric the material is hard wearing but the Conduit Silk Laminate gives the inner fabric a smooth surface that is nicer to wear near your skin than other waterproofs.

It has articulated sleeves, a chin guard, Velcro cuff tabs, venting mesh front pockets, dual hem draw cord, roll-away hood, pit zips, front zip and an arm pocket! I rarely find hoods that fit my head well but this one did, even when I had my hair in a ponytail-an important consideration for a ladies jacket! The manufacturers claim there is a “one handed single pull hood adjustment system”. I imagine knitting with one hand would be easier. The hood is pretty fool proof and easy to adjust, with two hands. However, I wouldn’t stand a chance with one hand.

The soft feel of the jacket made me doubt its ability to withstand the elements. However, it performed well. I tested its ‘waterproofness’ while out for a run one wet evening. It’s waterproof. Trust me, I’m Irish.  However, I did find that I got a bit ‘clammy’ when out running or walking, which suggested to me that the jacket did not ‘breathe’ as well as I’d hoped. This was disappointing as Mountain Hardwear claim that the jacket has ‘breathability comparable to classic waterproof/breathable laminates.’

The material surprised me with its durability, which I inadvertently tested it climbing a wet brick wall one evening!
Although it is undoubtedly waterproof, I would only rely on this jacket as a ‘back-up’ waterproof to be kept in my bag in case of sudden showers. I would not wear it for prolonged use in the mountains or on trails as I think it would become a bit damp inside due to it not breathing very well.

The jacket fitted quite nicely, roomy enough for more layers to fit underneath but neat enough to wear about town. However, I did find the body a bit wide and short, with the hem riding up annoyingly when cycling. The design brief for this jacket was for an ‘ultra-lightweight outer shell loaded with technical features to keep you warm and dry’. Although I wouldn’t say it is loaded with technical features I would I think it achieves this and I found it perfect for walking, short runs, going around town and in unexpected showers. Just don’t buy it in purple.



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