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Mountain Hardwear Snowtastic Jacket Review w/ DryQ Elite

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Gear Reviews

It's a big year in the world of water proofing and breathability, as the big G word (Gore-Tex) faces some new competition. Columbia Sportswear has Omni-Dry, Polartec has Neoshell, and Mountain Hardwear is comin' at ya with DryQ.

We were lucky enough to get our hands on the new Mountain Hardwear Snowtastic Jacket with DryQ Elite technology, to see how it all works. They're claiming 40,000mm waterproofness (which we don't have the means to test), but we have used the jackets in some Whistler-style heavy pow stormy powder days, and so far so good… staying dry.

Overall the jacket has been pretty kick-ass so far, and I'm definitely recommending it for certain uses. Here's my run down of pros and cons.

The Pros

  • Waterproofness – so far so good
  • Breathability – awesome! The DryQ Elite fabric's biggest strength is that it breathes non-stop, so you feel like you're in a super breathable soft-shell yet it's waterproof. Gore-tex on the other hand requires you to generate enough heat so that your sweat is vapourized before exiting the jacket. Not the case with DryQ, major score.
  • Features – I'm liking the removal powder skirt, radio pocket, pit zips, and a few handy pockets. The new cuff velcro has improved in my opinion as well.
  • Colours – Mountain Hardwear is coming out with some funkier colours for 2011, so you don't need to look like a dork heading to Everest when you're really just sessioning the slackcountry behind Whistler.

The Cons

  • Breathability – the jacket was so damn breathable that on really really cold and windy days, it's not the best choice of apparel, as it doesn't feel as windproof as your typical shell jacket. That's not really a con, it makes it an epic jacket choice for other days, just not EVERY day.
  • Hood size – the hood is sweet for general use, but not large enough to fit over a ski helmet. That was one of my favourite features from their Beryllium Jacket.
  • Chin cuff – related the hood design, the chin cuff could be higher to better protect your face. But again, that's a sympton of when and when not to wear the jacket. On a nice spring touring day you wouldn't want that massive hood or massive chin cuff, and this jacket isn't ideal for insane blizzards anyway. So perhaps it's designed just right, for specific uses.
  • Seams – I've had some feedback about the durability of the stitchless seams, but I personally haven't had any issues yet. Will let you know if I do.

Long story short, I'm stoked on the DryQ technology so far. Glad to see another player giving Gore-Tex a run for their money, as it keeps everyone innovative. And This DryQ stuff comes in a bunch of different versions (DryQ Active, Core, and Elite) for different kinds of garments, so it'll be neet to see what other layering options await from Mountain Hardwear.

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