Gear Review – Mountain Hardwear Minalist Jacket


Less is more. Or is more more? Who really knows. But what I do know is that Mountain Hardwear’s Minalist Jacket nailed a sweetspot for backcountry skiers – more frills than an ultralight climbing shell, less frills than a resort jacket. The jacket is so Minimalist they had to take two letters out of the name to shave weight. OK, bad joke, but you get the point.

I personally find that most basic shells lack some of the goodies I want to see in my backcountry ski jacket, and most resort jackets are full of extra fills. For me the Minalist hits the spot. Here’s what I dig…

Thumbs up for Minalist Jacket:

  • Longer cut – Looks cooler than your average jacket, better coverage, more rad.
  • Chest Pockets – Plenty of room for some easy access storage, or just to augment the ‘saggy boob’ look if you’re into that kinda thing.
  • Chin/Neck – An offset zipper and micro-chamois lining make your chinny chin all warm n fuzzy while you battle the elements, while a cool extra collar zipper lets you adjust how much neck/breathing room you have.
  • Helmet friendly hood
  • Waterproof/Breathable – Dry.Q Elite is Mountain Hardwear’s cream of the crop fabric for ‘instant-on’ breathability. I’m no scientist, but from what I can tell it kicks ass. I’ve been able to keep wearing my Minalist on plenty of skin track ascents this season, without melting in a pile of sweat at the top.

Thumbs down:

  • Chest Pockets – I’d love one more of them. The blogger in me always has stupid electronic gadgets that I need easy access to. ‘Cause it don’t count unless you take a picture, right?
  • Powder Skirt – It’s fine, and works, but I don’t know that a jacket called Minalist really needs a powder skirt. Does anyone use those things anyway? Maybe I’ve been slacking and should crash more. Come to think of it, that’s true. And hey, you can just take it off if you want.


If you’re a backcountry/frontcountry skier, get one. It’s simple, clean, rad, works well, and hits that honey hole sweet spot between climbing jacket and skiing jacket. High fives to Mountain Hardwear for conveniently designing pretty much the exact jacket I’d want for slackcountry life in Whistler, BC.


The Minalist also repels large man eating trees, so you can be safe in Utah’s backcountry.


Recco and a powder skirt were my only two ‘Does anyone use those things?’ features for this jacket. But the rest is primo. And these two don’t get in the way either.


Oh some comfy.


Offset main zipper, and extra collar zipper for people with fat or claustrophobic necks. Or something like that. Either way I dig it.


Keepin’ it real in Blackcomb’s slackcountry – the official testing ground of almost everything we’ve ever reviewed 😉


Oh look at that. Just in time for Whistler’s new RFID passes. Or whatever else you might want to hide in there. You could put coins in there, then if you here them jingling it means you’re flailing and need get back under control. 😉


The Breakdown

Overall Fit / Cut
Waterproof / Breathability
Pocket Combo
Style / Steeze / Zoolander Factor

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