Can The World's Lightest Down Jacket Stand Up To Backcountry Abuse?

The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket is the lightest fully featured down jacket in the world at 7 oz. It's incredibly warm and packs down smaller and lighter than four Clif Bars. 

What It's Supposed to Do? The $320 Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket is designed to provide maximum warmth at the minimum possible weight, while not skimping on features. It has a full front zipper, zippered handwarmer pockets, an elastic cinch for the waist, and stows away in its own pocket. And it weighs 7 oz. The GW Down Jacket is designed to be used as a standalone windproof insulating layer or as part of a layering system.

Can The World's Lightest Down Jacket Stand Up To Backcountry Abuse?

How It's Supposed To Do It? There are a combination of factors at play that contribute to the Down Jacket's amazing warmth-to-weight ratio. First, its shell is made from Mountain Hardwear's revolutionary Ghost Whisperer fabric — the lightest nylon commercially available. Ghost Whisperer fabric is windproof, down-proof, and water resistant. The Down Jacket uses 800 fill power, water-resistant Q.Shield down in a low profile quilt pattern to create heat-trapping down channels for extra warmth.

Can The World's Lightest Down Jacket Stand Up To Backcountry Abuse?

The MHW GW Down Jacket stows away in its own pocket.

How Does It Perform? The Down Jacket is light — it weighs less than four Clif Bars. It packs down to the size of a small bag of potato chips. It's light and compact enough that you'd never notice it in your pack. I brought the Down Jacket on the High Sierra Trail as my only insulating layer, knowing that even in July that the temperatures could drop below freezing at higher elevations. When we summited Mt. Whitney at 3am on July 4th, temperatures on the summit were near 20°. Combined with my base layers and a hooded hardshell, I was able to stay warm on the summit as the sun was rising. It insulates like you'd expect a mid-weight down jacket made with traditional nylons to insulate, but at a fraction of the weight.

Can The World's Lightest Down Jacket Stand Up To Backcountry Abuse?

The MHW GW Down Jacket weighs less than four Clif Bars, and it isn't much bigger than one when packed.

The Ghost Whisperer fabric used in the Down Jacket feels fragile, but it's actually stronger than traditional nylons. However, it is a much thinner material, so I'd be careful about abrasion.

The Down Jacket is definitely sturdy enough to hold up to regular use in the backcountry, whether you're backpacking, climbing, or hanging around camp, but I wouldn't use it as an outer layer if climbing rock (instead I'd opt for a more abrasion-resistant soft shell or wear a hard shell over it.)

Can The World's Lightest Down Jacket Stand Up To Backcountry Abuse?

The Down Jacket kept me warm at higher altitudes on the High Sierra Trail.

Adventure Ready? When you're counting ounces, whether for an ultralight backpacking or climbing objective, lightening your load will make everything you do easier. You won't find a lighter, warmer down jacket. The Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket's light weight and warmth make it an incredibly versatile layer for any clothing system.


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Photos: Chris Brinlee Jr and Daniel Bruce Lee

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