Is this the start of a new era? A question worth asking for a product that’s as innovative as Mountain Hardware’s new Super/DS StretchDown. Combining a softshell type stretchy fabric with down insulation is innovative and truly a game changer. With this jacket you get the warmth you need from the 800 loft down in the performance fit package you’d expect from a soft shell. Needless to say, I’m stoked on this new Downy!
Features & Specs:
- Stretch-bonded channel construction
- Insulation: 800 loft RDS certified, Q-Shield DWR treated down
- Fabric Body: Dynamic-Stretch Knit (100% Polyester)
- 2 zippered hand pockets
- Zippered chest media pocket
- 1 inner drop pocket
- Alpine fit, hip-length cut
The 800 loft down used it the Super/DS StretchDown is RDS certified, Q-Shield down. Basically, the down is given a DWR treatment to help it better manage moisture. Now this doesn’t mean that it’s waterproof, just that the down resists wetting and clumping and so is way better at retaining it’s loft and insulating properties. The down is then sealed into the jacket using a stretch-welded channel construction that traps more warmth than standard stitching. It’s advantages; no heat loss from the stitching, the down does not move around, no glue in the jacket. But the real story here is the amazingly stretchy knit fabric that really allows the jacket to move and bend with the body. Typically a fabric that’s down-proof (stops down from escaping) isn’t stretchy. I’ve assume that it’s because stretch opens up the weave of a fabric and so can allow down to poke through. And yet here’s the mythical fabric.
The outer polyester knit is surprisingly comfy next to skin. I found myself reaching for this jacket right after lowering off climbs, only to find one of my partners had stolen it for the belays. Paired up with a thin shell the Super/DS StretchDown keeps the pack light and body warm!
The Super/DS StretchDown jacket has a total of 4 pockets. Two zipped exterior hands pockets. A zippered exterior left breast pocket that I personally use for my note book, it appears to be intended for an electronic device as it had a headphone hole on the inside. The last is inside, without a zipper but with enough room for some gloves.
Lastly, unlike your standard down jacket that looks kinda dorky, the Stretch-Down doesn’t have any shiny panels or bits of down poking through the seams. Instead it features a sleek urban look that will keep you warm in the mountains!
Cut & Fit:
With a traditional down jacket that doesn’t stretch, I always find that they are tight around the shoulders. With the Super/DS StretchDown you don’t have that problem! I use the jacket over hoody’s or sometimes just t-shirts and it fits great.
I would agree with the advertised “Alpine Fit” to describe the shape. The jacket hugs the body without restricting movement. Fits under my harness great, though I didn’t climb in it much. A true must have for the colder days climbing or alpine missions.
Overall super happy with the performance of this jacket. Its weight to warmth ratio might not be as amazing compared to a traditional down jacket, but the stretch is so worth it! In terms of durability, the Super/DS StretchDown is holding up great after a few months of wear and tear as my every-day go-to. The stretchy polyester fabric is much tougher that the uber thin stuff used on most down jackets and it’s paying off. No rips or tears to report yet. It’s water resistant enough to walk around town in some pretty heavy rain, but if I were heading to the mountains I would defiantly protect it with a proper shell. Lastly, as you would expect with down, it’s not very breathable and doesn’t wick moisture off the skin. In other words it’s not an active insulation layer but a down puffy.
Pros: Stretchy, well fit
Cons: Could be warmer
Overall: I’m super stoked on this puffy! I think the technology is an actual game changer when it comes to insulated jackets. You should get one!
Black Sheep Adventure Sports was provided with a sample to review but of course this did not influence us in any way.