Down ‘N Dirty: Mountain Hardwear Skypoint Hooded Jacket

When shoulder season rolls around, your pack better be stocked with versatile gear that can keep up with the changing weather — and Mountain Hardwear’s Women’s Skypoint Hooded Jacket does just that. I threw mine in my pack along with a lightweight rain jacket and 800-fill puffy for a recent two-week camping/road trip around Iceland, and was pleasantly surprised (and kicking myself for wasting precious space in my bag) when the Skypoint alone delivered better than any combination of the other jackets. Though it’s meant to by a midlayer, this jacket became my go-to on the trip. Through sideways rain, random bursts of sun, and all of the other kinds of fluctuating weather that fall can throw at you, the Skypoint Hooded Jacket delivered.

MSRP: $275

Pros: The best thing this jacket has going for itself is the Polartec Alpha insulation. Originally designed to outfit soldiers in WWI and WWII, Polartec’s technology has come along way, and the Alpha insulation effectively regulates your core body temperature. Paired with a nice baselayer, this jacket kept me nice and warm on the trails on chilly September mornings, and continued to maintain a comfortable temperature back in the heated car post-trail time. #Vanlifing it around Iceland is one big, often cold, firsthand tour of the constantly changing weather and temperatures that can be found in a place dubbed “the land of fire and ice.” This meant some pretty cold nights in the back of the van. During those chilly evenings, that were often interrupted with impromptu photo sessions of the unpredictable Northern Lights, I slept with the Skypoint on, and still maintained a comfortable warm temp, whether I was tucked inside of my 20-degree down sleeping bag, or standing outside in the freezing cold staring at the sky at 1 o’clock in the morning. This jacket is also weatherproof, and held up nicely to a couple of rainy, windy hikes throughout the week. The Skypoint didn’t dry out as quickly as other weather-resistant jackets I have, but it still did the trick. The jacket also fit me perfectly. It boasts a loose athletic fit, which meant I didn’t have any trouble layering up when I needed to. The hood was also the perfect fit — i.e. snug enough to stay in place on it’s own when the wind picked up, which it did often. The back of the jacket also runs a little longer than many women’s jackets, which was perfect for me, because I never had any trouble with it riding up underneath my backpack while on the move.

Cons: I’m a huge fan of this jacket, which is why I was a little bummed out that after beating this jacket to death for two weeks, small patches of the nylon exterior began to break down. So far, this con has only proven to be an aesthetic downside and hasn’t affected the performance of the jacket. The nylon material is also a little bit of a dirt magnet, which is something to keep in mind if you’re leaning towards buying the Atmosfear color option.

Where We Took It: Hiking and #vanlifing through Iceland.

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