I frequently look to backpacking and adventure gear providers for gear that can be repurposed as travel gear, and to my eye and in my experience, the Mountain Hardwear Offwidth is a fantastic cool/wet weather jacket that’s equally suited to chilly aircraft, sea excursions, or cool evenings spent sightseeing, as it is to hiking or climbing.
A couple of quick notes: “offwidth” is a climbing term that refers to any crack or fissure that doesn’t fit a body part (now you know!). Secondly, this model has been dropped from the Mountain Hardwear line, but it’s being closed out at Travel Country for $85; the original retail was $120. More on this offer in a bit.
The Offwidth is a lightweight (1 lb., 4 oz.) shell made with a 58% nylon/31% polyester/11% elastane material called “Tufstretch.” As the name implies, it’s both tough and stretchable: although abrasion resistant, it has a fair amount of “give” which makes it perfect for hiking, cross country skiing, and climbing.
In actual practice, it’s super comfortable and remarkably warm. The collar is lined with a “micro chamois” material that’s soft on your skin, and there are drawcords at the waist and neck which can be cinched tight with one hand. Another important note: like many Mountain Hardwear jackets, the Offwidth features an athletic cut, so if you’ve carefully cultivated a beer belly, you need not apply. One other plus: it packs down to a small package, and resists wrinkling.
The jacket features 4 pockets: two handwarmer pockets, a zippered chest pocket, and a roomy interior pocket. The zippered pockets feature YKK zippers with corded pulls. The sleeves both sport adjustable Velcro closures.
I’ve worn this jacket on the golf course, and its stretchy nature allows a full swing without pulling. In addition, it sheds water like a duck; I’ve worn it in light to moderate rain, and it’s kept me completely dry.
A few quick photos
Here’s a close up of the YKK zipper on one of the handwarmer pockets; as you’d imagine, the zippers operate smoothly and zip upward to close, protecting against anything inadvertently falling out:
The drawcords (one at the waist, one on the neck) can easily be cinched up with one hand:
The MH logo appears at the bottom of the right hand sleeve; both sleeves feature Velcro closures: you can easily adjust them to your liking:
Here’s a shot of the drawcord at the collar; you can wear the shell with the collar up, or folded down.
No “Personal Area Network,” no 37 pockets
Unlike the heavily hyped ScotteVest hoodie ($70), you get just 4 pockets with this softshell, and there’s no “network” through which you can thread your earbuds’ cable. Pity.
What you get instead is a great looking, distinctive jacket that has excellent zippers, is water resistant, and is built like a brick house. I own 3 Mountain Hardwear jackets, and this is my favorite, by far.
The Offwidth originally sold for $120, but is being closed out for $84.99 at TravelCountry.com Sizes and colors are a bit limited, but all men’s sizes are still available as of this writing. The (slightly different design and features) women’s version of the Offwidth is also on sale at Travel Country for $49.99
You can see the men’s model here: Men’s Mountain Hardwear Offwidth @ TravelCountry, and the women’s version here: Women’s Mountain Hardwear Offwidth @ TravelCountry (limited to one size, but several other men’s and women’s Mountain Hardwear jackets are available at closeout prices).
March 26, 2011 Update: almost everyone is selling the Offwidth for ~$120 at present. If you search the net, you can find a few online sellers offering lower prices on restricted sizes and colors (SM, XL, etc.) I know this because I’m buying a second jacket today – it’s that great a jacket!!
If you want to see the current Mountain Hardwear line, see their website: Mountain Hardwear
For the record, I have no connection with Travel Country or Mountain Hardwear.
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