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Gear of the Week: Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q Elite Jacket

Gear of the Week: Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q Elite Jacket

[ December 17, 2010 - 12:53pm ]
Mountain Hardwear DryQ
Mountain Hardwear’s new Dry.Q collection is highly breathable, even if you're a heavy sweater.

Mountain Hardwear’s new Dry.Q collection, which includes the Dry.Q Elite jacket, takes aim at what the company calls outmoded waterproof-breathable membranes that don’t start breathing until you get hot—and maybe even clammy—leaving you susceptible to the uncomfortable sweat-chill cycle. The Dry.Q membrane, which boasts an impressive 40,000-mm waterproof rating and “always-on” breathability transports your body’s heat before it becomes moisture vapor. That means you stay dry and comfy, whatever the weather.

Last weekend I tested the jacket in a La Nina wind-whipper at Mary Jane. When I parked my car, the thermostat read 12, so I booted up in the driver’s seat—car doors closed, engine running. When I could delay the inevitable no longer, I stepped out into the swirling, blowing snow and didn’t feel a thing. Windproof? I’ll say.

The jacket isn’t insulated, and I was probably one layer short for the day’s low ambient temp, so the first couple chair rides were chilly (my fault, not the jacket’s). Now, I’m not a heavy sweater, but I’m in early season condition, so it didn’t take more than 15 or 20 turns in the Jane’s Sluice Box moguls to get my heart pumping and my body temperature up. Normally after a run like that, even on a cold day, I find myself tugging on zippers as I madly attempt to ventilate before I overheat in the lift maze. And normally, even on a not-so-cold day, I madly zip back up as soon as the chair departs the bull wheel and that first gust of wind gives me the chills. By the end of the long morning, my legs were whining and my skin was radiating heat. But I didn’t really notice because I wasn’t suffocating in it. True to its promise, the jacket was breathing as hard as I was.

Features: seam taped, pit vents, 3-D hood adjustment, zip-off powder skirt, stretch wrist cuffs, internal media pocket with headphone passthrough

MSRP: $450

The Dry.Q Elite for men and women will be available in Fall 2011. For more, visit

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