Quark is German for "soured/curdled milk turned into a loose, cottage cheese like substance." It’s also "a strongly interacting fermion that is a building block of hadronic matter." One makes me physically ill, the other makes me intellectually insecure. Luckily Mountain Hardwear now has the Quark jacket, which is gear, which makes me feel good about myself again.
At 10oz I would say that jackets can’t get any lighter, but MH also makes the 4oz Ghost anorak for the sole purpose of making liars out of lazy editors like myself. Shame on them for that, but huge kudos for the Quark: for people who believe real jackets come with hoods this is a beautiful combination of form and function. The Incite nylon with Conduit laminate is on the softer (i.e. quieter) side of hard shells, with just a hint of stretch, and is totally weatherproof yet eminently breatheable. The comfy, articulated fit and zWelded finish are superb, and for such a thin material it’s bomber tough.
The corded and brimmed hood is spacious enough for even a large volume helmet. The main zipper has a fleecy chin guard and is tucked securely behind full-length flaps. There are two zippered hand pockets and a spacious internal zippered pocket, and – glory be – two full-size pit zippered pit vents. The hem is corded and the cuffs have velcro adjustments, rounding out a amazingly full feature set on an ultralight jacket. MH even included a fabric loop to hang it from, a small but thoughtful detail that will save you from hanging it off the hood. I set the bar high when someone wants me to pony up two Benjamins for 10oz of fabric, but this jacket easily clears the hurdle. Plus, it makes my ass look small.