How do you improve a soft shell? Make it lighter, as Mountain Hardwear did with the Torch jacket by welding the seams instead of stitching them. Oh, and make it available in GearFlogger Orange.
Not every seam on this Gore Windstopper piece is welded, but the result is still an impressive weight savings, tipping the scale at barely over a pound. It compresses down to nothing in your pack, so you'll never have an excuse to be without a shell again.
The shell is definitely on the minimalist side, just the way I like it. Two big hand pockets double as vents, with two underarm zips for serious aerobic activity. Velcro cuffs seal tightly, and matching external and internal zip pockets have headphone ports that match up for your MP3 player.
Lack of a two-way zipper and a non-helmet-compatible hood make the Torch unsuitable for alpinists, but the only other quibble are the weatherproof underarm zippers, which are sticky and difficult to operate one-handed. That's just a function of the material being so thin and flexible. For high-output inclement weather pursuits such as hiking/biking/running/skiing the Torch is a standard-setting solution.
One response to “Mountain Hardwear Torch jacket”
I have used the Torch for ice climbng and alpinism quite a bit and have not had an issue with the hood being compatible with my helmet.
Everyone is different I guess but for me it works fine.