Our second review from Mountain Hardwear's Ueli Steck Project, the Quasar pullover is Serious Gear. Along with the Quasar pant, it's clear that MH is not just using Steck as a marketing ploy: these items are designed for Serious Climbers by Serious Climbers. We're talking 12.5 pounds for the complete kit, ten-count-em-ten pieces: upper and lower shell and insulation layers, base layer top, gloves, mittens, backpack, sleeping bag and tent.
The Quasar pullover sacrifices everyday wearability to cater to those who are on a mission to get high fast. It's an anorak format made from MH's own Dry.Q Elite, a bombproof hard shell material offering top notch protection and breathability. So here's the thing: the Quasar pullover is a fantastic jacket for its intended use: fast and light alpine ascents and other high-output activity that requires no-fail storm protection. It is not an everyday jacket, and it's definitely not for everyone, due to the fit and features.
The fit on the Quasar is trim, the material has absolutely no give, no functional elastic for sizing purposes, and only one truly functional adjustment in the hood. All this means it takes a little wiggling to get into, especially for those of us with broad shoulders. If you're not a slim jim and you're looking at the Quasar for frequent use, consider going up a size. Once on the fit is perfect, and the Quasar moves with you in perfect harmony in any direction, but you don't want to take it on and off unless you have to. There is a single hem drawcord that you will never use because the hem is so tight anyway, and dual hood drawcords that tighten up the face opening, which you will use when it's blowing and snowing.
There are no exterior pockets, simply an interior hand-sized open-top elastic mesh stash pocket inside over the left chest, perfect for a hat and gloves, energy bars or cell phone. The cuffs, like the hem, are neither adjustable nor elastic. They do feature a pull-out elastic cuff with thumb holes that will keep the sleeves down as you don or remove gloves, a nice touch. A deep neck zipper provides additional venting, not to mention you need to have it all the way open when putting the jacket on.
The Quasar pullover is a jacket that weighs barely more than 9 ounces and packs away to nothing, yet will protect you from the most insane weather you can find. We wore it in gusts approaching 100mph with rain blowing sideways and it is indeed a fortress, giving you that giddy feeling you only get in dangerous conditions with the comfort of reliable protection. The bottom line: the Ueli Steck line of gear is truth in advertising. It's designed for epic adventure, and while a lot of it will live with you in daily use just fine, the Quasar pullover takes minimalism to an end state. If that's where you want to live, you're going to be love it.