The Ghost Whisperer from Mountain Hardwear is a light, versatile jacket that offers quite a bit of insulation inside a thin, packable shell.
- Where to buy: Amazon, REI
- Best for: Skiers who don’t like to have a lot of extra bulk as they ride. Good for those who want additional versatility, as well as those who ski in different conditions.
- Pros: This jacket is both lightweight and offers decent weather resistance. It’s incredibly warm for its size. The thin material is compact and easily packable. Flexible and gives you plenty of mobility.
- Cons: Lacks many additional features, most notably a hood cinch and chest pocket. Will likely be too simple for some. It could be more durable, as well.
- Alternatives: Arc’teryx Cerium SL, RAB Microlight, Eddie Bauer MicroTherm
Why Trust Me
I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent ample time looking at and analyzing how the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer jacket both feels and operates out on the mountain.
The Ghost Whisperer is a lightweight down jacket with a lot of features packed into a rather unobtrusive design. It manages to be incredibly versatile and warm without getting in your way. It’s also easy to compress and highly packable. Though you’re going to lose a bit in terms of long-term durability and strength, the ability to wear it both on its own or as part of a larger setup is something all skiers will be able to enjoy.
Weight and Durability
For me, the Ghost Whisperer’s number one feature is its weight. Coming in at under 10 ounces, the jacket is made for people who want or need to cut pounds as they ride. There aren’t a ton of extra features, which is something you’re always going to see when you go for a slimmed-down design, but there’s a lot to like when it comes to construction. This model is a minimalist’s dream.
However, as with any lightweight clothing item, you’re definitely sacrificing some durability with this purchase. The Ghost Whisperer does hold up better than many other thin jackets when it comes to tears and general wear resistance, but that does not mean it’s incredibly tough. It won’t last as long as medium or heavy options. It will also tear if used a lot over time. Even if you expect to make some repairs, that’s important to note.
Light, but Warm
Despite this jacket’s thinner construction, there’s a lot of insulation here. In fact, it has one of the most impressive weight-to-warmth ratios I’ve ever seen. That adds to its general versatility and makes it a great option that you can wear without any other layers on brisk days or put it together with other items when you need to bundle up. Just know it doesn’t quite have what it takes to stand up extremely cold layers, but that’s expected with lighter jackets.
I was particularly impressed by the 800- fill power down construction, which goes a long way in ensuring the wind doesn’t get in and hit your skin. This isn’t the warmest jacket on the market, but it does much better than other thin models. The good materials go a long way towards protecting you from rain, wind, and snow.
Weather Resistance and Packability
As mentioned, Mountain Hardwear takes special steps to ensure the Ghost Whisperer keeps you cozy. A part of that is the solid weather protection. The jacket utilizes a special DWR coating to prevent water build up. While I find that technology to be hit and miss depending on the company using it, it does a good job here. You won’t see any seepage through the outer layer.
The only time the jacket doesn’t hold up well is in particularly wet, stormy conditions. That doesn’t mean you can’t wear it in such environments, it just means it isn’t made to stand on its own. If you want to bring the Ghost Whisperer with you, pack an extra shell.
Something else that’s worth noting about this jacket is how easy it is to pack. This is one of the most compressible jackets I’ve seen in some time. Though it doesn’t come with the ability to stuff down into its own pocket or sack, it still gets so small that you can easily and quickly put it into just about any pack. You won’t even notice it’s there.
There aren’t a ton of extra features with this jacket. Some might not like that, but minimalists will appreciate the “essentials only” approach. There’s no adjustability on the cuffs, but they still do a good job of ensuring no cold gets in. You also get two hand warmer pockets that sit up on the body in a way where you can easily access them.
Unfortunately, there are no internal stash pockets here. That’s one feature I would have liked to see. The zipper is also quite small. You won’t notice that issue if you wear light, flexible gloves, but it can be annoying when you’re trying to operate your jacket in sturdier clothing.
Price and Value
The Ghost Whisperer is a high value jacket. Though it doesn’t quite give you a price reduction like similar models, it still isn’t quite as pricey as some of the more expensive premium jackets on the market. In addition, while the Ghost Whisperer isn’t the most durable, it still has a solid enough construction to stand the test of time. I always give extra value to longevity. That, mixed with the excellent performance, makes this a solid investment in my mind.
What I Like
My favorite part of the Ghost Whisperer is the fit and feel. This is one comfortable jacket, and that’s mainly due to the snug-but-loose design. You get a lot of stretchiness and flexibility, two aspects that I personally love in a ski jacket, and there’s no restriction in key areas like the shoulders, chest, and upper back. All of that then comes with no extra bagginess.
Going off the lightweight design, this jacket is easy to pack. Though this won’t be a big bonus for everyone, but I always like it when I can easily store something out of the way. If you value jackets that don’t take up a lot of room, you’re going to greatly enjoy the Ghost Whisperer.
What I Dislike
My biggest problem with the Ghost Whisperer is its durability. That might seem like an odd complaint when considering a thin jacket, but I would have liked a tougher shell. This won’t fall apart at the first sign of rough weather. However, it also isn’t going to give you the same toughness seen in similar designs. You will experience some wear and tear after a season or two. That goes double if you ski a lot in tough conditions.
This also falls a bit short when it comes to features. There are a few, and they work well for the most part, but I would have liked more. I’m a big fan of jackets going above and beyond. The Ghost Whisperer doesn’t do that. None of the areas are reinforced, the wrists lack Velcro, the zippers are small, and the hood doesn’t come with a drawcord. All of those areas could have been touched up.
The Ghost Whisperer is an undoubtedly solid jacket, but there’s nothing wrong with looking at something similar. These all give you great traits in a different package:
- Arc’teryx Cerium SL – This lightweight jacket comes from one of the most trusted brands in snow apparel. Not only does it almost never get in the way, but it also offers a ton of warmth for its weight. You’re going to pay more for this option, and it’s not the toughest jacket out there, but it’s a great choice if you want a warm-but-light model.
- RAB Microlight – The Microlight is not quite as airy as the other options in this section, but it still does a great job of keeping you comfortable. The 750-fill power down could be better, but I like this due to its ample features. It’s also incredibly weather-resistant thanks to the hydrophobic down and DWR coating.
- Eddie Bauer MicroTherm – If you want a cheaper option, the MicroTherm is a solid choice. This lightweight jacket is stylish and sleek. It also fits well and does a good job of keeping you warm even when conditions get wet. It is thin, but you get that with significantly reduced bulk. A good choice for skiers looking for a piece of a larger ensemble.
How much insulation does this jacket have?
There are 2.78 ounces of down inside the jacket, providing you with a good amount of warmth.
Is this jacket flexible?
Though the materials are not made to stretch, the jacket comes with a proper fit that enables full range of motion.
What is the Ghost Whisperer’s fit?
The Ghost Whisperer has an active fit, which is a trim fit that’s a bit looser than what you’ll find in similar models.
How packable is this jacket?
It can easily be packed down and fits into a pocket.
All things considered, the Ghost Whisperer is a solid jacket from a solid company. The entire design does exactly what it sets out to do, and doesn’t get in your way when doing it. It’s flexible, lightweight, and packable.
Though there aren’t a ton of additional traits, nor is the durability up to snuff, it still serves as a great choice for skiers who want something that keeps them warm and insulated without packing on extra weight.