For Fall 2011, Mountain Hardwear officially gives all things Gore the boot in favor of their new Dry.Q fabrics. I have two pieces from the Fall lineup — the Snowtastic Jacket with Dry.Q Elite and the Effusion Power Jacket, featuring Dry.Q Active technology. The Dry.Q Active Effusion Power Jacket is built for running, but I’ve been using it running, biking and backcountry skiing for 3+ months and all I can say is I’m sold.

Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q Active Effusion Jacket Features:

  • Body mapped design with Dry.Q Active panels (as tested)
  • DWR finish for water repellency
  • Reflective print for ultimate visibility
  • Thumb loop with half-glove cuffs in a pinch
  • Chest stash pocket
  • Flat-lock seam construction
  • Colors: Blue Chip/Grill, Bonfire/Grill (tested), Cool Grey/Grill
  • Athletic fit
  • Weight: 12 oz
  • MSRP: $150
  • Available Fall 2011

Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q Active Effusion Power Jacket Review

This new jacket hit my porch in January. The entire package and presentation was fit for a king as Mountain Hardwear introduced their new Dry.Q Active technology. I have one of only a handful of Dry.Q Active Effusion Power Jacket samples and haven’t hesitated putting it to the test. Honestly, it’s the perfect jacket for most of my athletic cold-weather adventures and has proven to be a great jacket for me.

A quick rundown of the top features without-a-doubt includes the unique thumb loop/half glove design. I’m a huge fan of thumb loops for trail running jackets as it adds hand protection on-the-fly without the need for gloves. With the Effusion Power Jacket, you not only get thumb loops, but a deployable half-glove on top of that. It’s definitely unique and works well when needed. The rest of the kudos goes to the overall body mapped design and fabrics.

The fit is very athletic. I received a Large, and found it to fit efficiently with little extra room throughout. I was able to comfortably wear a medium-weight base layer or a short-sleeve cycling jersey underneath, but I couldn’t wear anything thicker than that. The sleeves are extra-long, which makes me wonder if a Medium could be a slightly better fit. As it was, the extra bunching in the wrist-area was only a bother when trying to find my watch.

The body-mapped design truly works well as the wind protection is superb and water repellency is top-notch while back and side panels quickly wick away moisture.

Thinking back on all the hours of use I’ve had with the Effusion Jacket, nothing says more than my backcountry ski trip to the Tetons. Day 2 was windy as a stormfront approached. The wind slowed and the skies opened up with the fury only the Tetons can unleash. The entire climb up the skintrack, I felt comfortable. The wind never penetrated my core and snow melted and beaded up without penetrating the jacket. When the weather finally got too snowy and cold for just the Effusion, I slapped a hardshell on top and I kept warm and comfortable. Though the back panels would be quite damp, it always dried out quicker than expected.

For cold-weather trail running, the piece is absolutely perfect. It blocks the wind in the front yet breathes well and offers an athletic, efficient fit. For road biking, it functions equally as well. On my long ascent on a cold morning up American Fork Canyon, I stayed comfortable and on the descent, the front-facing fabrics blocked the wind extremely-well. The versatility of this jacket and the Dry.Q Active fabrics are awesome.

It’s hard to be too picky about a pre-production sample, but I have to mention a few things. Tops on that list is the thumb loop and half glove. While it worked well and I really do dig it, I was able to put more stress on some of the seams than it can handle. I popped a few stitches every so often while engaging the thumb loops, but no seams ever pulled out completely. It also needs an improved closure at the hem as it just looks unfinished. I’m also wishing mine had the back pocket like the production models should.

NOTICE: The jacket I received was a sample primarily to test the Dry.Q Active fabrics. For production, the front-facing panels of the Effusion Power Jacket will be built with Mountain Hardwear’s proprietary Airshield Active fabric, which differs slightly from the Dry.Q Active as tested. Airshield Active is a wind-blocking fabric but is not waterproof like Dry.Q Active. To get the full Dry.Q Active fabric experience, you’ll have to opt for the hooded version and give up the thumb loops with half-gloves.

Good Dry.Q Active Effusion Jacket

  • Perfect combo of body-mapped softshell fabrics
  • Keeps you dry on-the-fly and dries out in a jiffy
  • Nice collar diameter and height for warmth
  • Killer for backcountry skiing, trail running or even road biking
  • Thumb loops with half glove is sweet
  • Abundant reflective materials to be seen

Bad Dry.Q Active Effusion Power Jacket

  • Sample seemed unfinished in front at he bottom of the zipper. Maybe a snap or revised drawcord placement is in order.
  • I wish my sample had a back pocket (production specs show it will)
  • Thumb loop stiching popped in a couple of places

Bottom Line: Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q Active Effusion Power Jacket

Mountain Hardwear is steering the boat in a new direction this Fall and with a great piece like the Dry.Q Effusion Power Jacket, they should continue to thrive. This jacket is perfect for cold-weather aerobic activities. It keeps the elements at bay and breathes well at the same time. Look for this one in the Fall, but keep in mind that it will not feature Dry.Q Active front panels as this one did.

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About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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