Sure, you want to keep water out on the outside – but moisture on the inside is no fun either.  Mountain Hardwear’s Super Light Plasmic Jacket handles both of these issues for long days in camp or on the trail.

2014 Mountain Hardwear Super Light Plasmic Jacket Features:

  • Body: DryQ EVAP, 15 Denier, 2.5 layer 100% nylon
  • Fully adjustable hood with single pull adjustment system
  • Water resistant center front zipper and hand zippers
  • Pack and harness compatible zippered pockets
  • Velcro cuff closures
  • Weight: 218g / 7.7oz
  • Standard fit
  • Center back length 28” / 71cm
  • 5 color options
  • MSRP: $200

mountain hardwear super light plasmic jacket green

The Plasmic Jacket Goes on a Diet

Once upon a time, there was Gore-Tex: a waterproof and breathable material that proved to be far more waterproof than it was breathable.  Until a couple of years ago, if you wanted to be active in the rain, you didn’t have many alternatives.

More recently, fabric technology in the breathable waterproof category has advanced in leaps and bounds, with several companies creating proprietary fabrics in search of the ideal performance blend.  Mountain Hardwear’s entry in this arena is DryQ EVAP, which features a system of channels on the interior lining to disperse moisture for faster evaporation away from the skin. The channels effectively increase the surface area of moisture –- picture a water droplet falling onto sand instead of onto a granite surface – which allows for faster evaporation and a drier interior feel.  Even when the interior surface is wet to the touch, DryQ EVAP prevents that clammy feeling associated with rain jackets that breathe poorly.

mountain hardwear dryq evap

Water spilled on the interior surface at the DryQ logo; moisture immediately disperses through multiple channels.

DryQ EVAP is used on Mountain Hardwear’s well-established Plasmic Jacket as well as this spring’s Super Light Plasmic. The Super Light weighs 25% less than the regular Plasmic, and is intended for low-level, long-duration aerobic activities like fast packing or rock climbing or day hiking. It can also be used for moderate trail running, but its breathability isn’t quite sufficient for high level exertion (and to be fair, it isn’t really marketed as a trail runner). Multi-day users will love how compressible the Super Light is, packing down to roughly the size of a running shoe for easy stowage.

mountain hardwear super light plasmic water resistance

Complete water resistance on the exterior

The exterior surface is completely water resistant, and all of the zippers are sealed against seepage.  It’s also a highly effective wind blocker, and the cut is roomy enough to be worn over a midlayer for insulation in cold climates. The interior dimensions actually feel a bit spacious if the jacket is worn over a single layer, and the sleeve lengths are generous for full wrist coverage.

mountain hardwear super light plasmic hood

Great peripheral vision; single-pull tightening hood

One standout feature is the hood, which combines thoughtful design and functionality. The cut of the hood is just right, providing full coverage without hanging over the eyes or impacting peripheral visibility. It also stays securely in place thanks to a single-pull drawstring in the back; once secured, the hood stays in place even in blustery conditions.

The Good

  • Outstanding water resistance
  • Lightweight and compressible
  • Highly functional hood design
  • Excellent price point

The Bad

  • Not quite breathable enough for higher level aerobic activity

The Bottom Line

If your plan is to spend long days or multiple days in rainy or unpredictable conditions, Mountain Hardwear’s Super Light Plasmic is a versatile, lightweight companion to help you stay dry and comfortable.

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About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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