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Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Collection – Innovative And Versatile Insulated Clothing

Over the last few seasons, Mountain Hardwear has been making waves in the outdoor industry with the release of numerous innovative new products. One of their more interesting collections is the new Stretchdown program.
  •  Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Light Pullover

    Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Light Pullover

On the surface, the Stretchdown pieces look like many other down-filled jackets; they feature 700-fill responsibly sourced down for insulation housed in a unique-looking shell fabric. And while these are solid insulation and construction choices, you have to look closer to understand what makes the Stretchdown collection so special. You see, most down-filled jackets employ extremely lightweight shell fabrics to further capitalize on down’s low weight and excellent compressibility. On the surface, this makes sense, but as anyone who has owned these types of jackets can attest, they are not the most durable garments. The shells are highly susceptible to tears and punctures, and puffy jackets with duct-tape patches are a common sight at most outdoor gatherings.

Realizing the shortcomings of these traditional shell fabrics, Mountain Hardwear constructs the Stretchdown jackets with an innovative stretch-woven fabric that is light, has built-in stretch and is surprisingly durable. This material, coupled with some clever baffle construction, results in garments that offer exceptional abrasion resistance (for such lightweight fabrics) and excellent ease-of-movement thanks to the built-in stretch.
  •  Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Parka

    Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Parka

Of all the garments in the Stretchdown program, my two favourites (the Stretchdown Light Pullover and the Stretchdown Parka) reside on the opposite ends of the performance spectrum. The Stretchdown Light Pullover is focused on efficiently delivering warmth, either as a mid-layer in colder conditions or as an outer layer in less extreme weather, without restricting movement or adding unnecessary weight. This is a great piece for cool weather cragging or as a mid-layer when ice climbing. And thanks to its eye-catching baffle pattern, the Stretchdown Light Pullover is sufficiently stylish for urban use. On the more urban end of the spectrum, we have the Stretchdown Parka. With its longer length, cozy hood and attractive patterning, this is the perfect garment for cold-weather urban adventures or for keeping the chill at bay at the campsite. And because the Stretchdown Parka uses the same stretch-woven fabric found in the other Stretchdown products, it offers a surprisingly unrestrictive fit relative to its length.

These, and the rest of the garments in the Stretchdown collection, deliver exceptional real-world performance and should be a top choice for any climber who values durability, low weight and ease-of-movement in an insulated jacket.
You can find out more about the Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown collection and other great Mountain Hardwear products at www.mountainhardwear.com.

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Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 35 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid-80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.