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Mountain Hardwear Windstopper Jacket : Keep the Chill Out

Before I left for a camping and trekking trip in Bhutan, I planned on bringing a puffy, quilted down parka, then decided to forego the Michelin Man look for the sleeker, more stylish Mountain Hardwear Windstopper Jacket. It's synthetic fill is just as warm and compressible as down, with the added bonus of superior wind protection.

At 3 a.m., under clear, star-studded skies in the Himalayas, it can get pretty darn cold. So, when I had to crawl out of my tent for pit stops (yes, it was really a pit in the ground) in the wee hours, I was glad I had my Windstopper Insulated Jacket. Despite the subfreezing temps, I stayed toasty warm.

This trim, fitted parka is lightweight, versatile, and does an amazing job of cutting the chill, even at 14,000 feet elevation! I tested the women's jacket (it's also available in men's sizes), which flares out a bit at the bottom. When I wanted more heat, I just tightened the hem with the adjustable elastic drawstring to keep out the cold mountain air. I liked having the option of removing the zippered hood on days I preferred wearing a hat (I'll be keeping the hood on for cold chairlift rides during ski season.)

I love the slim cut of this jacket--it's lower volume than other warm parkas I've had in the past-- because I can easily wear it under a rain shell without any binding. It's also idea for wearing around town; I get the warmth I need without looking like a mountain lady.

Mountain Hardwear has thought of other important details, as well, such as articulated sleeves for greater range of motion and extra long pit zips (which came in very handy when I needed to regulate my temperature during my pre-trek training hikes in the mountains near Seattle).

Bottom Line: The Windstopper parka is ideal for cold weather activities. This parka will get you comfortably through cold nights and chilly days, wherever you go.--J.I. (July 07)

Price: $240, Available Fall '07

BUY ONLINE : , 88x31 REI Logo,

Manufacturer's Site: www.mountainhardwear.com

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