Gadling gear review: Mountain Hardwear Jovian Jacket

The line between a once in a lifetime adventure, and a miserable trip that can’t be over fast enough, is a fine one. There is nothing worse than finally visiting your dream destination, only to have inclement weather ruin the experience. The right gear can make all the difference in those situations however, turning a potential disaster into an amazing outing. Mountain Hardwear is one company that has earned a reputation for creating equipment that performs well under the worst of conditions and their Jovian Jacket definitely lives up to that legacy.

Incorporating Mountain Hardwear’s proprietary DryQ technology, the Jovian is a super lightweight shell with a minimalist design that still manages to include all the features you should expect out of your active gear. It has been cut to be form fitting without restricting motion, and when worn while on the go, you barely notice that you have it on. The jacket includes large, zippered pockets that keep their contents well protected from the elements and are conveniently placed to allow access, even while wearing a backpack or climbing harness. Internally, the Jovian features a small zippered pocket, as well as a water bottle holder, which is much appreciated on cold days in the mountains. The large, adjustable hood fits over a helmet, but can still be drawn up snugly, even if you’re not wearing anything on your head at all, and the high quality zippers feature pull tabs that are easy to use, even while wearing bulky gloves.

The Jovian was designed for alpine adventures, but I found that it performed very well in a wide variety of settings – particularly when used with an effective layering system. In warmer weather, the jacket works great on its own, keeping moisture out, while still regulating temperatures, thanks to its outstanding ability to breathe. Adding base and fleece layers underneath extend its use into much colder temperatures, while the jacket’s included pit-zippers provide plenty of ventilation, without compromising protection from the rain or snow. This is a nice feature not found on a lot of similar jackets from other manufacturers, but it is much appreciated when you find yourself overheating despite the weather.As someone who likes to travel as light as possible, I appreciated the fact that this jacket packs so much performance into such a small package. The Jovian weighs in at just 17 ounces and packs down nicely so as to not take up much room in my backpack. I appreciate the fact that I can stuff it in a bag as a “just in case” option, and rest assured that it is there when I need it, without adding bulk or weight to my gear.

The MSRP on the Jovian is $475, which is likely to induce sticker shock for the average traveler who doesn’t need the kind of performance from their gear that this jacket provides. But Mountain Hardwear‘s core audience are hardcore adventurers and mountaineers who travel to some of the most remote places on the planet. Those men and women require that their gear performs at a high level at all times, and as such, they are willing to pay for superior equipment. The Jovian, for example, is the type of jacket that will not only perform well for years to come, but will also withstand the rigors of being used in active outdoor pursuits in some of the worst environments on the planet. In fact, the gear is so good, that Mountain Hardwear offers a lifetime warranty on all of their equipment. Consider that when your cheaper jacket falls apart on your next trip.

If you are the type of traveler who rarely has the need to battle the elements or face inclement weather, than this probably isn’t the jacket for you. But if your travels frequently carry you to remote places, where you either endure the conditions or miss out on the adventure, than Mountain Hardwear has built a shell that will serve you well for many years to come. Its ability to keep you warm and dry, while not restricting your movement, makes this jacket worth every penny to the audience for which it is designed. The Jovian gets a big thumbs up for adventure travelers, mountaineers, climbers, cross country skiers, and anyone else who takes their outdoor pursuits very seriously – rain or shine.