Mountain Hardwear: Christmas take two

WELL now. It has been a while since we have gotten out Mountain Hardwear gear, but we had a lot of gear to look over... so now its time to talk about it.

When we received word that Mountain Hardwear had awarded us their 2011 Expedition Grant, we were super excited. Not only would we be getting over $6,000 worth of gear from them, but we would also be getting $2,000 for equipment needed to film the Pacific Crest Trail. Needless to say, we were very excited. After the multiple days of research, we finally put in the order of what we would need. Not even a week later, we got the four boxes of gear, with word that there were still more things coming. This is our thoughts of the gear so far:

The Monkey Man jacket is something I have been wearing nearly every day since I got it. It's comfortable, snuggly, lightweight, and has Polartec stretch panels for comfort. My girlfriend has said to me many times that she prefers hugging me while I'm wearing it, because it's so soft... (maybe half the reason why I have been wearing it so often). So far, this has been the number one used piece we have gotten.

My next favorite piece is the Optimo Jacket. Originally, when I ordered it, I thought it would be a heavier thicker waterproof jacket. However, when I got it I saw how truly lightweight and simple it was. The GoreTex ProShell makes it super thin and lightweight, while still being breathable. Not to mention the black with red accents is an awesome look. I didn't intend to bring it on the trail, because I know I'm always going to get wet whether from sweat or rain, however, after opening up this bad boy, I decided to bring it along for the PCT and see how it would perform.

Another piece of kit I'm bringing on the trail with me is the Nitrous Jacket. An 800-fill down jacket, weighing less than a pound, I was surprised to see how supple and soft it was. It's super comfortable on, and fits nicely under a hardshell like my Optimo. With its long arms, people like Andy will appreciate it very much. For the standard arm length people like myself, it will be a little long in general, but when it comes to climbing and scrambling up rocks, it won't ride up the arm.

Phantom. A sleeping bag. An awesome sleeping bag.

When I was looking online, the phantom looked and sounded awesome; rated to 15 degrees (F), 800-fil down, and about 2 pounds? Awesome. The one thing I was worried about was the legs. It looked like it would be a little slim around the feet, as it tapered from the shoulders down. However, when I received it, the first thing I did was jump into it, zip it up, and wiggle around. While it was no queen size bed, I wasn't restricted to the point of the discomfort, and had plenty of room to move around. Like the Nitrous, the fabric is soft and comfortable -- needless to say, I'm pumped about carrying this on the PCT, I'm pretty sure it's the lightest weight 15 degree bag out there.

I could go on and on about all the gear we got, but I will leave it at this: Mountian Hardwear is awesome. For their jackets I would go a size up (I'm a medium in everything but in the jackets here, I am definitely a large), but their gear is comfortable, fits nicely, and also looks good! I am proud to sport their gear for the Pacific Crest Trail. Look for more reviews on individual products when we are on the trail.