Mountain Hardwear Thorsun Jacket
When choosing the right shell I find the fit extremely important. What I am looking for is a jacket that provides maximum freedom of movement without being too boxy or baggy, yet has enough space inside to accommodate a layer or two. The Torsun jacket has a flattering, somewhat relaxed cut that allows my arms to move freely without lifting the hem or pulling the cuffs when I raise my arms. There is ample of space for a mid layer. I tested it with Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic insulated jacket and a heavy fleece and I was happy to find the midlayer does not create bulge nor does it tamper with the overall fit of the jacket. As a matter of fact, the Thermostatic jacket slides underneath with such ease it felt like they were made for each other.
The sleeves are nice and long designed with an asymmetrical cuff which means that the top of your hand stays protected from element while mobility of your hand is not compromised. I noticed this feature made a difference especially while using tools such as ice axe or poles which are much easier to handle without the sleeve getting in a way. The cuffs adjust with velcro tabs. These tabs hold the sleeve cinched down when needed and are easy to adjust even if wearing gloves.
The hood can be adjusted in three ways. There is a cord in the rear to cinch it down, hidden cord to tighten around the neck area and moldable wire brim. The hood works best if used with helmet. It feels a little too spacious without one and even when cinched to the maximum, strong headwind caused the hood to slip off my head twice when I was not wearing helmet. I also found the rear adjustment cord not to be the easiest one to work with when wearing gloves or if my fingers were numb from cold. What I like about the hood is the wire brim which can be easily adjusted and after the adjustment is done it holds its shape well.
Fleece lined collar is another very nice touch. It feels very good to have your chin rub on something smooth and soft when the jacket is zipped all the way.
The zipper itself can be tough to get started but that is a nature of waterproof zippers and it seems to be getting better with more frequent use.
Pit zips are not available on this jacket. Instead the design features mesh pocket liners that act as vents when the pockets are open and can cool your torso. I usually don’t sweat heavily and so far this approach worked for me; however the pockets have to be empty to get the full benefit of this feature.
The pockets are placed at about chest height. This placement makes it possible to have an access to the stoved items with harness or pack belt on. They are of a medium volume, will hold a snack bar, and perhaps a small map or a guide. Personally I prefer not to have hard rigid objects pressed against my ribs when hiking and climbing so I don’t carry cell phone or altimeter in these pockets even though it would fit perfectly fine. I would prefer the pocket zippers to be placed closer to the main zipper. Reason for that is that when wearing my backpack, the shoulder straps get close to the zippers and I find the zippers little bit hard to open and close at that time.
The jacket performed well in rain, keeping me dry without overheating while hiking in moderately steep terrain.
While there are improvements that can be made in my opinion the Torsun offers a good value. I would recommend it to a friend