A feature-laden, three-layer technical shell to match the best of them, at an affordable price, the Mountain Hardwear Hellgate jacket pretty much does it all. From the ski hill to the skin track it delivers great venting, water resistance and toughness.
It’s got pockets galore that fit most everything, including gloves or goggles inside the coat to keep them warm. There’s even a lanyard in one pocket for your pass. If you’re on the other side of the Atlantic, there’s a small pocket on your sleeve that’s handy for scanning your pass with that signature Euro wave.
The powder skirt is removable, which is nice, because those don’t really work anyway—but it’s there if you want it. At the very least, it helps to keep you warm, but where this jacket excels is in shedding heat.
The front side-pockets double as vents, and there’s enough other storage to empty them if you need to. You have two pit zips, though they’re oddly positioned down in front of the pits, meaning they really only work if it’s windy or you’re moving forward. Mountain Hardwear has a few jackets with this curious design, which might be so the vents don’t conflict with other seams, but that’s just speculation.
The Hellgate is tough and holds up to brushes with rock and trees quite well, and the DryQ Elite material does a better job than GORE-TEX at venting and keeping you dry, in this editor’s estimation. So far, the jacket also does a great job beading water. DryQ Elite usually stands up over time, if past Mountain Hardwear gear is any indication, but the body material is the variable. Here, they seem to have hit it right with this particular nylon hardshell weave.
The Hellgate comes in fairly toned-down colours, with this particular combination of yellows being the loudest—though still nice and civilized.
The fit is modern, with tons of articulation and lots of room in the collar for a scarf or buff, and you can fit a helmet under the hood. It does fit big, however. A size medium hangs pretty low off of me, and I often take a size large. The one feature this jacket is missing is a two-way zipper to access a harness, which would be handy, because it does hang over your kit if you’re ski mountaineering. You might want to consider sizing one down from your usual.
All told this jacket competes with the best, and you’d be looking at $200 more for an equivalent from Patagonia or Arcteryx.
MSRP: $500 CDN
- Dry Q™ Elite works instantly, breathing before you do, and prevents clamminess to keep you dry on the inside and out
- Two zippered chest pockets with mesh lining allow for core venting with pit zips
- Large pit zips allow for easy core venting
- Full alpine hood fits over ski helmet comfortably with two adjustments and a wire brim for custom fit
- Two fleece-lined, waterproof, zippered hand pockets with a single key clip for convenient and secure storage
- Convenient pass pocket on forearm allows for no-fuss lift loading
- Removable powder skirt for varying conditions
- Interior stretch mesh drop pocket with a goggle wipe fits gloves, goggles, or other necessities
- Internal zippered media pocket holds a phone or other device
- Articulated cuffs with velcro adjustment
- Adjustable hem
- Built in RECCO® reflector aids in-bounds rescues
- Fabric Body: Dry.Q® Elite 40 D 3L (100% nylon)
Center Back Length: 31 in / 79 cm
- Apparel Fit: Standard
- Weight: 1 lb 8 oz. / 688 g