Mountain Hardwear Effusion Jacket Review
Mountain Hardwear has introduced a slick new light weight jacket built to rock it out with you during all of your aerobic activities. The Effusion is a jacket that has been designed to ensure that outdoor enthusiasts are covered when it comes time to be active.
Definitely a minimalist jacket the Effusion is super light weight and has only one chest pocket which keeps you focused on the task at hand, shredding! With MHW's new Dry Q Active breathable fabric they wanted to give us exactly what we needed to stay protected and nothing more. A DWR finish on the chest and a breathable panel on the back allow great protection where you expect it to be in any active wear piece. The flat stitched seams prevent chaffing and the articulating elbow stitch allows this jacket to move comfortably as you run, jump or hop down the trail.
One of my biggest pet peeves with gear is when it is needlessly over built. I hate nothing more than carrying more than I need or want because I don't have the options to ditch "features". For the Effusion you have the simplicity of one chest pocket (designed to hold a music device) and sleeves that can convert into mittens should you choose to ditch gloves.
The Dry-Q Active is MHW's answer to the other breathable fabrics on the market and I have to say they have done a pretty good job. I ran, biked, ice climbed, and skied with this jacket and it was always doing its thing. You see MHW uses a new body mapping tech to build their tech gear specifically in a manner that is useful to athletes allowing breathability where it needs it and not where it is not. As a technical jacket it was comfortable but a bit tight fitting which is either due to my bacon and beer diet or just because MHW thinks to be medium means to be rail thin and it really fits like a small. Either way it was not a major detraction until I was wearing a long sleeve base layer under it at which time the forearms were a bit snug and I am no Popeye so not sure what gives with this.
I also noticed that when I was really cranking and sweating a bit the moisture was building up in the chest pocket where I had my camera which set me into panic mode over possibly screwing it up. I did use the full length zipper to help regulate the temp but I always seemed to be just behind the power curve. After all the DryQ Active is supposed to help me out with moisture build up and perhaps it does but there is really no way for me to say for sure, other than to note that I am fairly certain it breathed better than a plastic bag. But seriously it did it's job well and I was never soaked.
I must say I think the technology that MHW is utilizing is pretty good. Yes, it breathes adequately with out much moisture build up. Yes, it wears well and the stitching does not cause bunching or chaffing issues. Yes, it is a useful and practical jacket for aerobic activities. Some other features that I kinda dug were the longer sleeves and built in thumb hole that provide just enough hand protection to stave off any frost nip on glove less winter runs. It seems to me that this is a perfect jacket for cold days where you will be working hard enough to sweat and although it does breath and wick moisture I think it can get a bit warm if you are working hard in temps higher than about 45 F. I used it from 0 F to 50 F and only on the 50 F days did I wish I could strip the layer. Which also brings me to the point that there is no way to carry this jacket should you need to ditch the layer, it does not stuff in a small sack so you're left throwing it in a pack or tying it around your waist which is lame, very lame.
All in all I would buy this jacket, but I think I would make sure and fit it first because it is cut with those athletes in mind that are thin as a rail and long limbed...neither of which am I!