Are you tired of constantly having to drag along your heavy and bulky down jacket? Then maybe the Whisperer can save you from that nightmare. It’s truly one of the best ultralightweight down jackets out there. On top of that, it’s also insanely packable and uses its own pocket to achieve that level of compressibility! Keep on reading to see me reveal every feature this jacket is hiding from you.
Pros And Cons In A Nutshell
- Is both available for men and women
- Can serve as a casual jacket or as a performance jacket
- Extremely lightweight, which makes it the perfect jacket to bring on your next adventure trip
- Is very successful in keeping you warm in extremely cold conditions
- Can be stuffed in its own pocket, which results in a tiny package that’s easy to bring along
- Outer shell manages to protect you from the wind
- Features hydrophobic down
- An elastic cord makes it able to tighten the hem
- Has the right fit – sleeves and hem are the right length
- Pockets are positioned at the right height
- The geese were treated with respect
- This jacket is relatively eco-friendly
- Vulnerable to sharp surfaces like sticks and rocks
- Won’t keep you dry in heavy or prolonged rain
- Sleeves aren’t elastic at the end and don’t feature Velcro tape
- No inner pocket or chest pockets – only two hand pockets
- Hood cannot be tightened
Will This Jacket Keep You Warm?
Let’s talk about its warmth first, because that’s what you really want to know, right? Are you looking for a jacket to accompany you on your mountain expeditions, or just one to walk to work with? Whatever your answer is, the Whisperer performs great in both those tasks.
The jacket alone already keeps you warm in temperatures around the 30s. You can even go below that, but you may want to put on some extra layers to stay warm, preferably fleece clothing. By wearing an outer shell and enough layers, you can even face the terrifying negative numbers.
Although it’s such a light jacket (8.5 oz.), it still manages to keep you warm in freezing temperatures. So how can this jacket obtain such a good weight to warmth ratio? First of all, the Whisperer consists of very high-quality goose down, which does a great job at both insulating and staying lightweight. Its fill power is 800 and its total insulation weighs 3 ounces, which makes it one of the best 800 fill down jacket, especially if you consider its price.
Then there’s also the quality outer shell with its main goal of protecting you from the wind. It’s made of ripstop nylon, which is the perfect material for that specific task.
Its Amazing Weight
Don’t you hate it? Such heavy jackets that allow you to make up excuses to not come outside? This jacket won’t let you make up excuses since it weighs less than your water bottle. That’s also why this jacket is included in my ‘best winter jackets‘ roundup review.
So, besides the high-quality goose, how does the Whisperer manage to stay so lightweight?
Well, every pro has its con, and the downside in this case, is the lack of features. It’s a really simplistic jacket, meaning that it doesn’t feature a lot of extra stuff. There’s no drawcord in its hood, no Velcro on its wrists, only two pockets, ultra-light zippers and no reinforced areas.
Is this a bad thing? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re in search of a jacket with many pockets so that you can bring your entire cookie inventory, then the Gotham 3 is probably a better jacket for you. But if you’re a minimalist in the search of lightness, this is a good thing.
Is this jacket durable?
Now you may be thinking ‘isn’t this jacket not durable since it’s so light? Well, for a part you’re right. Although the ripstop nylon shell is very strong and tightly woven, it’s vulnerable to sharp surfaces since the fabric is very thin. That’s also why it may seem like trash quality at first sight, but that’s not true. The designers made this jacket with a focus on lightness – not tear resistance. So my advice is if you want to use it in environments with a lot of sharp objects around, wear it underneath a tear-resistant jacket.
Will this jacket keep you dry?
While it’s true that the Whisperer doesn’t keep you dry in thunderstorms, it is able to handle normal rainfall. On the other hand, the durable water repellent (DWR) coating is the only thing that stands in between you and the rain. And that’s not a problem… for the first few months. Over time, the DWR wears off, leaving you completely exposed to the harsh reality, which is that you need to care for it.
Besides, even if you get wet, you still have the hydrophobic down that doesn’t care whether it’s wet or not – it insulates in both conditions. It’s down that underwent a treatment, which made it dry quicker and insulate even when wet. This is something that you only see in the newer version of this jacket, which is why many outdated review sites mention that this jacket doesn’t have that feature.
Just remember that neither the DWR coating and hydrophobic down will protect you from prolonged heavy rain. Eventually, it will get soaked and turn into a liability.
Long story short: the Whisperer is best used in extremely cold conditions where little to no moisture is around. It can handle passing rain and heavy snow but won’t protect you from thunderstorms.
Is this jacket comfortable?
For most people, this jacket fits perfectly. This is no surprise since the developers wanted to create a jacket suited for sports like mountaineering and climbing. It has a snug fit but provides enough space for extra layers at the same time. Since there’s no extra space, bagginess or complicated features, it provides an athletic fit, which is also why it’s a great jacket to wear to work.
The sleeves and hem are just about the right length. They’re not too short whenever you put your arms in the air or to the side. It doesn’t fit tightly around your back, chest or shoulders, which proves that it’s made with movement in mind.
Long story short: generally speaking, the Whisperer provides a snug fit with space left for extra layers. It’s a great jacket for you if you’re a mountaineer!
How easy is this jacket to pack?
Another aspect where this jacket scores really good, is its compressibility. You can pack it away into one of its zipped hand pockets, which is by far the feature that I love the most. You simply turn the right-hand pocket inside out, stuff the jacket, and zip it with the two-sided zipper.
A quick tip: when storing your jacket for a long period of time, make sure you hang it in your wardrobe. If you keep it stuffed for too long, it will take its toll on the goose feathers, resulting in a reduced lifespan. This is the case for every down jacket. Here you can find more information about down jacket care.
Back to the review: when you stuff this jacket in its pocket, it’s not bigger than your water bottle, and can easily be stored inside your backpack. I seriously doubt whether there’s a jacket that can be stored away even more compressed! Its simplicity and effectiveness make it a great asset to your minimalist gear, which brings me to my next point: the low amount of features.
Does this jacket lack features?
We all know that a hood without a drawcord to adjust its size can be annoying in many cases, especially when there’s a lot of wind. It keeps flying of your head, resulting in freezing ears and a bad mood. Of course, Mountain Hardwear knows this too. That’s why they equipped this jacket with the average head-size and neck-length in mind. That’s also why its hood fits perfectly for some people, and not that good for others.
Sleeves without Velcro tape are often a liability and a weak spot. They’re inviting cold wind and snow, which is something we really want to avoid. Since the Whisperer doesn’t feature any type of elastic sleeves or Velcro type, all with the reduction of ounces in mind, Mountain Hardwear had to make these sleeves very well-fitting. Unfortunately, they don’t keep cold or moisture out as good as sleeves with elastic cuffs or Velcro tape. The good news is that you can solve this problem by wearing gloves.
This jacket does feature an elastic cord in the hem, so you can easily tighten it. This is especially handy in case the hem is a bit too big for you and isn’t able to keep all the wind out.
Then there are also the two hand pockets, which are big enough to combine several items and your hands. Your hands can enjoy your body warmth since there’s no insulation in these parts, just to save some more weight. Then there’s also the cozy feeling that the insides give you. Mountain Hardwear used a fleece lining in the pockets, which is in my opinion much better than the usual clammy nylon. As for the height of these pockets: they’re at the perfect position, not too high and not too low.
The small and ultralight zippers may make a low-quality first impression, which is far from the truth. They’re made of a light material to bring the total weight down even more. Its lightness doesn’t keep them from zipping smoothly. They won’t fail on you and get stuck. Though, Mountain Hardwear made these zippers a bit too small, which makes them hard to open when wearing bulky gloves.
During my research, I came across many reviews. I reworded them a little but you can find all of them on Amazon. It’s against their policy to copy-paste their reviews.
Here are some examples:
Review 1: I used this jacket for a 4-day hike in the White Mountains. It’s incredibly lightweight and warm. You can easily pack it in your backpack. Since it’s so thin, I can easily fit my rainjacket over it.
I’m 6’0″ tall and weigh 200 pounds and the large size fits great.
Review 2: This jacket is great. At first, you think it’s low quality, but that’s just because it’s made so ultralightweight. I had one small issue with the stitching. This was not a problem because Amazon compensated me for it. So far, I haven’t tested the waterproofing, but I do can tell you that it’s warm.
If for some reason you don’t like this jacket, you may want to take a look at the Gotham 3 by The North Face. This one provides more warmth but is also much bulkier and heavier. It’s also not a jacket designed to be compressed.
Overall, the Gotham 3 is a great casual jacket that can be used for commuting or light outdoor activities. It features DryVent, which is a special waterproof and breathable material. It does a great job of keeping your body heat in and keeping the cold out.
To find more information, you can visit the Gotham 3 in-depth review.
What about the women’s version?
There’s no difference between them besides the total weight. The women’s version weighs only 7.5 ounces and is also available in various colors. Then there’s also the non-hooded version, which is significantly easier to wear under another jacket. The hood is pretty bulky due to the insulation. The non-hooded version is available for both men and women.
How are the geese treated?
You may find it important that the geese are treated fairly, which I support. I also believe that we should respect all animals and not force-feed or live-pluck them. Fortunately, you won’t support any of these gruesome activities by buying this down jacket. The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certification proves that these geese were treated humanely.
Is this jacket climate-friendly?
That’s the cool thing about this jacket. Mountain Hardwear managed to use recycled ripstop nylon and ensure durability at the same time. So your participation in the pollution of Mother Earth is minimized in this case.
Is It Worth The Buy?
So is this jacket worth your money? That depends on what kind of jacket you need. Do you need a jacket for your upcoming freezing adventure trip in Canada? Or do you need a winter jacket to support you on the rainy days in Sweden? It’s true that the Whisperer its waterproofing is not optimal, so it’s best used in very dry and cold conditions. On the other hand, you’re going to love this jacket if you’re an ultralight hiker. It’s one of the best lightweight down jacket for hiking, trekking or mountaineering. It’s simplicity and lightness truly make it the perfect jacket for the minimalists among us.
That’s it for this review. I hope I could help you make a choice! Please leave some feedback by rating this article below. If you have any questions at all, don’t think twice about contacting me.
Stay safe and keep exploring!