Have you heard about Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q yet? After years and years of using Gore-Tex (like everyone else), Mountain Hardwear is making a big splash this year with their new waterproof/breathable technology. The reason this is a big deal, however, is how Dry.Q works, specifically the Dry.Q Elite jackets.
See, with existing waterproof/breathable jackets, you have to generate humidity inside the jacket before your water vapor can start to pass through the jacket. This means that, by the time your jacket starts breathing, you’re already clammy and uncomfortable… so you either take the waterproof jacket off, or open all of the zippers, or just deal being damp on the inside.
With Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q Elite, the laminate is actually air-permeable, which means the moist air radiating from your body can actually move through the jacket in addition to the water vapor itself. The result is a jacket that breathes much more effectively, and one that starts breathing as soon as you start moving instead of having a delayed effect. The jackets are still windproof, but you don’t have to feel like you’re wearing a plastic bag.
For certain climates and weather conditions (for example, the humid American Southeast), this is a HUGE step forward for waterproof shells.
There are actually three versions of Dry.Q — the high-end Dry.Q Elite, Dry.Q Active for highly aerobic activities, and a value option called Dry.Q Core — but, since we’re focusing on Dry.Q Elite, here is a fancy diagram provided by Mountain Hardwear:
Got it? OK, good. Here are the Dry.Q Elite jackets for Fall 2011!
With the launch of Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q Elite, the Mountain Hardwear Drystein Jacket is the flagship offering. This is a top-of-the-line alpine climbing jacket with a bomb-proof shell material; the 3-layer Dry.Q Elite is so breathable, this jacket features stretchy softshell panels in the sides instead of pit zips. Yes, it’s a hardshell that breathes so well, it doesn’t even need pit zips! All of the technical features you need for mountaineering, ski touring, ice climbing, snowshoe trekking, or whatever the heck you’re up to in the winter… but you can move fast without feeling hot and clammy inside your shell.
This one is really cool: a totally waterproof softshell jacket! Repeat: this is a waterproof soft shell. Thought that was an oxymoron, eh? Gone are the days when you needed a “crunchy” hard shell for seriously nasty conditions… now you can have a comfortable, flexible, stretchy jacket that just happens to be 100% weatherpoof, with sonically-welded seams and the high-end Dry.Q Elite laminate for superior breathability. It has all of the thoughtful, technical features of the hardshells, and the “butter jersey” cuffs are the most comfortable I’ve ever tried; this is a real breakthrough, and a legit backcountry shell jacket.
This jacket is a sleeper. What’s special about the Mountain Hardwear Ampato Jacket and Mountain Hardwear Nazca Jacket? Well, these hardshells feature the top-of-the-line Dry.Q Elite waterproof/breathable material… for $235! There is nothing else like these jackets at this price point, period. This is a two-layer Dry.Q Elite shell with a full, hanging liner for maximum comfort. If you’re primarily looking for the immediate breathability of Dry.Q Elite, but don’t need a super-technical mountaineering shell, this has your name written all over it. These don’t skimp on features, either, with full pit zips and adjustable hood & cuffs.
This style is available for men only, so I stuck it at the end of the list, but don’t be fooled; this is an exciting jacket. The Mountain Hardwear Jovian Jacket is their lightest Dry.Q hardshell, with a durable 3-layer construction and the same “always-on” Dry.Q Elite membrane. Mountain Hardwear has replaced their Gore-Tex Pro shell jackets with Dry. Elite jackets, and this is the technical hardshell that replaces the Optimo Jacket and/or Axial Jacket. Dry.Q Elite is air-permeable, which means it allows air to pass from inside the jacket the outside air, not just water vapor, keeping you comfortable and dry without sacrificing any of its windproof qualities.
Mountain Hardwear has a long history of pushing the technical apparel envelope, and we’re proud to be a complete Dry.Q dealer. In fact, Rock/Creek has all of these Dry.Q jackets available right now… so shop Mountain Hardwear at rockcreek.com or come visit one of our stores!