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ProView – Mountain Hardwear Women’s High Exposure Gore-Tex C-Knit Jacket

I’m a mountain instructor and guide working in the Pacific Northwest. As the seasons change and I’m well into the routine of spending my days in the mountains, it becomes increasingly important that my gear works just as hard as I do. 

Mountain Hardwear Women's High Exposure Gore-Tex C-Knit Jacket

Product Description: Our lightest 3L GORE-TEX ski shell for turn-earning women who like to go deep and ski off the beaten path, the High Exposure™ Jacket boasts an articulated and flattering full-zip construction and GORE-TEX C-Knit™—stretchy, durable and waterproof fabric with unparalleled breathability.

Offer price: MSRP: $550.00

  • Quality
    (5)
  • Features
    (4)
  • Fit
    (5)
  • Durability
    (4)

Summary

This shell jacket is ideal for the resort skier, snowshoer, or anyone looking forward to heading to the snowy hill to sled and throw snowballs. The pockets are great for stashing snacks, phones, and extra gloves. This isn’t the technical shell that a seasoned backcountry winter recreationist would rant and rave over, as lacks a few specific specs (pit-zips, deeper/baffled chest pockets for skins, bulkier zippers that are durable and easy to grab and maneuver), but it definitely gets applause for being a great lightweight, waterproof ski shell that looks and feels great! 

Overall
4.5

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable

Cons

  • No pit zips
  • Pockets not big enough for skins

Throughout the season, I’ve diligently reduced my pack weight down as much as possible to save my achy joints and overused muscles. And then the timeless questions arise: Is it worth the extra weight to bring the sturdier shell for a coin toss of heavier precipitation or can I get away with one more trip with my ultralight shell? It’s during this time of year that I struggle with the dilemma more than ever.

Weight/Packability

So in late October I put the Mountain Hardwear High Exposure GoreTex C-Knit™ shell-jacket (as well as bib-pants and gloves) into my pack and headed to the hills for what I hoped would be my last climbing trip to the Pass for the year. It was easy to feel good about this choice as the jacket is both sturdy and lightweight, weighing only 13.8oz and being very packable. And as it turned out, the 50% chance of precipitation turned into the first “dump” of the winter season. 

Boyyyy was I happy to have these Goretex layers ready at hand! Leaving the parking lot, I was only barely beginning to see small snowflakes fall from the sky. By the time I made it up to the alpine lakes (only about 2.5 miles up the trail), there was a solid two inches on the trees and ground! And after spending the day romping around and playing in the snow, over 5 inches were coating my car back at the parking lot. It was wild! Winter arrived right before my eyes!

So overall, I give the High Exposure GoreTex C-Knit™ shell-jacket a 4.5 out of 5 stars for its great performance and slightly less than technical features. 

Fit/Style

The fit of the jacket was great. I am 5’5” 145lbs and wear a medium. I found the jacket long enough to go over my rear but would still be compatible with a harness, not getting weird and bunchy with leg loops. The shoulders are wide enough to feel good reaching overhead and digging in the snow, and having a slightly negative ape index I used articulated cuffs with Velcro® adjustment tabs to fit me as needed. The feminine cut of the hips and waist made it feel a bit more stylish than many other shells I’ve owned.

 

Fabric

I was really impressed with the ultralight and packable GORE-TEX C-Knit™ shell fabric, and it seemed to stand up to its waterproof intentions. I never found any leaky seams even under the areas that my backpack rested. The shell is also surprisingly breathable, which since this jacket doesn’t have pit-zips for ventilation is absolutely necessary for aerobic activities. The hood comes with a three-way drawcord adjustment and is very large, making it very compatible with helmets when skiing or climbing.

Features

One thing that I was slightly disappointed by with the design of this shell is the pocket size. I found that they aren’t as deep enough to fit my skins for quick and toasty alpine touring transitions and wish that extra baffle of the material was sown in to accommodate the extra storage space. Additionally, the zippers didn’t quite inspire the confidence of durability, as they are very lightweight and small, making it difficult to grab hold while wearing gloves. So although this feature helps cut down on weight and makes the jacket more packable, I found myself a bit hesitant and frustrated with the delicate-feeling zippers, having to either take off my gloves or using my teeth to help pull the zipper down. 

Eco

Lastly, as an Earth Steward and someone who identifies her life path to the health and healing of the natural world for future generations, I have to ask Mountain Hardwear what their environmental commitments are. After looking on the Mountain Hardwear site, I found the following statement “Our current focus is on putting in place industry-leading systems and reporting mechanisms to enable efficient measurement of our social and environmental performance and to provide increased transparency into our practices.” Although this sounds promising, there was no clear identification of how they do this. So for a company that charges a pretty penny for garments, I have to downgrade my review to a whole point to emphasize the importance of taking care of our home and each other. 

Final Word

This shell jacket is ideal for the resort skier, snowshoer, or anyone looking forward to heading to the snowy hill to sled and throw snowballs. The pockets are great for stashing snacks, phones, and extra gloves. This isn’t the technical shell that a seasoned backcountry winter recreationist would rant and rave over, as lacks a few specific specs (pit-zips, deeper/baffled chest pockets for skins, bulkier zippers that are durable and easy to grab and maneuver), but it definitely gets applause for being a great lightweight, waterproof ski shell that looks and feels great! 

Shop the Mountain Hardwear Women’s High Exposure Gore-Tex C-Knit Jacket on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro
Katlynne Schaumberg
Instructor and Guide

Katlynne has worked as an instructor and guide since 2011. She spends most of her time guiding and stewarding the Cascades, Alaska, and the US Southwest desert. When not working, Katlynne can be found multi-sport human-powered adventuring and seeking ways to better support the community of plants and people that inhabit this earth.

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