ProView – Mountain Hardwear Women’s High Exposure Gore-Tex C-Knit Jacket
My first impression of the High Exposure C-Knit Jacket was that it was impressively thin and flexible. My other backcountry shells in the same category are stiffer and a little bulkier – this one feels like a more buttery raincoat. I also really like the attention Mountain Hardwear paid when designing the fit – a lot of outdoor brands seem to struggle with women’s clothing and either make them too tight or too boxy, but this one hits just right on the Goldilocks meter. It can easily fit a few layers underneath, but has enough of a womens specific cut that it doesn’t feel too huge with a single layer underneath.
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
The High Exposure C-Knit Jacket is a top-notch, breathable, and windproof jacket for those looking for a lightweight, packable backcountry shell.
- Great fit
- Small internal pocket
- No underarm zips/vents
Before snow had fallen on my usual local touring spots, I took this jacket on a brisk fall mountain bike ride. Our decision to go biking with 40MPH wind gusts was questionable, but I was incredibly happy to have the High Exposure Jacket with me. Thanks to its packability it was easy to stash in my small bike pack and once we reached the upper part of the trail with minimal tree protection from the wind I put it on immediately. The unexpected pluses that I loved about this jacket on this occasion were that the hood fit (and stayed) over my bike helmet easily, The tapered, velcro cuffs kept the wind from going up my sleeves and didn’t catch on my bike handles, and, best of all, the fleece on the inside of the jacket at the top of the zipper was soft against my face but still easy to breathe with while biking uphill — I immediately noticed this and had to inform all of my bike partners but it was something I hadn’t thought about needing in a jacket but was instantly appreciating.
Once some snow finally came I took this jacket to a nearby backcountry spot with a small glacier to ensure snow. Where I parked it was ~40 degrees and partly sunny and at the top it was ~28 degrees with blowing snow and 45MPH constant winds. On both this trip and while biking I was very impressed with just how windproof this jacket is. The wind is my least favorite, albeit regular nemesis, while outdoors, and this jacket kept me feeling safe and protected during even the biggest gusts. I’m also someone that tends to strip layers quickly on the ascent, and, though I would still prefer that this jacket had underarm zippered vents, was noticeably cooler while hiking thanks to the C-Knit fabric breathability. This fabric is truly awesome and lives up to its claims – breathable, lightweight, packable, and protective. When I’m teaching classes, packability in particular is critical because my pack is so full of other gear for a lesson that when I need to shed layers I don’t want to have to fuss with cramming something in awkwardly.
In addition to the material of the jacket, I also appreciated the chest zippered pocket that I could easily and quickly stash my phone, chapstick, sunscreen stick, snacks, etc. in as well as the internal goggle pocket that I was able to fit my mirrorless camera in between shots to protect it from the elements. In addition, the large side pockets were easy to access even with my pack hip belt on. There is also an internal zippered phone pocket – this was just a little too tight for my old iPhone 7 with a case on it. Another inch of space or a longer zipper would be a quick fix for this feature. The size of this pocket still works for other small essentials, though. Finally, features like the cinching hood, tapered velcro cuffs, and powder skirt were all well designed and further helped keep the elements out.
The Final Word
The Gore-Tex C-Knit fabric used for this jacket is awesome. If Mountain Hardwear added underarm zippered vents and a larger internal zip pocket, this jacket would be unstoppable. The High Exposure is a great option for a lightweight, backcountry shell as well as a staple for other adventures like biking and hiking and fits well and looks great, too.
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About the Gear Tester
Originally from the mountains of Maine, Kelly has been a ski patroller since she was 16 years old. Her love of the outdoors drove her to a degree in Outdoor Recreation Business Administration followed by an M.A. in Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. Since graduating Kelly moved to Colorado and still patrols, manages a fitness & cycling program for a large climbing gym and works full-time in corporate wellness. When she isn’t helping improve the fitness of others or teaching the next generation of patrollers, you can usually find her on or near rocks – jumping off of them on her skis, avoiding them while guiding friends through whitewater, biking over them, or climbing to the tops of them. Connect with her on Instagram @Kelly_ventures.