There’s one obvious reason to use a down jacket, and that’s to keep you warm. Really warm. If you’re overnighting high on a mountain, huddled in a tent or a refuge, a down jacket will almost certainly be an essential part of your winter kit bag. It’s not just night times either - often even when you’re exercising you’ll appreciate the extra insulation that this warmest of materials offers.

There are plenty of factors when choosing a down jacket of course: The down fill (how much warmth you get from the amount of down - the better the quality, the less you need for the equivalent warmth), the outer fabric, the features, hood, and so on.

“It ticks just about every down jacket box you can imagine."

More recently, the use of a durable water repellency that is fused directly with the down - meaning it keeps warm even when wet - has also become an important factor. If you’re going to be out in inclement conditions (which, let’s face it is likely if you’re outside in winter) it’s worth thinking about how all your gear will handle the wet, but particularly your down jackets - old style down doesn’t just stop warming you when it’s wet, it gets heavy too, slowing you down as well as cooling you down.

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Thankfully, Mountain Hardwear’s StretchDown RS jacket doesn’t feature old style down and in fact it ticks just about every down jacket box you can imagine. Firstly, the down is water resistant thanks to its Q.Shield treatment on a 750 fill down (that’s a pretty high fill). The face fabric feels lovely but the real bonus of this jacket is that it is very durable, and also really resistant to wind, water and rock.

So far so good, but what made this jacket really stand out for us was the stretchiness of the jacket – it’s amazing. Mountain Hardwear explain it uses a ‘stretch-welded channel construction’. What this means is that it’s not stitched, but welded, so you can get a whole lot more movement out of it, making it ideal for climbing or mountaineering. The stretch means that it stays with you where you move, which is great when you’re reaching for those high holds.

Although the hood doesn’t have any draw cords, it works well and is really warm. If you’re after a versatile and seriously warm mountaineering jacket, this is a great option.

Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded RS Down Jacket

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Shot on location in Chamonix