Product Review: The Mountain Hardwear Kelvinator Down Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Kelvinator down jacket

The Kelvinator down jacket by Mountain Hardwear is a 650 down jacket made with Mountain Hardwear’s Q Shield down insulation.

Q Shield is Mountain Hardwear’s proprietary treated down. The down is treated with a special water repellant solution that prevents the down from absorbing water, which means your jacket will stay drier longer than a jacket with untreated down.  Of course, for wet conditions, synthetic fill is generally better, and though down is still not as good when wet, certain treatments give it a little bit of water repellency.  Read our comparison on synthetic vs. down fill here.

The Q Shield resists moisture and retains it’s loft even when wet, keeping the insulating properties working and keeping you warm.

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The jacket weighs about 1 lb, 2 ounces, which is about 590 g.  Of course this will vary slightly with size.  But if you compare this to a down sweater, such as the Patagonia down sweater which weighs in on average 371 g or the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer which weighs around 219 g, it is obviously much heavier and won’t pack as small.

The fabric body is made of 20D nylon rip, which is 100% nylon and tear resistant.

As mentioned above, the jacket is 650 down, which is not as compressible as higher fill weight downs, like 800. This means the jacket will be puffier when you’re wearing it. It’s hard to get anything over top of this jacket, like a gore-tex jacket or shell since it’s really puffy.


  • Full length zipper with a storm flap behind the zipper
  • Two zippered hand pockets.
  • Insulated, low profile hood.
  • 2 hem drawcords on waist are great at blocking out the wind.
  • Micro shim chin guard to prevent the jacket from irritating your face and nose.
  • Zippered interior pocket.
  • Pocket on the inside that can be used to store goggles or gloves on the inside.
  • Comes with it’s own stuff sack. The jacket fits into the stuff sack with plenty of room to spare.
  • Webbing loop inside the pocket, so when you stuff the jacket into it’s own pocket you can hang it on your harness or backpack

Baffles are stitched in a specific way that keep the down where it needs to be, keeping your core heat warm. There are big baffles in the front and back of this jacket, smaller baffles on the arms and hood that really hold the heat in.  The outer shell is a nylon ripstop with a water resistant finish.  It’s not a waterproof jacket, but great in wind with a small amount of water protection.

The hood fits great over a hat, but it’s not a helmet compatible. The inside of the jacket, including the hood, is a comfortable stretchy lycra.

Very warm and lofty down jacket. It is very compressible and lightweight for being 650 fill rather than a higher fill.


The Q Shield allows the jacket to function well when wet. It works better than most down jackets in soggy or humid conditions. Warmer and drier than traditional down.

Stitch through quilting makes the jacket easy to compress and pack.

Elastic cuffs block out wind and seal in the warmth. Comfortable to wear all day.  Stows away neatly and small in it’s own pocket.

The jacket has a standard fit, it does not fit particularly large or small. It fits true to size.


This jacket has a slightly too short for tucking into a harness comfortably. It’s not quite long enough. It also tends to creep up when you’re wearing a backpack. When sitting down, it tends to ride up a little bit, so consider this if you have a long back.

It’s very bulky, it’s hard to wear anything over this jacket.  If you get the one with the hood, note the hood is not helmet compatible.

The bottom line

Overall, this is a great jacket with plenty of room underneath so you can layer underneath it.  Baffling gives insulation all over with no cold spots.  It’s lightweight enough, and packs down small especially considering it’s a 650 fill jacket.  A similar jacket for comparison is the Marmot Ama Dablam.

More information and where to buy

This jacket is available at nearly every retailer. You can get this jacket with our without a hood.  It’s a very popular jacket so though it retails for about $250-280 you can usually find it for under $200 if you’re not too stuck on color. The jacket comes in a wide assortment of colors, you’ll see a variety of selections at each online retailer.

To get the best price or find this jacket on sale use our gear finder and outdoor gear price checker.

Find out how to take care of your down jacket, and why you shouldn’t be afraid of washing it.

Shop for Mountain Hardwear Kelvinator



Alicja is an economist, enjoys climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, cycling and gets out into the backcountry as much as possible. See all of Alicja's Blog Posts