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Mountain Hardwear - Super Chockstone Jacket

posted Sep 7, 2014, 9:17 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Sep 18, 2014, 9:39 AM ]



Lightweight, super stretchable, and wind-resistant the Mountain Hardwear Super Chockstone Jacket seemed to be a great garment for alpine climbing, rock climbing, and much more... This season we had the opportunity to put the Super Chockstone to the test for several months and it turned out to be really an extremely versatile garment.

Technical Description

The Super Chockstone is a soft shell jacket with a simple and minimalistic design. To reduce weight and bulk and to maximise functionality some of the commonly used features have been eliminated: there are no elastic adjustment-cords on the hood and no velcro adjustment-straps on the cuffs. The double-weave, abrasion-resistant softshell fabric is light and highly stretchable.

The Super Chockstone features:
  • DWR (durable water repellent) treatment
  • Zippered chest pocket
  • Two zippered hand pockets
  • Low-profile hood (without adjustments)
  • Elastic with single-hand adjustable cinch on hem
  • Elastic cuffs (without adjustments)
Material: double weave soft shell fabric 91% nylon, 9% elastane
Weight: 371 g 

Our Test

We tested the Super Chokestone jacket for more than 6 months, over spring and summer, probably the best epoch of the year to test this light softshell because the milder temperatures allow a wider range of uses. We used it for climbing, backcountry skiing/snowboarding, trail running, mountain biking, and hiking
in a range of
 temperatures of approximately -2°C to +18°C and mostly during sunny and windy weather conditions, but we also had the chance to test it under a couple of heavy rain showers

First Impressions

The Super Chockstone is all about lightness and minimalism and you realise that immediately. It has a simple design and it is functional, which is generally the key for every successful product. When you put it on, it fits quite well: the stretchable fabric easily adjusts to different body shapes, leaving at the same time great freedom of movement. The stretchable fabric is also quite soft and pleasant on the skin. The three pockets are very spacious and easy to reach.

Some of the first comments of our testers:
  • "Light and simple. Perfect for climbing when it's cold or windy."
  • "It's super stretchy! I love it! It protects me and it leaves me completely free to move."
  • "Very comfortable! I use it a lot for biking, climbing, and even to hang out with my friends at night."
Lightness & Packability

Given the good level of protection it offers, the Super Chockstone can certainly be considered a lightweight softshell jacket. With almost 400 g, it is definitely not the lightest softshell in existence, but its fabric is much more protecting than a thin ultralight windbreaker. In fact, it is thick enough to provide some minimal degree of insulation, which makes it suitable for a wider range of temperatures even as a single layer. The bulkiest and heaviest part of the garment is the thick central-zipper flap. We would have reduced its width by half, at least! However, the jacket packs in a relatively small volume (approximately 1L).

Cut & Fit

The highly stretchable fabric, specifically chosen to guarantee the maximum mobility while climbing, offers the right amount of flexibility to adjust well to different body shapes. The jacket fits well and tight, without constrictions on any part. It always keeps its correct position on the body even during the most dynamical movements. There are no bulky parts on the most critical areas and

no chafing is noticeable anywhere. The elastic adjustable cord on the waist is very useful to protect the belly and lower back from cold air drafts. This is certainly appreciated when climbing and cycling. If the cuff bands were a bit more elastic, they would sit more tightly on the wrists and they would let your hands slide more easily when putting on and taking off the jacket.


Comfort

The soft shell fabric is light and highly stretchable, therefore offering excellent mobility, which is great during climbing. The small patches of soft lining material are strategically placed on some of the most critical inner parts, as for example inside the collar to avoid rubbing on the zipper. The three pockets are very spacious and easy to reach, also when wearing a harness or carrying a backpack. The thickness of the fabric is optimally chosen, providing good "thermoregulation": it retains some warmth and at the same time it allows a minimal degree of ventilation. The collar and the hood wrap around the neck and protect very well without chafing. 


Breathability

The soft shell fabric of the Super Chockstone breathes quite well
 and dries relatively quickly. The inner face of the fabric forms a kind of micro 3D-pattern which helps the evaporation process by spreading sweat and moisture along the fibres and away from the body. At low temperatures you rarely reach the point of discomfort caused by excessive condensation. Only above a certain temperature and during more intense activities you obviously tend to overheat and sweat more, but generally the quickly drying material helps to keep you dry, therefore limiting the need to take the jacket off completely.

Weather Protection

The durable water repellent (DWR) treatment is key in preventing the water to easily penetrate through the fibres. Despite the elasticity of the fabric, the DWR has lasted for months, even after several machine washes. Only on the shoulders, areas that are most exposed to wear, the DWR has become weaker, but this is normal (the DWR needs to be reactivated with a certain frequency). Protection from light rain and snow is relatively good, but during more intense rain showers, after a few minutes the water inexorably seeps
through the fabric and seams. Protection against wind is also good, although a moderate amount of air always penetrates
through the fabrics. However, in most cases this does not bother, since it provides a minimal degree of air circulation which favours moisture evaporation.

Durability

The Super Chockstone is a pretty tough garmentWe have used it intensively for months: we rubbed it against rocks, we whacked it on tree branches, we drenched it in sweat, we squeezed it and stuffed it in our backpack full of climbing gear... and after all our mistreatments it is still in very good conditions. The only part that suffered a bit the wear has been the elastic band around the collar and hood. As mentioned above, also the DWR treatment started to fade on the shoulders, but this can be considered normal after months of use.


Versatility

We found the Super Chockstone well suited for thousands of uses: for climbing, backcountry skiing, snowboarding, trail running, mountain biking, hiking... and what not... It's so comfortable that you often prefer to grab only that from your closet. It's also quite tough and it doesn't require much care, so you often just chuck it in you pack and bring it with you anyway... just in case, if the weather is going to change. The only limits in its usage begin at warmer temperatures, but that's ok. If it gets too warm while climbing for example, you can quickly take it off and squeeze it in your backpack.

Our Verdict


The Super Chockstone jacket is a super comfortable, extremely versatile garment that, despite being specifically designed for climbing, offers great functionality in a wide range of outdoor uses. It is light, super stretchable, tough,

and moderately wind and water protective. It offers great freedom of movement and extreme versatility. If you choose the Super Chockstone, you can be pretty sure that it won't sit in your closet very long.


PROS

+ Very comfortable

+ Elevated freedom of movement

+ High versatility


CONS

- Limited water resistance

- Some grams could be still easily filed off


 Lightness & Packability    7/10
 Comfort  10/10
 Fit & Cut    9/10
 Weather Protection    7/10
 Breathability    9/10
 Versatility    9/10
 Durability    8/10
 Total Score  8.4/10