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Mountain Hardwear - Torsun Alpine Jacket

posted May 3, 2015, 12:51 PM by GoOut Project   [ updated May 15, 2015, 11:10 PM by Italo Balestra ]

The Hard Shell is an essential piece of mountaineering gear, like the ice ax or the backpack. It represents your "handy refuge". The Torsun Alpine Jacket by Mountain Hardwear does not have a fireplace inside, but it promises to provide you with the same level of protection of a stone and concrete mountain hut. Let's see if it's true...

Technical Description

The Torsun Alpine Jacket is a waterproof jacket with a 3-layer laminated construction designed specifically for mountaineering. With a clean design, a slightly tight cut and nothing more than the essential, a glance suffices to understand what it has been design for: climbing!

  • Dry.Q™ Elite* instant on waterproof, breathable, air permeable technology
  • Asymmetric velcro wrist-straps
  • Two chest pockets with PU zippers placed high enough not to interfere with the harness 
  • Single interior zippered security pocket for keys, ID, and other valuables
  • Helmet-compatible adjustable hood
  • Dry.Q™ Elite 40D 3L - 100% Nylon
Weight: 290 g (Size M)

*NOTE: The Dry.Q® Elite is a breathable waterproof membrane developed by Mountain Hardwear. It offers a valid alternative to the classical laminated fabrics with membrane or coating, from which it differs for its ability to be air permeable, rather than only permeable to water vapor. The traditional waterproof membranes begin to breath only when the amount of water vapor and heat inside the garment is high enough. The Dry.Q® Elite, instead, thanks to its larger pores,
allows the moisture to dry as soon as you put it on

Our Test

We have put the Torsun Alpine Jacket to the test for the entire winter and part of spring. We tested it for ice climbing, alpine climbing and mixed mountaineering routes, as well as for backcountry skiing. The tests were conducted mainly in winter conditions (snow, wind, chill), but we had also some occasional rain showers at warmer temperatures in spring.

First Impressions

At first glance it is immediately clear that the Torsun Alpine Jacket is a minimalistic and ultra-technical garment. Its main aim is not aesthetics, but essentiality of the lines and minimalism. The fabric seems durable, despite not being terribly stiff to the touch. The position of the pockets (very high on the torso, above the line of the harness) is a clear indication of its nature: the Torsun Alpine Jacket is designed for climbing!

Lightness & Packability

The Torsun Alpine Jacket follows the typical Mountain Hardwear's style: "light & fast"... as we like it at Go Out Project. A 3-layer Hard Shell weighting less than 300 g is an exceptional result, a real champion of lightness! Impressive also if you consider that the length of the jacket is greater than that of a classic-cut mountaineering jacket. The extra length is designed to offer greater protection when climbing in bad weather conditions. Its packability is also better than that of many similar Hard Shells of competitor brands.

Cut & Fit

The Torsun Alpine Jacket has a regular fit, roomy enough to fit one or more layers underneath. We have used it very often in combination with a thin insulator and it has never hindered our movements. The cut is very well studied: shoulders and elbows are shaped so that they are never bothering or limiting, even during the most ample movements. The length of the torso (a couple of centimetres longer than standard) helps to keep the body well sealed and protected around the waist. The jacket remains correctly positioned under the harness, even when stretching to the max to reach a distant hold. The cuffs have a smaller-than-standar strap, which is very practical sealing perfectly the wrists without excessive bulky material around it.
The hood-adjustments and
 the elastic cords are well hidden on the inside, which avoids any annoying "whipping" when windy.


The excellent shape of the elbows, the roomy-enough cut, and the well-fitting hood contribute to the overall comfort of the Torsun. Thanks to its extra length, the jacket offers better protection from drafts, water or snow which truly makes it a comfortable "warm shelter". As on most Hard Shells, the fabric is quite stiff, but this is the price to pay on a garment that has to withstand the worst ill-treatments on the rocks. In any case, even when climbing, the rigidity of the fabric has never bothered us.


In comparison to any other Hard Shell with a "classic" waterproof membrane (e.g., Gore-tex) the Torsun is much more breathable. The Dry.Q Elite membrane is actually a step forward compared to everything that we usually classify as a Hard Shell: it offers the same degree of protection from the elements, but it breathes much more, actually bridging the gap with the Soft Shells.

Weather Protection
A Hard Shell should be your most protective garment. When you are out there exposed to the worst conditions, it should prevent water, snow and wind from penetrating inside your layering system. Well, the Torsun Alpine Jacket does this job perfectly. We have been ice climbing for hours while water was pouring down the wall and no drop has passed through the fabric. The longer cut avoids draft or water to penetrate around the waist and allows the jacket to sit perfectly under the harness.


The Torsun Alpine Jacket is undoubtedly a durable garment! It has an excellent resistance to abrasion and tear: rubbing against the rock is generally of no harm  The fabric has even resisted some accidental encounter with the ski edges. We certainly can say that the Torsun fulfils all the expectations for a mountaineering garment.


The Torsun Alpine Jacket has been designed for a specific use: climbing in the worst weather conditions. This makes it an obvious choice whenever you have to get ready to face the worst. Highly breathable and very light, it is well suited to all the "light and fast" 
challenges, when the weather is bad or uncertain
. With the right combination of intermediate layers it is a garment that you can use throughout the year, whenever you need 
maximal protection from the elements. We found it very useful, not only for ice climbing 
and mixed mountaineering climbing, but also for backcountry skiing.

Our Verdict

In conclusion, we truly enjoyed the qualities of Torsun Alpine Jacket. It is a functional, high-performance, highly specialized, and minimalistic garment, that adopts unconventional and valid technical solutions, namely in the choice of the waterproof membrane and the longer cut of the torso. The Torsun Alpine Jacket represents an extremely valid alternative waterproof membrane that really stands out in a flat landscape fossilized on old, ultra-hyped, but less functional technologies. If you are looking for a garment offering uncompromising protection and that can withstand all possible abuse on rock, snow and ice walls, we highly recommend you this jacket!


+ Excellent breathability

+ High degree of protection

+ Excellent cut and fit


- Pocket zippers do not work very smoothly

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