I came across the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer while on the hunt for a lightweight insulating layer. I needed a thin down jacket to add to my layering system for backpacking trips. After trying on similar jackets from Patagonia, REI, Arc'teryx, and Marmot, decided on the Ghost Whisperer because it fit me the best.
I already own the Mountain Hardwear Kelvinator Hooded Down Jacket, which I originally purchased for a long distance hike (spoiler alert: it was way warmer than I needed), but the Ghost whisperer seemed like the perfect addition to my gear closet.
Ghost Whisperer Performance Review
The Ghost Whisperer is an active layering piece. This means that you can layer it when the temperature drops, and is best used in cold temperatures when your body is moving. It can be an everyday jacket in cooler temps but is not meant to be your only warm piece of equipment the coldest days.
During my testing, while skiing during the day, temperatures rose and the Ghost Whisperer quickly came off in lieu of lighter more breathable layers.
While not skiing, I couldn't be spotted without it. I wore it almost all afternoon and night, switching out different top and bottom layers depending on how warm or cold I felt.
After trying on other lightweight down jackets from REI, Patagonia, Arc'teryx and other big brands, I chose the Ghost Whisperer because it has the longest torso length. I want to be able to be active without worrying about my midriff being exposed to the cold air.
Mountain Hardwear sells a hooded and non-hooded version of the jacket. I got it without the hood because I wanted it to layer well under other things and I planned to have a hat.
The fit allowed me to move freely, and layer easily while also not looking too big. The longer torso length is also more flattering than other shorter length jackets.
In its class, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer is one of the lightest weight jackets available, with the women's non-hooded version comes in at only 6.4oz.
Putting on the jacket for the first time is a strange feeling because it almost seems to float just above your shoulders.
Lightweight material does come at a cost, however.
The material used is very thin. Snagging the jacket on anything sharp will easily turn into a big rip. Luckily, the Ghost Whisperer held up to my initial testing.
[Note: I have now owned the jacket for about a year and have yet to rip it -- although there have been some close calls!]
If you're as rough on your gear as I am, expect an eventual tear. When it comes, be prepared with some tenacious tape. Get the clear color and patch up the hole. Wear it like a badge of honor.
Sizing and Compressibility
On the 3 day ski trip, I used this jacket is a part of a 5-piece layering system. During the coldest parts of the trip, I was wearing a shirt, base layer, and fleece layer before donning the Ghost Whisperer (and a Arc'teryx shell over top if it's snowing).
The Ghost Whisperer fit perfectly under my shell layer, and is roomy enough to accommodate the additional layers underneath.
While packed away, I hardly noticed it was there. It can be compressed smaller than a water bottle. I strapped it right below the hood of my pack while moving so that it was easily accessible during breaks.
At $325-350 new, this is an expensive jacket. With the thin material and possibility of rips, this might not be the type of investment you're looking for.
For me, I had my eye on the Ghost Whisperer for a while, and understood the importance of this type of thin and lightweight layer for my backcountry adventures. I'm tough on my gear, and expect rips and tears, and am ready for them.
I'm really happy with this jacket and I wear it all the time. Perfect for layering systems and everyday adventures, too.
If you have more in-depth questions about this jacket, leave a comment below and I'll be happy to provide more info.