Review: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Down Hoody

Ultralight Down Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Down Hoody
$360, 8.8 oz./250g (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL

There’s no getting around a hard truth about most of the products we buy to use outdoors: Their materials come from the petroleum products that are a primary driver of climate change. Increasingly, outdoor brands and consumers are leaning in on manufacturing and buying products with a smaller carbon footprint—products like the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Down Hoody. Made with recycled shell fabric and responsibly resourced down, this ultralight puffy keeps you warm without contributing as severely as other products to a warmer Earth.

Hardwear has revamped the classic Ghost Whisperer—long one of the best ultralight down jackets on the market—with shell fabric made from 100 percent recycled, 10-denier nylon ripstop, plus responsibly resourced, RDS-certified down insulation. The fabric also has a DWR (durable, water-resistant) finish to shed light precipitation.

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Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Down Hoody
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Down Hoody.

At just under nine ounces, the Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody is one of the lightest, three-season puffy jackets on the market and delivers impressive warmth for its weight, thanks to the 800-fill goose down feathers: It kept me warm over a light base layer in temps in the 40s on a four-day July backpacking trip on Nevada’s Ruby Crest Trail and six days in Utah’s High Uintas Wilderness in July; on breezy mornings in the 50s Fahrenheit on an early June backpacking trip in Hells Canyon, when I was unzipping the jacket at times to release heat when wearing it only over a T-shirt; and on mornings near freezing on a seven-day, 96-mile traverse of the Wind River High Route, among other trips.

Pop the hood up and it’ll keep many people warm in temps in the 40s, and maybe the high 30s with a midweight, long-sleeve top. I also experienced its limits sitting around camp in Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve in June, staying marginally warm wearing it over two base layers, with a wool hat on and the hood up, on an evening of strong winds and temps in the low 40s.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Down Hoody.
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Down Hoody.

The non-adjustable, elasticized hood provides a close-enough fit to stay put on your head in wind, and the adjustable hem and snug cuffs seal out cold air. Apropos of an ultralight down jacket, the fit permits wearing a couple of base layers underneath.

The two zippered hand pockets are the size you’d expect in an ultralight jacket—you could stick a pair of three-season gloves inside either of them—and the jacket stuffs inside one pocket, packing down to about a liter size. Those pockets sit high enough to wear a climbing harness, but I’d use it only for belaying: The thin fabric wouldn’t survive brushes with rough rock.

Mountain Hardwear has also rolled out an even lighter hooded jacket in this series, the 6.7-ounce Ghost Whisperer UL Hoody ($400). Read my review now.


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The Verdict

The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Down Hoody sets the bar high for performance in an ultralight down jacket for three-season backpacking and camping, and it’s sustainable materials, as well as construction that guarantees years of use, make buying one a good choice for the planet. Plus, the price hasn’t changed in at least six years.

BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking any of these affiliate links to purchase a men’s or women’s Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Down Hoody at or; a men’s Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer UL Hoody at or; a women’s Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer UL Hoody at; or other versions of the Ghost Whisperer down jackets at or

See my review of “The 10 Best Down Jackets,” and all of my reviews of insulated jackets and outdoor apparel that I like at The Big Outside.

NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See my Gear Reviews page at The Big Outside for categorized menus of all of my reviews and my expert buying tips.

Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned backpacker, you’ll learn new tricks for making all of your trips go better in my “12 Expert Tips for Planning a Wilderness Backpacking Trip” and “A Practical Guide to Lightweight and Ultralight Backpacking.” With a paid subscription to The Big Outside, you can read all of both stories for free; if you don’t have a subscription, you can download the e-guide versions of “12 Expert Tips for Planning a Wilderness Backpacking Trip” and the lightweight backpacking guide without having a paid membership.

—Michael Lanza


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2 thoughts on “Review: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 Down Hoody”

  1. Good morning Michael,

    One small nitpick. Stating that “…without contributing to a warmer Earth.” Is an overstatement. Wile I applaud Mountain Hardwear on their use of recycled materials for the shell the manufacturing still is contributing some greenhouse gases and pollution. Albeit less than using raw materials but unfortunately virtually everything humans do causes an impact.

    They are doing the right thing. We all need to be careful not to overstate the situation.

    • Fair assessment, John. In fact, when I interviewed Mountain Hardwear’s president this spring for a story I wrote for The Voice (an outdoor-industry business magazine), he bluntly and honestly made the very same statement about the entire outdoor industry (and by extension, most human activity). I’ve just edited the opening paragraph of this review to acknowledge your point. Thanks for the comment and I hope you’re well (and to see you in the Sawtooths in the not-distant future).