Ultralight Wind Shell
Mountain Hardwear Kor Airshell Hoody
$150, 5.1 oz./145g (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
After sweating hard on a sunny and humid June morning hiking up the headwall of Huntington Ravine—the steepest and hardest trail on Mount Washington—we hit the cool wind blowing across the mountain’s alpine terrain. I pulled on my Kor Airshell Hoody and it tamed that wind while breathing so well that the wet sun shirt against my skin dried out quickly. And that pattern of sweating and hitting wind kept repeating itself on that two-day, 21-mile hut trek in New Hampshire’s Presidential Range, providing plenty of opportunities for the Kor to show off its strengths.
This jacket also displayed excellent breathability when I wore it running hilly trails from the Boise Foothills to central Massachusetts, on spring days of cool wind and temps in the 50s and low 60s Fahrenheit—with me sweating hard on each occasion, but the jacket only getting slightly damp inside and drying in minutes when my exertion level dropped going downhill. I also tested this hoody hiking and rock climbing in June from 50 to the 60s at Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park and mountain biking in breezy, partly sunny, 50-degree conditions; and during cool, windy periods while backpacking in the first week of April on a section of the Arizona Trail along the Gila River and in Arizona’s Aravaipa Canyon.
A midweight ultralight wind shell at a hair over five ounces (145g), the highly packable Kor Airshell Hoody hits a sweet spot in balancing its two superpowers of low weight and breathability with respectable weather resistance and durability. The jacket stuffs into its inside drop pocket, packing down to the size of a baseball.
That will appeal to dayhikers, trail runners, and climbers who routinely get very wet with sweat going up and might encounter a wide range of conditions short of a severe rainstorm before the day ends.
Credit for the Kor’s excellent breathability goes to its ultralight, very breathable, 59 percent recycled, water-resistant Pertex Quantum Air ripstop nylon fabric. That 20-denier fabric shed light rain during brief showers at the City of Rocks—and it ranks the Kor’s durability better than the lightest ultralight shells and good enough for most uses, even rock climbing as long as you’re not dragging your back up some gnarly chimney.
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The non-adjustable, elasticized hood, with a flexible, low-profile brim that provides better face protection than some ultralight shells, fits snugly enough to feel comfortable and stay put on your head in wind and when turning your head side to side.
The Kor Airshell Hoody has a comfortable fit with space to wear two base layers or light insulation under it. The elasticized hem and cuffs adequately seal out drafts. Two zippered hand pockets—more pockets thanfound on many competitors—have space for light items like three-season gloves but anything heavy, like a phone, pulls that side of the jacket awkwardly downward.
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Mountain Hardwear Kor Airshell Hoody
With very good breathability, one of the better adjustable hoods for its low weight, and enough weather protection for anything short of a sustained downpour, the Mountain Hardwear Kor Airshell Hoody is a great choice for hikers, trail runners, climbers, lightweight backpackers on fair-weather trips, and other users.
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You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking either of these affiliate links to purchase a men’s or women’s Mountain Hardwear Kor Airshell Hoody at backcountry.com or moosejaw.com.
Rather have a waterproof-breathable rain shell that’s just grams heavier than the Hardwear Kor Airshell Hoody—although less breathable? See my reviews of the Mammut Kento Light HS Hooded Jacket and the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket.
See “The Best Ultralight Hiking and Running Jackets” and “The Best Rain Jackets for Hiking and Backpacking,” and all reviews of ultralight wind shells, ultralight rain jackets, trail-running gear, hiking apparel, and outdoor apparel at The Big Outside.
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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.