Mountain Hardwear Hellgate ReviewNovember 9, 2015
- Chest/bicep vents
- Good pocket placement
- Soft face fabric
- Fewer features than some jackets in the test
Aimed at backcountry users, this lightweight shell is bomber enough to be a good choice for lift riding as well. In fact, remove the powder skirt and you’ve got a solid choice for a year-round mountain parka. We also like that the fabric has a relatively soft hand feel, and isn’t as noisy as many of the other waterproof breathable shells on the market.
Cut from a 40 denier, three-layer waterproof breathable fabric, the Hellgate is a good balance of weight and durability. The Fabric is a little bit less crinkly than many other waterproof breathables out there.
The Hellgate is as waterproof as any raincoat out there. It’s got long hems, a big hood, and beefy storm flaps behind the front zipper and in front of the bicep vents.
The Dry Q eliete fabric is quite breathable for a waterproof shell. We liked the venting combo of four-inch pit zips on the biceps and pocket/chest vents, which gave lots of options.
Bells and Whistles
The aforementioned venting options are innovative and effective. The jacket does have RECCO reflectors, which can be useful in avalanche rescue as well as locating the wearer in thick woods of they get stuck out of bounds overnight. We like that the powder skirt can be zipped off to save weight if the rider doesn’t care for it. The jacket generously sports seven useful pockets.
The Hellgate was designed with the backcountry in mind, so is lightweight, cutting back on a few amenities. It still comes in with seven pockets, all of which are well placed. For example, none are so low they’d be blocked by a pack waist strap. The main pockets are easily big enough to store a pair of climbing skins.