Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite ReviewApril 22, 2015
- Great breathability and waterproofness
- Simple, but functional design
- Deep collar and hood
- Waterproof zip was stiff and hard to work sometimes
The Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite offers solid performance competition to the Rab Muztag, but at a better price. The Quasar Lite provides excellent value for a shell that can hack everything from backpacking to alpine pursuits in all four seasons.
The Quasar Lite features 2.5 layers, 40-denier Dry.Q Elite membrane. I’ve found this material to be nearly as windproof and waterproof as its primary competitors—Gore-Tex Active Shell and eVent DVL. With a high collar, a helmet friendly hood, and cinchable wrists I found it easy to batten down the hatches on the Quasar when storms hit. The waterproof front zip stood up to an even a full blast from a garden hose without a leak.
As with its weathershedding ability, the Dry.Q Elite is comparable to the competitor’s membranes in breathability. When hiking up hill, I simple zipped open the two hand pockets to increase venting and I stayed perfectly comfortable.
The Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite sports a host of features, but I especially liked the placement of the hand pockets. These sit a little further back on the shell from where the pockets would normally be found. This placement means they can double as vents for dumping excess heat, while still remaining usable for hand warming. The jacket’s main zipper is waterproof but was sometimes finicky to do up.
A 2.5 layer shell, the Quasar Lite won’t have the durability of the heavier three layer Gore-Tex and eVent shells in this test. But the 40-denier fabric felt crisp and tough, withstanding a direct hit with a rocky patch on a mountain biking tumble without a scuff.
The 12-ounce total weight puts it in line with the Rab Muztag and OR Axiom shells, it’s direct competition. They all pack and carry about the same, though the waterproof zip on the Quasar adds a little bulk.