It’s true that running comes across as a very simple activity at first. To be fair, it is absolutely possible to start running with no additional equipment, provided the conditions are perfect. However, for the vast majority of individuals interested in running regularly, the conditions they find themselves in are far from ideal for minimalist or barefoot running.
In order to facilitate the particular needs of prospective runners, many different running accessories have been designed. These include specific models of footwear designed to provide traction and protection on particular running surfaces such as roads and hiking trails. Other products aim to provide storage options for important tools such as water bottles, maps, and food. However, Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost Lite is a running accessory that aims to provide just enough insulation from the elements to allow for running in harsher temperatures and weather conditions without excessively weighing down the wearer. This was accomplished with a highly specialized design that emphasizes protection from the wind and extreme portability. As a result, this product from Mountain Hardwear succeeds in some aspects and spectacularly fails in others.
While these two features make it easy to transport and wear this jacket, it also results in some major drawbacks. One such drawback is the fact that this Mountain Hardwear product simply isn’t very effective at providing adequate protection from the elements. Sure, this jacket can provide a modicum of protection from wind chill; however, its incredibly thin construction makes it highly susceptible to any weather colder than the low 60’s. The additional storage provided by a small zippered pocket on the chest can be useful for storing small essentials such as a smartphone or set of keys. However, due to the design emphasis on portability, this pocket isn’t large enough to take the place of a solid backpack or even a modest running belt. When put into perspective, this makes the extra pouch seem like an afterthought. Regardless, runners in a very specific kind of running environment can appreciate these features while also enjoying the benefits of a lower weight and increased portability.
There are still some features present in the construction of this Mountain Hardwear jacket that supplement or accommodate its inhibited breathability. One design feature that adds some breathability is its wafer-thin construction; despite using this lightweight fabric for the purpose of restricting the body from being affected by excessive airflow, this allows runners to control the amount of air they are exposed to with relative ease. One other feature that is intended to accommodate the airflow-related shortcomings of the Ghost Lite is its water-resistant properties. The manufacturers of this jacket tout that it is made from 15D Nylon fabric, which can resist negative effects from exposure to water. This is all well and good in theory; in practice, however, many customers have stated that the thin construction and disappointing snugness of this jacket mostly negated this selling point.
Unfortunately, this is far from the most comfortable option for runners looking for a decent weather-proof jacket. As far as windbreakers are concerned, this is a decent offering with a few features that make it a more appealing pick. However, where this Mountain Hardwear product suffers is in regards to its fit and protection from the elements. Part of the way this running jacket is designed to protect the wearer from environmental hazards such as rain is by snugly attaching to their body with the aid of elastic cuffs along the hood and wrists. This may be effective for some runners with very specific body shapes, but many other customers have left remarks online suggesting that the Ghost Lite doesn’t provide a tight enough fit to guarantee this level of protection.
Speaking of sizing, the range of options is nice in the sense that it allows runners of different body types to reap the benefits of wearing this windbreaker. However, the lack of specific measurements for these sizes can lead to confusion and limited effectiveness. For example, a customer who purchased the Ghost Lite in a Large figured it would fit like the majority of their Large-sized clothes. However, upon receiving this product and trying it on they discovered that it didn’t provide as snug of a fit as was needed to ensure its water-resistant properties. Due to a less secure hold from the elastic bands around the wrist and hood, this unsatisfied customer found themselves highly susceptible to moisture when attempting to use this product to protect themselves during a rainy running session. In order to avoid this, prospective customers are encouraged to conduct a bit more research in order to compare the sizes of these jackets to the sizes of their regular clothes.
Assuming that owners of this Mountain Hardwear product use it in appropriate situations and avoid exposing it to damage from falling or slipping, they should expect the Ghost Lite to last a decent amount of time. This includes the two pockets as well, although the one located behind the hood may degrade faster due to its placement in a high-traffic area. Regardless, appropriate treatment of this product alongside reasonable expectations of its capabilities will result in a long-lasting and highly specialized running accessory.
While no accessories are included in the package for this windbreaker, a few pockets have been added to its design in order to accommodate accessories. The first pocket is the largest one and can be found on the front of the Ghost Lite, secured with a zipper. This pseudo-breast pocket offers a surprising amount of storage, making it ideal for carrying small to midsize accessories such as a smartphone, GPS tracker, fitness tracker, protein bar, or survival knife. Anything similar in size to these items will fit in this pocket without any problem, although they will need to be taken out if the wearer wishes to condense this product into its portable pocket size. In addition to this, a much smaller and unsecured pouch has been added to the back of the collar, near the hood. This can be used to store very small accessories such as energy gels or a small water bladder. It’s not incredibly useful but the added convenience factor is still nice.
Ultimately, it’s safe to say that this jacket was designed with an emphasis on function over form. This isn’t to say that no effort has been made to add some stylish elements to its design since the Ghost Lite is available in several different colors. Additionally, the placement of an extra pocket on the rear collar is a nice touch that customers are unlikely to see in many other running jackets. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this jacket’s style is its ability to compress into a portable pocket size; this doesn’t serve an overt aesthetic purpose, but it can look very impressive to unfold a full-size article of clothing out of a wallet-sized pouch of fabric.
While this initial asking price is unreasonable when considering the features present in the package, recent years have seen this product dropping in price. A shrewd online shopper can find heavy discounts on this product if they look through online retailers such as Amazon. In one case, a women’s size of the Ghost Lite was being sold for less than half the initial retail price. The downside of this is that it can be much harder to find particular sizes and colors through these alternate retailers. Discounts aside, one major selling point of this product can redeem its higher cost in the minds of some potential customers. That would be its high portability factor; after all, a jacket from The North Face or Columbia certainly couldn’t be compressed to a size that it would fit in a briefcase or pocket.
- Protection from inclement weather
- Highly portable collapsible design
- Elastic bands provide water protection
- Pouches for storage in front and rear
- Extremely lightweight construction
On the other hand, what the Ghost Lite lacks in mass appeal it makes up for in niche appeal. Even though it is very expensive and seems to have limited effectiveness, there are many satisfied customers of this Mountain Hardwear jacket. These tend to be individuals who needed a lightweight form of wind protection that can be condensed into a small size for easy storage. Business professionals, in particular, seem to like this windbreaker and highly recommend it online. Because of this, it seems that the person who is best suited for this jacket isn’t a runner at all but a jet-setter or other form of a frequent traveler.