Mountain Hardwear Alchemy Jacket
March 20, 2007
Name: Jennifer Koles
Height: 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: Salt Lake City, Utah, United
I started taking overnight backpacking trips
three years ago in the Uinta Mountain Range in Utah. I
found myself taking entirely too much gear. I am finding out
slowly how to minimize my needs and not require extra luxuries.
My previous outdoor experiences consisted of 4-wheel-drive
camping in primitive areas and day hiking. I use a four
season convertible tent or a three season tent for my
shelter. I plan to take more trips, increase my duration,
and reduce my two to three day backpack base weight from 17
lb (8 kg).
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
Year of Manufacture: 2006 (2007 Model)
Model: Women's Alchemy Jacket (also available in a men's
Manufacturer Website: www.mountainhardwear.com
Color Reviewed: Deep Sea/Shark (royal blue
and dark grey)
Colors Available: Avocado/Shark; Black/Shark; Deep Sea/Shark;
Size Reviewed: Large
Sizes available: XS, SM, MD, LG, XL
Manufacturer Stated Weight: 19.34 oz (548 g)
Measured Weight: 23 oz (652 g)
Warranty: "Mountain Hardwear guarantees that the
materials and workmanship in every product we make will stand
up to the use for which it was designed. This warranty does
not cover damages caused by improper care, accidents or the
natural breakdown of materials over extended time and use." This
warranty information was obtained from the manufacturer's
MSRP: $240.00 USD
Image obtained from the manufacturer's
The Alchemy is considered a soft shell jacket. The manufacturer
classifies the Alchemy as a jacket that is suited for ice or alpine
climbing. My fiancé has the men's version of the Alchemy
and he boasted about it for a few months. After taking possession
of his Alchemy (that did not fit me very well), I decided to purchase
The jacket runs small in size. According to the size chart I was
at the high end of the medium sizing so I ordered a large. Actually
the retailer advised me to do so. My Alchemy fits me well and I
am very happy that I ordered up a size.
The cut of the Alchemy is a close fitting, articulated, alpine cut.
It is actually quite sharp looking. The jacket fabric is composed
of a three layer laminate composed of a GORE-TEX WINDSTOPPER
fabric with an inner fleece lining. This fabric is claimed by the
manufacturer to be windproof, breathable, and water resistant. Nylon
and Lycra taslan composes the shell body and the WINDSTOPPER membrane
is laminated to it. This shell body has a DWR (durable water repellent)
finish. The material is noted as having a two way stretch.
I found the body and the fleece lining of the shell to have a soft
touch. It is a very comfortable jacket.
One small inner pocket is on the right inside of the jacket and
there are two larger hand type pockets on the exterior right and
left side of the jacket. These exterior pockets are located more
towards the front of the Alchemy. On the left sleeve there is a
small pocket with welded seams that is perfect for a MP3 player
or other small items. All the pockets have a reverse zipper to assist
with keeping water out.
Centered at the back of the collar is a draw cord with the Mountain
Hardware logo embroidered directly below it. Measuring at 2.75 in
(7 cm) near the zipper to 3.25 in (8 cm) in the rear center of the
collar, this is not a very high collar, which I actually like.
Two draw cords can be found on the inside of the jacket on the lower
hem. Cord locks hold the cords in place. This is to obtain a more
snug fit at the bottom of the jacket.
Where did I Use the
I have worn it while backpacking, hiking, snowboarding, snowshoeing,
and x-country skiing primarily in the Utah Wasatch and Uinta
The elevation ranges in these locations were 5,300 ft to
10,200 ft (1,600m to 3, 100 m). I encountered various temperatures
during the testing period ranging from -11 F to 41 F (-24
C to 5 C). The field conditions consisted of snow, light
rain, sunshine, cloudy skies, and wind on various days.
In the picture to the right it was around 2 F (-17 C). Burr..but,
I was toasty warm in the Alchemy. On this ski trip I had
an expedition weight and a silk weight base layer under the
jacket. I actually became too hot while skiing uphill for
6 mi (10 km). While skiing down the canyon the Alchemy kept
me warm. I was going so fast that layer of ice built up on
the back of the collar. No wind was penetrating through the
Using various types of base layers dependent on the weather
conditions I was never cold in the Alchemy. I actually became
too warm on several occasions.
My fiancé and I at Alta Ski Resort in Utah.
We are both wearing Alchemy jackets.
skiing while wearing the Alchemy
How Did The Alchemy Perform?
How was my first winter using the Alchemy jacket? Awesome!
I love the Alchemy jacket. I can not wait to use it in the
spring months in shady canyons while rock climbing. However,
there is one feature I would like added to this jacket. That
would be some pit zips. While skiing I became overheated so
I unzipped the font of the jacket, eventually that became
chilly so I zipped it up again. Then of course I became to
hot. It was like I was having hot flashes. With pit zips I
would be able to have more venting options and not have to
expose my chest to the chilly air.
Wind did not penetrate the Alchemy and neither did light precipitation.
It is yet to be worn in a rain storm. The fabric shields from
snow and drizzle quite well.
My MP3 player fits comfortably in the left arm pocket. That
is the preferred location instead of placing it inside the
jacket. Then it does not hit me in the chest when I am hiking
The style of the jacket is great. I love the trim fit. All
my friends love it. They touch it when they see it. They
can not resist it. Almost everyone compliments it. I think
it is stylish. Now I would not wear it to the Oscars, but
I am not going there anyway. But, it was stylish enough to
be worn on the beach one chilly afternoon in Southern California.
The jacket is somewhat pricey. But, there are deals to be
found out there.
This is a really great jacket.