Review: Four essential items for a 420-mile MTB ride

Planning a multi-day mountain bike adventure? Bring this stuff

Apparel Gear Hydration Shoes
At under eight ounces, the Ghost Whisperer from Mountain Hardwear is the lightest full feature down jacket made.

At under eight ounces, the Ghost Whisperer from Mountain Hardwear is exceptionally light.

Full Review: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket

I couldn’t believe how damn light the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer was when I first picked it up. At less than eight-ounces, the Ghost Whisperer is claimed to be the world’s lightest full-feature down jacket. And with Q.Shield 850 fill down, the Ghost Whisperer also happens to be the warmest down jacket I’ve ever worn. This jacket packs down ridiculously small. So small, in fact, that it can actually fit into a traditional cycling jersey pocket.

The Ghost Whisperer packs down small enough to fit into a jersey pocket.

The Ghost Whisperer packs down small enough to fit into a jersey pocket.

Not only did I wear the Ghost Whisperer after wrapping up a relentless nine-hour-plus day on the bike for an entire week straight, but much to my girlfriend’s chagrin (who works at Patagonia), it’s also about the only damn jacket I’ve worn all winter.

After The Commute I wore the Ghost Whisperer as a layer during a snowmobiling trip. After spending 20 minutes digging myself out of a giant hole, the Ghost Whisperer was drenched in sweat. With the down all matted up, I thought the jacket was done for. But much to my surprise, after hanging it out to dry for a couple hours, the jacket was a good as new. How Mountain Hardwear was able to construct something so light yet so warm is absolutely mind-boggling. This jacket simply rules, it’s an essential piece of warm weather gear for any bikepacker.

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Continue to page 5 to read the full review of the Giro Neo Rain jacket »

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • A J MacDonald Jr says:

    Nice gear. No sleeping bags or tents on this trip?

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Nope, we packed minimally. Had the luxury of staying with friends and family every night along the way! It was awesome. Allowed us to carry just a backpack and shred gnar.

    – ASS

  • grant says:

    I crash a lot. Expensive helmet -sure. Insanely expensive jackets seem like a really poor gear choice for someone like me.

  • Donal Kern says:

    my good retired friend Harry says-“there’s no such thing as bad weather-just bad gear”.
    Having worked retail for many years in an outdoor shop- I can attest t this. I have used a $40 she’ll and a $ 300 shell. Both worked great. I have also driven a Suzuki Samurai off road- as well as a Land Rover Discovery. Both worked fine. I would take the Land Rover anyday.

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    There’s an old adage I always go by – “buy cheap, buy twice” – it has never failed. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get the expensive product on sale. That Mountain Hardwear jacket is 50% off right now on their website. Suddenly a $320 jacket is $160…seems like a bargain to me.

    – ASS

  • Highway68Hillbilly says:

    That Acre backpack is pretty sick. I really like their stuff. Acre is a youthful company that represents quality and craftsmanship. I like that.
    The rest is just a trip to REI and a swipe of the rewards card and voila, you will look bitchin. Like, Kurt.
    Too bad one can’t simply buy talent to write well and mash pedals too, or I’d swipe my REI card for that.

  • Tommy says:

    Haters Gonna Hate ASS. Wear whatever fancy jackets you want bro.

  • RM says:

    Kurt, it seems like it’s not just the Angry Single Speeder who’s Angry.
    I’m pretty sure that everyone buys the best gear they can given their personal budget. My motto has long been that good quality gear will always be worth the investment provided that you actually use it. I have no regrets about buying very expensive Arcteryx ski pants. If they don’t last a lifetime at least they have a life time warranty. Same with my Saris bike rack. If the Haters want to buy something no one else wants they should be able to get it pretty cheap!

  • scott says:

    I don’t get it, I can buy just as nice stuffs at kmart or walmart. I gots a bike at walmarts for $350 and it does has suspensions and parts just as goods as 1,000,000 bikes. you guys are soo stupid. why buy jackets for $350 when you cans wear 25 cent trash bag, stuff it with free newspapers and wrap feet with duct tape.

  • sean says:

    People. Never trust a guy who wears a disco ball on their head.

  • bob says:

    Good to have you back and great reviews rather than the A$$ments which are more like advertising. Agree with you about quality where every last ounce of performance needs to be considered; one can’t afford less. Where there’s more latitude Eddie Bauer satisfies me with about 90% of the performance for a third the price.

  • Joe says:

    Regarding the Terradurros: I got a pair about a year ago and they also delaminated within a month. Giro replaced mine within a week. Apparently they found that there was an issue with the glue being used and switched to a more durable formula. They issued a warranty replacement announcement on their website.
    My replacements have been without issue since. I’ve been riding and hike-a-biking them on many of the same trails as Kurt, and can attest to their traction and toe box protection, especially on granite and other rocks. But I wouldn’t call them light. They are also a little narrow for my foot. But now Giro offers a High Volume model (‘wish I had waited). Also, Giro’s arch fit kit works great in these shoes if you’ve got picky feet.

  • dbabuser says:

    I’ve had the same experience with the Terraduro’s as Joe, but my 2nd pair also delaminated. Apparently you need a pair built after the initial production run, with a date code on the inside of the sole. My 3rd pair has been flawless so far.

  • Taylor says:

    On the shoes I noticed you said the outsoles started delaminating after only a week. How bad was this? Not hatin’ but that seems like a reason to not buy them.

  • donjuan says:

    Can’t say enough about high quality equip from XTR to Arcteryx. I sent my 6 year old Sting Ray jacket in for repair and Arcteryx did 5 times the amount of repair I requested. Any stitch which looked worn, was re-stitched, small tares fixed, all under warrantee. Patagonia has always had a similar policy backing up their quality and product support.

  • Mike says:

    Always amused when a single brand/model of an item manufactured by a dozen companies in many variations is deemed “essential.” Hyperbole like this undermines credibility.

  • Peper says:

    The article makes it all sound good except those shoes. Many of the reviews on those shoes are finding the exact same shortcomings.

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