Expert Review: Mountain Hardware High Exposure C-Knit Anorak Jacket

This review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2022.

A snowboarder snowboarding down a run while wearing the Mountain Hardware High Exposure C-Knit Anorak Jacket.

All photos courtesy of Tyese Messerman

Published on

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2022.

My take

The Mountain Hardware High Exposure C-Knit Anorak Jacket is highly waterproof and breathable without sacrificing comfort. For any backcountry lady going out shredding, this could be a favorite piece in the collection.

About the jacket I own

  • Model: Mountain Hardwear High Exposure Goretex C-Knit Anorak Jacket
  • Size: XS
  • Fit: A bit small

About me

  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 130lbs
  • Experience: 23+ years of snowboarding

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: January 2022
  • Days tested: 10
  • Where I’ve used it: Oregon, France
  • Conditions I’ve used it in: Resort, Powder, Touring, Spring days

How it performs

Breathability
5/5
Comfort
4/5
Durability
5/5
Style
4/5
Warmth
3/5
Waterproofing
5/5

What I was looking for

I was looking for a highly waterproof yet breathable GORE-TEX shell for touring, backcountry splitboarding, and spring resort days. I was really focusing on something that used the C-Knit material because I didn’t want it to sound crinkly or be stiff like some GORE-TEX jackets. I also didn’t want to go for a softshell jacket and sacrifice even a bit of protection from the elements.

Why I chose this gear

I honestly chose this jacket because it was a great sale and it fit all the requirements I was looking for. It felt very soft yet durable, and I loved the color. It had the 3L GORE-TEX and used C-Knit materials as well. I looked at the Outdoor Research Hemispheres Jacket and also the Black Diamond Liquid Point Shell as a cheaper option. The Outdoor Research jacket had very similar specs, but I didn’t see as many reviews about it, and it also didn’t come in the colors I liked. The Mountain Hardware jacket came on a great sale, so after watching it for a while, I got it. I have to say, I wish I had gotten the full zip instead of the anorak version though.

A snowboarder on a ski run wearing the Mountain Hardware High Exposure C-Knit Anorak Jacket.

What I love about it

  • Fit: I should have gotten a size bigger. Mountain Hardware runs short and boxy in my opinion, and I don’t like a boxy fit, so I went with the XS. It fits width-wise, but it is too short for me. This has nothing to do with the jacket and everything to do with my size choice. Otherwise, the jacket has a nice style to it and a good fit.
  • Range of Motion: The stretchy material really helps offer a ton of motion. Just that extra bit of give from the circular nylon knit (C-Knit) is really noticeable when both hiking up and riding down. There are no spots that pull or inhibit motion at all. It’s a very comfortable jacket.
  • Style: I really like the look of the anorak style. My one complaint is that the powder skirt makes a ripple around the jacket that one can see from the outside. The jacket is so lightweight and nimble that I can see the material be slightly pulled from where the powder skirt is sewn on. I really wish it was removable. I’d definitely suggest sizing up over one’s normal size so that it is baggier, easier to get on and off, and maybe that line won’t be so evident.
  • Quality of Materials: The materials used are exceptional. The 3L GORE-TEX outer is extremely waterproof and breathable; it feels very soft and nimble but strong, and it doesn’t make any crinkle sounds when riding or stuffing it into a backpack. The middle layer of GORE-TEX is supposed to provide UV protection and a lot of strength, while the C-Knit layer provides comfort and stretch. I love the quality of this jacket.
  • Durability: The durability seems amazing so far. I have worn it riding through tight trees and there are no snags or scuffs on the outer material. The zippers are very high quality and it has fully taped seams. The velcro has stayed nice as well. I haven’t had a single issue with durability yet.
  • Pockets: There are two big chest pockets that sit high enough to get into even when wearing a backpack, hip strap, or a harness. They are big enough for a phone, beacon, bars, and things like that. It’s advertised to put the skins in as well, but mine don’t fit very well. Perhaps if the jacket fit me larger, there would be a bit more space in the pockets. I’m not sure, but they don’t seem ideal for skins. There is also a smaller front pocket that zips as well. I found that useful for a credit card, cash, or chapstick.
  • Waterproofing: This jacket is highly waterproof. I’ve been in some pretty wet snow and it feels like it just repels right off the jacket. It feels like high-quality GORE-TEX that won’t let moisture in at all.
  • Breathability: I’m amazed at how breathable this material is. It’s a very simple design and it doesn’t even have pit zips, so I was a bit worried about it feeling stuffy, but the breathability is off the charts. I don’t even miss the pit zips, and it just cuts down on two more zippers that add a bit of weight and could potentially break.
  • Weight: Being a minimalist jacket, there are no added frills to it, and in turn, it is very lightweight It is 382.5g or about 0.85lbs, so it’s always worth bringing on an adventure.
  • Features: This jacket features RECCO for safety. And it also has a helmet-compatible hood that will go over most helmets.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Design: I let the look of this jacket sway me into the anorak style; but in reality, if one’s doing any backcountry touring and skiing, this style is not functional. For only resort skiing, one can get by fine with it. But the fact that it has to go over my head to get on and off simply doesn’t make sense in the backcountry. The big pockets on the chest cater to holding skins or a beacon, too, but again I wouldn’t wear this touring.
  • Warmth: While this jacket is an amazing shell, it is not insulated and therefore is not focused on warmth. It is very wind-resistant, which cuts the chill and waterproof, which keeps me dry, but there is no added insulation.

Favorite moment with this gear

This was the only shell I took with me on a snowboard vacation to France, and every moment was my new favorite moment. There was one run towards the end of the day that stands out. We had been riding from the morning until the afternoon, and for our last run, we rode a massive gondola to the top of one of the peaks. At the top was a small hut for apres ski, so we sat up there and took in the views before doing one last run down. As we rounded the corner, the view looked like a painting. The Alps were just in my face and the run took a sharp turn, so it just looked for a moment like we were snowboarding into a photo. It was very memorable indeed.

Value for the money vs. other options

If I’m speaking about this exact jacket, the anorak style, I don’t think it is worth its high price. The materials and design are geared towards touring and high-energy output activities in the elements; and for those activities, I clearly see now that I want a full-zip jacket. The material and quality of this jacket, however, could very well be worth the money, so I’d say the full-zip version is a great buy, especially if found on sale. The price point is very equal to the Outdoor Research Hemispheres Jacket, and while I haven’t gotten to try that one yet, I think the High Exposure jacket looks nicer and feels amazing. The Black Diamond jacket I looked at comes in at about half the price, but it’s still expensive. So at that point, I’d say go for something with a C-Knit backing.

Final verdict

My overall feeling is that if I had chosen better and gotten the full-zip version of this jacket in a size bigger, it would probably be my go-to jacket that I keep for a very long time. Instead, the anorak jacket is only something that I wear on resort days. But it doesn’t have all the features I want for a resort jacket, so I will probably end up selling it. The quality of the materials, the waterproofing, and the breathability, however, make this an exceptional jacket for touring and high-output activities, even in inclement weather.

Selling Mountain Hardwear on Curated.com
Mountain Hardwear High Exposure GORE-TEX C-knit Anorak Jacket Women's
$500.00
Snowboard Expert Tyese Messerman
5.0
Tyese Messerman
Snowboard Expert
Tyese here! How can I help?
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Written By
From Whistler, BC to Rainier Basecamp, and from Niseko, Japan to Mt. Bachelor, Oregon, I simply can't get enough of the snow and the mountains! Growing up on the East Coast I learned to ski at age 5 and started snowboarding around age 12, and roamed the hills from Quebec, Vermont, NY, PA, WV and eve...

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