MH Ghost Whisperer Vest : Ultralight Core Coverage
I have been wearing a Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer hooded jacket as an outer insulating layer for the last 3-4 years on all but the coldest hikes and backpacks while my middle layer has been either a Smartwool 250 gram, Capilene 2 or 3 , and my baselayer ultralight capilene . I can layer the pieces depending upon the temperature and use them as part of my sleep system if necessary but I always use the ultralight capilene to sleep in if only to keep my sleeping bag clean on the inside this layering allows me to use a higher and lighter rated sleeping bag. It turns out that as you lighten your pack, sleeping bag, tent, mattress, stove, water filter, and footwear that food and clothing become the focus of lightening your load. The Ghost Whisperer hooded jacket insulates well and offers pretty good wind resistance at a weight of 8.6 ounces but I took a closer look at the smartwool (10.26 oz.) vs. capilene 3 ( 8.6oz) and have trended towards the lighter, more compressible, and faster drying (IMO) capilene 3 as a secondary layer then started thinking about how I could get the weight down further without losing core warmth this eventually led me to looking at the Ghost Whisperer Vest (5.39 oz) as a viable option. Choosing a ultralight vest would also allow me to go with a capilene 2 (7.33 oz) light mid layer dropping my weight and volume further albeit only saving 1.3 oz., but what can be seen is that you can put together a very ultralight, small volume, and highly diverse layering /sleep system with a little attention to detail.
1. Cap UL baselayer (3.63 oz) + Smartwool 250 gm. (10.26 oz) + Ghost Whisperer hooded jacket (8.6 oz) = 22.49 oz. / 1 lb 6.49 oz
2. Cap UL baselayer (3.63 oz) + Capilene 3 (8.6 oz) + Ghost Whisperer hooded jacket (8.6 oz) = 20.83 oz. / 1 lb. 4.83 oz.
3. Cap UL baselayer (3.63 oz) + Capilene 2 (7.33 oz) + Ghost Whisperer hooded jacket (8.6 oz) = 19.56 oz. / 1 lb. / 3.56 oz.
4. Cap UL baselayer (3.63 oz) + Capilene 2 (7.33) + Ghost Whisperer Vest (5.39 oz) + Ghost Whisperer hooded jacket (8.6 oz) = 24.95 oz. / 1 lb. 8.95 oz.
5. Cap UL baselayer (3.63 oz) + Capilene 2 (7.33 OZ) + Ghost Whisperer Vest (5.39 oz) = 16.35 oz. / 1lb. .35 oz.
6. Cap UL baselayer (3.63) + Capilene 2 (7.33 oz) = Ghost Whisperer hooded jacket (8.6 oz) = 19.56 oz. / 1 lb. 3.56 oz.
So there are some combinations and numbers to mix and match I used a postal scale to arrive at the weights as can be seen in the photos I have to say for general mountain adventures in Washington’s Cascades I would probably go with the potential max. warmth and diversity and choose combination #4 you can’t go wrong for a system at 1 lb. 8.95 oz. while high pressure in place summertime trips could be managed with combination # 3 or #4 in the end it depends upon what you are comfortable in and with, but these layering products and combinations have a very narrow weight separation, are warm, and ridiculously light. This is just a snap shot of what I am layering with not including my UL shell with a glimpse at what a vest can bring to the trip it is not all encompassing so if you have a question, experience with, or substitution you can leave a comment and I will be happy to get back with you.