The trend in lightweight, performance outerwear has seen a number of advancements in the last few years, and manufacturers continue to push those limits. Blending ultra-thin, weather resistant fabrics that easily stash, these pieces unstow to save the day when things get ugly outside, and the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket is a strong example of what is possible.

We’ve worn the Ghost Lite climbing Rocky Mountain peaks, mountain biking through hail storms, trail running in high winds and sleeping in the back of a Subaru. This is what we’ve found:

Highlights – Z-Grav 15 Denier ripstop nylon fabric; an astonishing 3 ounces; highly compressive.

This piece is perfect for fluctuating temperatures: clip it on the back of your harness, stash it in your bike or running kit. It’s remarkably light and functional – think tissue paper – really tough tissue paper. Having several encounters with tree limbs while riding, climbing abrasive sandstone and bushwhacking through alpine willows, the fabric stood up to all of it.

Features: Hood stow tab, elastic hood band and cuffs, waist line draw string, chest pocket.

The fabric, however, is not a water proof breathable, but it’s not supposed to be. The Ghost Lite cuts wind, and can handle light precipitation, but how it excels is with keeping warmth inside – a perfect match with mid layer on a cold day. Any heavy precipitation and it’s saturated. When it does take some moisture, it dries remarkably fast.

This garment is ghost light – a phantom in your pack – and a sheer layer to wear. The fabric is surprisingly durable, and the fit is true, athletic yet snug, allowing tremendous freedom of movement.

Overall, the Ghost light is impressive – a go-to for cold runs, a long belay or a dark ride home. When the weather gets nasty, you might want something a little heavier.