Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Mountain Hardwear Exposure2 Gore-tex Paclite Stretch - Gear Hacker

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Mountain Hardwear Exposure/2 Gore-Tex Paclite Review

  • Weather Resistance 80% 80%
  • Breathability 70% 70%
  • Packability 70% 70%
  • Features 70% 70%

Price: $220

Waterproofing: Gore-Tex Paclite 2.5 layer

Weight: 12.5oz/355g

What We Like: Stretch Fabric

What We Don’t: No Pit Zips

A quiet and stretchy rain jacket did not seem possible even five years ago. However, today companies are introducing technology that keeps jackets quieter and allows more movement while still maintaining top-level protection from the elements. The Mountain Hardwear Exposure/2 uses elastane to improve mobility while maintaining the waterproofing. It is missing some features that would have helped overall, like pit zips. The jacket can get warm while on the move and pit zips would have helped to regulate temperature without having to open the front zipper. All in all, the Exposure/2 is a great jacket.

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Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Mountain Hardwear Exposure2 Gore-tex Paclite Stretch - Gear Hacker

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Pros

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Waterproofing: Gore-Tex Paclite 2.5 layer

Weight: 12.5oz/355g

Rain jackets are often expected to be a bit uncomfortable and noisy, but Mountain Hardwear has tossed aside these preconceptions with the Exposure/2 rain jacket, which embraces mobility and comfort. They’ve paired elastane with a waterproof face material to make things more stretchy, which raises the question: Does this impact waterproofing or breathability? Fortunately, not at all.

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Mountain Hardwear Exposure2 Gore-tex Paclite Stretch - Gear Hacker

Weather-Proofing

Mountain Hardwear uses Gore-Tex Paclite for this lightweight, packable rain shell. Like the Black Diamond StormLine Stretch, the 2.5-layer design will excel in moderate conditions but may become overwhelmed when things get epic. The bottom hem cinch and wrist Velcro do a good job of adjusting the fit to keep out the rain.

Gore-Tex Paclite is known to not breathe as well as other Gore-Tex products or the Paclite Plus laminate. The breathability is lacking a bit, especially without pit zips. While the Gore-Tex laminate is often better than most brands’ in-house waterproofing, it does add an additional cost to the product.

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Mountain Hardwear Exposure2 Gore-tex Paclite Stretch - Gear Hacker

Weight and Durability

Careful: the Mountain Hardwear website does say that the Exposure/2 is only 2.3oz or 78g. As light as a “C” battery—now that would be impressive! Unfortunately, the reality is that the jacket is 12.5oz, the same as a can of tomato soup, and the same weight as the REI XeroDry GTX, which also uses Gore-Tex Paclite laminate.

The Mountain Hardware Exposure/2 is a well-built shell. While it won’t be as durable as a 3-layer hardshell, it feels solid and we have no worries about the longevity of the jacket. There is no information on the thickness of the jacket or the denier, but it feels quite solid and should perform for a long time.

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Mountain Hardwear Exposure2 Gore-tex Paclite Stretch - Gear Hacker

Features

The Exposure/2 is missing one of our favorite features—pit zips, making it more difficult to dump heat. The two handwarmer pockets are large, and the chest pocket is medium-sized. The handwarmer pockets are mesh-lined, which will help with some ventilation.

The hood has a cool design and will cover your face well, it is not large enough to go over a helmet, but the collar is really high, which is very effective at keeping the wind and rain off your face. The hood only has a rear cinch, so it is not as customizable as hoods with three cinch points. As mentioned earlier, the wrist Velcro adjustment points work well, and the hem cinch helps to dial in your fit.

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Mountain Hardwear Exposure2 Gore-tex Paclite Stretch - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

The addition of stretch into the face fabric has made the Exposure/2 comfortable and mobile without compromising on its weather protection. The lack of pit zips does hinder its overall performance and makes it more challenging to regulate temperature while on the move. The hood could also have been a little bigger to fit a helmet.

The Mountain Hardware Exposure/2 uses Gore-Tex Paclite, so the $220 price tag is reasonable, but we would have loved to see pit zips; it would add some weight but also increase the versatility of the jacket. It is a great shell for hiking and wearing around town, and the black version is especially stylish. Honestly, I would choose the Black Diamond StormLine Stretch over this jacket I’d save myself $70 and get those oh-so-needed pit zips.

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Mountain Hardwear Exposure2 Gore-tex Paclite Stretch - Gear Hacker

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!