First Impressions

One of the lightest running jackets on the market, the Mountain Hardwear Geist doesn’t skimp on features. It packs down to the size of a baseball and still has plenty of pockets, vents and just enough heft to keep the chill off during shoulder season runs.

Given the capabilities of the Mountain Hardwear Geist jacket, I wasn’t surprised to find it on one of Outside Magazine’s gear lists (Summer 2011 Buyers Guide). I added it to my arsenal in February, found it to be an excellent traveling companion on a trip to the U.K. in March, and continue to seek its protection from the elements in Northern California, where the weather just can’t seem to make up its mind.


Last Fall, I had the chance to try a number of running jackets as I prepared to brave the Winter months outdoors. Not a single one of those products comes close to the Geist in the weight department. Using a super light slightly stretchy nylon shell fabric, the Geist comes in at just six ounces. So light in fact, that barely realize you have it on. There’s virtually no bulk to the jacket allowing it to pack down into almost any space (it can be stuffed into its own pocket if you prefer that method of transport).

Despite its minimalist tendencies, the Geist remains a full-featured jacket. Two slash pockets at the waist accommodate gloves, gels and other items. Behind these, you’ll find two interior pockets for holding your iPod and whatever else you need to carry. On the upper chest is a napoleon pocket for extra capacity. Mountain Hardwear lined the collar with a micro fleece for warmth and a little more comfort. And there’s light elastic at the cuffs and the waist includes a draw string to keep the drafts out.

Additional features include highly reflective accents for safety and visibility at night, a DWR finish to keep you dry, and mesh panels under the arms for added cooling.


The Geist runs true to size, but uses an athletic fit which hugs the body and feels a little tight through the shoulders. Despite that fit, I was easily able to double up on base layers during my runs through Hyde Park in March to keep the chill off. One note, the Geist seems to retain a little funkiness after my runs, more so than other jackets in the rotation. That necessitates washing almost after every use (a very small price to pay for this great jacket).

Final Verdict

Hard to beat the Geist for its light weight, full featured design. If you’re looking for something to keep the wind and drizzle off you on cooler days, definitely give the Geist jacket from Mountain Hardwear a try.

First Impressions:
[Rating:5/5] Features:
[Rating:4.5/5] Fit:
[Rating:3.5/5] Final Verdict:

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. Written by Matt K. And thanks to Mountain Hardwear for providing the product for this review.