Leaves are turning and pumpkins are out everywhere. It’s that time of year when the rowdiest of adventures return to being the exclusive property of those willing to brave the rowdiest of weather—it’s layers season.

Since the spring I’ve been keeping the Stretch Ozonic Jacket from Mountain Hardwear in my pack anytime I’ve ventured overnight or up high, and now that fall is here it’s often what I leave the house in.

This is a stretchy, ultra-light backpacking soft shell that should be in everyone’s arsenal as a get-out-of trouble layer. It’s so light there’s really no point not bringing it along and it packs smaller than a t-shirt.

Keeping dry in Terrace, BC, mid-summer.
Keeping dry in Terrace, BC, mid-summer.

The 2.5-layer design is hardy and comes with all the features of a full shell: pit zips (though oddly placed a little forward from the actual pits), Velcro cuffs, adjustable waist and hood, breast pocket and front pockets that double as extra vents. If it had a two-way zipper for harness access it would be a perfect belay or light climbing jacket, too, and could be considered for light spring skiing days.

Using Mountain Hardwear’s proprietary Dry Q Active 40 D Stretch material, it sheds water and breathes beautifully. It is, however, not a rain jacket, if you go out in a monsoon this will not keep you dry, it’s best for marginally wet weather where your own body helps you keep warm and vaporize moisture.

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I’ve had this on alpine hikes, overnighters and even just wet city days, and it’s hard to find anything to complain about. But where I’ve used it the most is actually mountain biking—not its intended use. I was nervous the stretchy fabric might catch or hook and tear, but it hasn’t happened once. After about 30 days use its still in great shape, and even sheds mud super well.

The Stretch Ozonic being used as body armour in Nelson, BC.
The Stretch Ozonic being used as body armour in Nelson, BC.

At $200 its priced about average for it’s category, but it’s performance and features distinguish it from competitors that might use elastic cuffs and simpler designs. The Stretch Ozonic is an excellent addition to any adventurer’s summer foul-weather repertoire, or for fall.


  • Dry Q® Active’s waterproof, breathable technology banishes moisture
  • 40D face fabric is light and durable
  • Center-front AquaGuard® VISLON® zipper seals out moisture
  • Pit zips provide ventilation where you need it most
  • 2-way adjustable hood features a bonded, structured brim to hold its shape
  • Single covered, zippered chest pocket for extra storage
  • Two zippered handwarmer pockets are harness- and pack-compatible
  • Velcro® cuffs seal away the elements
  • Dual PU zippered pockets keep hands warm and valuables secure


  • Fabric Body: Dry Q™ Active 40D 2 5L Stretch


CBL: 29 in / 72 cm

  • Apparel Fit: Standard
  • Weight: 9.7 oz / 276 g