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A no-frills shell for demanding ascents.

Utilizing Mountain Hardwear's Dry.Q Elite membrane, the Men's Quasar Lite Jacket is breathable the moment you put it on, allowing you to move at a quick clip from the first step of your ascent. Breathable, waterproof, and light, the Quasar Lite was designed for fast-moving ascents where staying dry from the inside and out is crucial to success. The simple and straightforward design saves weight by cutting out all the unnecessary bells and whistles. A three-way adjustable, helmet compatible hood, two pack-compatible chest pockets, and adjustable cuffs provide everything you need to stay comfortable and dry in the alpine.

  • Dry.Q Elite 2.5-layer shell (25K)
  • Fully taped seams
  • 40D nylon face fabric
  • Active fit
  • Three-way adjustable, helmet compatible hood
  • Water-resistant zippers
  • Adjustable cuffs and hem
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

Mountain Hardwear Quasar Lite Jacket

    Great Jacket, very lightweight but durable. Bought it for touring but you can easily wear it in cold and rainy weather. The bright yellow is awesome.

    Very well constructed!

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Medium

    The fit of mountain hardwear jackets are second to none when it comes to their fashionability/functionality. This jacket is so sharp that I really don't have any qualms with wearing this jacket around town, even if it's not raining. Anyway, this baby is super sleek. It basically has no seams, as they all seem to be taped, which greatly increases the water protection on the piece. This also has a super bomber breathable membrane that will keep you completely dry but also allow you to vent any extra perspiration in case you're sweating a bit on a muggy day. I also really liked the backpack compatible pockets. They are nice and high on the torso so you can access them even if you're lugging around your pack. Overall, great add to the gear closet!

    Where are the seams?

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Small

    This jacket is a super lightweight shell. Durable, functional, and breathable. It is pretty amazing how they were able to do the stitching where you literally have to look pretty hard to even find the seams. This really helps with making it waterproof but it also makes it looks super cool and unique. It has a little stretch to the fabric and it was extremely breathable. I used it while doing a high-intensity bike ride and didn't feel clammy or wet.

    Great jacket

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size

    "The jacket was purchased for touring. I bought it early in hopes of kindling the season, and it did dust in September! I took this shell out hiking when the Wasatch was threatening and it worked great. Halfway up to A basin the skies opened up. This baby came out and kept me bone dry in moderate but sustained rain. Wind was no problem. I have no doubt it will protect me from pow come skidom. I bought a size up to accommodate a poof, and it fits just right. "

    Great Jacket

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: XL

    Great middle of the road shell that I use as a rain jacket in the summer and as a skiing shell in the winter. I have the shark color which as mentioned is much more "grey" than the black color it appears to be in the picture. The fit is really spot on as well, XL fits great for a tall and lean frame.

    Bright Yellow

      I've been wearing MHW shells for the past 5 years. The main difference I noticed with the Quasar Lite jacket is the fit. In the past my shells have had a really boxy raincoat fit that I would have to size down. This jacket has a true to size fit for all other brands except previous MHW shells. It is extremely light, waterproof and breathable. I got the yellow for safety reasons. When I'm flying through tourists around Snowbird, I like to be more visible so people have a better chance to get out of my way.

      Bright Yellow

      Go Light, Go Light, Go Light. Repeat.

      • Size Bought: Large

      That is becoming my new mantra.

      This thing is really light. I will call it an in between from the weight of my Alpha SV shell and the Stretch Typhoon rain jacket from MHW I own. The later I would never think about bringing on the mountain during winter.

      How many times do you wear your shell? Me.. Not much at all. I haul that SOB up and down the mountain and it doesn't really see much action. That is why I wanted to get a lighter shell than the bombproof Alpha SV. I also believe that this jacket will breath better than the heavy turd I have been hauling around.

      It's not that I can't haul weight and that I haven't in the past. I am just starting to see how much more enjoyable climbing is with lighter and better thought out gear choices. It adds up quick and does make a difference.

      If I don't think I am going to use it, I am starting to leave certain things behind. A shell is just a smart thing to always bring in the PNW. Might as well have it weigh next to nothing if it is going to come with you.

      The jacket is very nice and it really does feel more like a lightweight rain jacket than a standard Goretex shell jacket.

      The two front pockets are nice, along with their placement. The hood is very nice and is one I find I would use. Most really suck on most jackets but this one really fits and moves nicely.

      My only gripe and it isn't really a gripe.. It is an athletic cut and not a shell jacket you could put over all your other layers to keep them dry. This one you could get over almost everything except a decent sized puffy down. The hem cinch is very clumsy and the zippers on the pockets go down nicely but really don't like zipping back up. They feel forced while zipping up.

      I do believe that I will start to use a shell more often with this jacket. Having what feels like a tent in the Alpha SV jacket really hampers me wanting to throw it on.

      If you are looking to lighten up your gear and still want a shell that can handle the elements, I think this is a good choice.

      superlight GoreTex shell

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: Runs small
      • Size Bought: medium

      I purchased this jacked for a climbing trip to patagonia. The pro I was with said this is THE jacket to get when ounces matter. I since used it skiing for a few days in a major snowstorm. I was toasty dry when the wind, sleet and snow was barreling at me all day long.

      Here is the deal:
      - uberlight
      - minimalist design
      - shell only; must be worn with insulating layer in any cool temps.
      - great pocket placement - excellent or skiing and/or mountaineering.
      - super sharp looking
      - trim / "athletic": fitting

      Spartan Shell

      • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: Large

      All of the features you need, none that you dont.

      Exterior pockets are massive, which is exactly what I was looking for in a ski touring shell. I can stash the skins without taking off my backpack.

      Interior mesh pocket is a little on the small side, good for stashing bars and beanies and stuff, a pair of mittens or gloves would be a tight squeeze.

      Durability wise, being a 2.5L shell, I can see it only getting 4-5 years of use. Thing is, very rarely am I using a shell in the mountains anyway. More often than not I find myself in a baselayer, microgrid fleece and wind layer. With or without a 60g Primaloft 1 jacket over the top for active use. If it really start to dump or gets windy then Ill throw the shell over the top. The main reason I bought this over the standard Quasar is the 40D vs 15D face fabric. 40D is the sweet spot between ultralight and bomber durable, I felt that 15D of the normal quasar would rip easily. For reference heavy duty shells are around 70D.

      Hood is great, I have a giraffe neck so normally helmet compatible hoods do not exist for me. With this jacket, it is helmet compatible, but does restrict movement. So for the average person, this hood should be perfect.

      Price. Since I got this on Cyber Monday, I paid $85 shipped to my door. I think the MSRP is a little high, $150-200 seems much more fair considering this is a 2.5L shell.

      Fit is roomy with the large, perfect for layering underneath, very roomy as a standalone. Great coverage.

      Slips under my puffys very nicely when taking a break.

      Will update if the durability is a problem, but so far it gets 4 stars due to the smaller mesh interior pocket and less than easy to use zipper (which will break in).


      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: medium

      I was looking for a 4 season rain jacket that's light, waterproof, and breathable. My last one did not breath enough, it was an eddie bauer outlet purchase. Since, I am smitten with the GHOST WHISPERER, I pulled the trigger when it was 20% off. I am planning on taking this to hike Machu Piccu next spring.
      FIT: PRETTY GOOD. I am a short asian dude with a muscular build, medium was a great fit with room to add layers. I put the QUASAR LITE over my GHOST WHISPERER (also medium) and looked and felt good. This jacket was designed for alpine stuff so the sleeves are long but adjustable. The jacket has excellent mobility.

      WATERPROOFNESS: SOLID. I walked each of my 2 pups separately for 45 min each in an intermittent drizzle/ light to medium rain. I was dry as a bone. At the end of the 2 walks the jacket appeared to absorb a little moisture vs outright repelling it, but again, I was dry. The jacket was completely dry after 10 minutes of hanging inside the crib.

      BREATHABILITY: EXCELLENT! I was stoked to walk the dogs at a brisk pace with a few layers underneath, tshirt and hooded sweatshirt. No issues. I am a prolific sweat producer, and I never got too warm. Pockets apparently double as was about 45 degrees so I didn't notice a ton of body heat escaping. I also sprinted 8 city blocks and never over heated. I'm impressed.

      AESTHETICS: OK. I chose the SHARK color scheme. What you get is a MUCH LIGHTER GRAY, than what is pictured. My GHOST WHISPERER is also SHARK, and considerably darker, if not black. They should update the photos to reflect the actual color. I'll attach a picture when I get a chance.

      CONSTRUCTION: PRETTY GOOD. So far it seems durable. The zippers all work fine. Internal pockets are nice. The high collar is awesome in inclimate weather, but a little wonky when the jacket is open to the collar bone. It just doesn't lay quite right and you consistently grace our chin when turning to look around. The hood is great and adjustable.

      OVERALL: VERY HAPPY. I was in the market for a great 4 season rain/hiking jacket. I can't wait to take it out this winter!

      Unanswered Question

      I'm looking for a jacket with all these features but I also want to add one last feature which is a self stow pocket. I want to stow it away and clip it to a harness and not have to wear it for an entire day. Any suggestions??

      Would you reccommend the Quasar Lite or the Torsun as a 4-season emergency hardshell used for scrambling/mountaineering in the summer and ski touring/mountaineering in the winter?


      If you are looking for the lighter and more packable jacket the Quasar Lite is the way to go. If you are more concerned with durability and weather resistance go with the Torsun which is a 3 layer jacket. The Quasar lite does get you an extra 1" in length which might be nice for touring and mountaineering. If you want to talk some more about these jacket please contact me.

      Dan Gates

      Expert Gearhead


      How does the waterproof rating and breathability rating compare to GoreTex?

      Best Answer

      Robby, they say its = if not better than Gore-Tex. They also offer a comfort guarantee that if its not as good, they will take care of you!

      Feel free to hit me up at or 801-736-6398.

      How does the waterproof rating and breathability rating compare to Dry.Q EVAP?

      Best Answer

      EVAP is a step down from their Elite. Not as breathable or waterproof.

      Is EVAP a membrane, or a coating? I've read some articles that call it a coating, and some a membrane. That would definitely spell out the difference!

      The Dry Q part is the membrane, the EVAP portion is a different surface or coating they use to propel wicking from the interior.