Most versatile lightweight puffy
The Ghost Whisperer has long been considered a classic in the ultralight category, and it retains that status with this update. It’s not the warmest in the test, but it’s also not the wimpiest; the Ghost Whisperer/2 worked well over a base layer while we hiked in low 30s temps in Alaska’s Chugach State Park, and fended off the late-fall chill in Wyoming’s Titcomb Basin over a fleece in 40°F weather.
The Ghost Whisperer/2’s 800-fill down makes it an adequately totable jacket that weighs just under 9 ounces. It squishes down small enough to slide into a backpack’s water bottle pocket, which is where one tester “lost” it while backpacking near Bird Creek, Alaska.
Lightweight, 10-denier ripstop nylon face fabric is the standard for jackets in this category, but it’s far from invincible: It suffered a small rip while we bushwhacked through alders and willows in search of a ski line on Alaska’s Turnagain Pass. On that same trip, falling snow and wind couldn’t dent the warmth thanks to a PFC-free DWR treatment and the nylon’s tight weave, but harder precip would have called for a shell. Testers on desert trips noted the lightweight zipper needed to be babied around sand, which messed with the delicate teeth.
The helmet-compatible (yet snug-fitting) hood has elastic around the opening, and the double hand pockets zip shut, though they can be a little finicky to open and close because of the lightweight material. A drawcord hem seals out drafts.
$325; 8.8 oz.; m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL