testing Mountain Hardwear Air Mesh Hoody for review

Mountain Hardwear AirMesh Review

High warmth-to-weight in a minimalist design with Octa fiber technology

The Mountain Hardwear AirMesh Hoody is an extremely breathable, comfy, high warmth-to-weight ratio fleece. It is constructed with a mesh outer and high tech brushed Octa hollow core yarn lining, and sold at a great price. It performs very well as a standalone fleece for gram counters, or on cool weather hikes when you intend to wear an extra layer while moving. Shop now.

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  • Price: $85
  • Weight 5 oz
  • Fabric: AirMesh, Brushed Back, Octa Yarn, ~100 g/m2
  • Pros: Ultralight. Breathable. No zippers. High warmth-to-weight. Hood. Thumb loops.
  • Cons: Modest warmth and durability. Sheds fuzz during wash cycle

wearing the mountain hardwear airmesh hoody

Features & Construction

Mountain Hardwear AirMesh Hoody is constructed with Octa fiber yarn. This fabric excels thanks to its hollow core and interlocking ridges which create microscopic pockets of dead air that boost its insulative properties.

close up on brushed back octa yarn fuzz

Unlike its chief competitor, TNF FutureFleece which is gridded, Mountain Hardwear AirMesh has a brushed back, meaning there aren’t empty spaces. The interior surface is all just super soft fuzz. The exterior is literally mesh, and as such, the garment is shockingly breathable. Even just walking around lets a breeze pass through.

close up on mesh fabric

With that in mind, we acknowledge that this very lightweight fleece would not feel very warm at all in windy conditions. Like polartec alpha direct hoodies, you may need to pair it with a wind breaker, or at least a rain shell. On the flip, when you’re not moving and it’s not windy, the Airmesh feels very warm relative to its weight. What’s more, it’s perfect for an extra dash of warmth while hiking in cold weather.

close up on thumb loops

The AirMesh Hoody is a lightweight fleece jacket without any zippers, our favorite chassis for a midlayer. Going sans-zipper reduces weight, reduces places that can rub or chafe, increases warmth-to-weight, and reduces cost. It’s mostly all upside.

close up on hood

As features go, AirMesh Hoody has thumb loops and elastic around the hem and cuffs. Minimalist, but that’s really all you need in an ultralight hiking fleece jacket.

backside view of air mesh

Mountain Hardwear AirMesh Review Verdict

A high-tech, lightweight fleece that’s this warm and hyper breathable for under $100 is a killer deal. This is the most well-rounded, high performance ultralight fleece we’ve tested, just know that it is not very effective as an insulator in wind.

selfie in the mountain hardwear airmesh hoody

Compare this to the best hiking fleeces of the year. And polish off your layering system with our guide to hiking shirts, down jackets, and rain gear.