Mountain Equipment Astron Hooded 2011

The Mountain Equipment Astron Hooded is an extremely popular jacket that has in the past been Trail’s ‘Best in Test’. It’s made of Polartec Powershield, which has a perforated membrane to make it very windproof yet breathable. There’s also a brushed lining that gives it just about the right amount of insulation for winter walks, with the addition of a very thin microfleece or a thick base layer underneath. The sides of the jacket use a Powerstretch fabric, which is less windproof but more stretchy and breathable.
The Astron has just two chest pockets, but the two it does have are are nice and big, and they’re easily accessible while wearing a rucksack harness. There’s a good hood too and the sleeves are designed to prevent the cuffs from riding up.
The Mountain Equipment Astron Hooded is a superb jacket for mountaineering, scrambling and backpacking; but it is shaded into second place in our test by the Montane Sabretooth, which offers a little bit more in terms of features, warmth, performance and value. For some people this will be a winner – it’s light, has two good chest pockets and feels very durable. For many, that will make it the perfect choice.

Material Polartec Powershield, Powerstretch
Weight 422g (size men’s L)
External pockets 2
Internal pockets 0
Hood yes
Pit zips no
Men’s sizes S-XL
Women’s sizes 8-16

The Mountain Equipment Astron Hooded is a perfect soft shell if your priorities are weight, a hood and two mega pockets; but other jackets have advantages.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine October 2011