It has been quite an impressive year for Mountain Hardwear. Over the past 12 months or so, the company has been squarely focused on creating a gear renaissance by setting its sights on getting back to the things that made it one of the trend setters in the outdoor space for so long. In recent years, MH has been criticized for not being as innovative as it once was and for releasing products that fell below the loft expectations that its core customers has come to rely on. But over the past year the Mountain Hardwear design team has been hard at work putting out some of its best products ever. I’ve been especially impressed with the Stretch Down jacket for instance and I love the new Scrambler waterproof backpacks. Now, you can add the AC Henley shirt to that list too.
At first glance, you’re probably wondering why I would be impressed with what appears to be a simple knit shirt. After all, just about everyone offers their own version of something similar. But, the AC Henley separates itself from the crowd by being incredibly lightweight. So much so that it is almost impossible to convey to you just how light this shirt is without you actually feeling it for yourself. MH says that it tips the scales at a mere 2.3 ounces, and in your hand it literally feels feather-light. That means you could carry several of these in your pack without adding much in thew way of weight or bulk.
The AC Henley is made up of woven fabrics that are designed to wick moisture, breathe naturally, and keep us cool and dry even in active situations. It features all-over perforation that helps with that process too. All of this adds up to a highly technical shirt that doesn’t look especially “outdoorsy.” That makes it a great option for wearing on the trail, climbing at the gym, traveling to far flung places, or simply wearing around town.
I recently took the AC Henley with me on my trip to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and found it to be an excellent travel companion. It is extremely comfortable to wear, and I love that it is form-fitting without restricting movement in any way. As mentioned, the shirt is extremely lightweight, but yet still kept me warm when worn on its own, yet cool and dry when used as part of a layering system while hiking up some steep, challenging trails. For me, it is the ultimate travel shirt, providing outstanding performance while barely adding any weight to a pack or luggage. After testing it for three weeks on a journey across the Southern Ocean, I can honestly say that it will be one of the first pieces of clothing that I reach for when packing for future trips.
Priced at $70 this isn’t an inexpensive shirt by any means, but based on weight and performance alone it is worth the cost for those who like to travel light and need comfortable, versatile clothing to take with them. But because it is so lightweight I have some concerns about durability over time. At this point, I haven’t seen a single reason to believe that the AC Henley won’t hold up to the rigors of the road. In fact, mine still looks brand new despite being worn multiple times in a short time span. But, only time will tell if it can continue to look and perform this good.
When it comes to the the Mountain Hardwear AC Henley, seeing truly is believing. As I’ve already mentioned, it is impossible to understand how lightweight this shirt really is until you’ve actually felt it for yourself. After you’ve done that, chances are you’ll become a convert too. It really is that amazing.
Kraig is an outdoor and adventure travel writer based in Nashville, TN. Over the course of his career, he has contributed to numerous online and print outlets, including Popular Mechanics, Gear Junkie, Outside Online, National Geographic, Digital Trends, Business Insider, TripSavvy, about.com, and of course The Adventure Blog.
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