Jakewrote a review of Mountain Hardwear Principia Softshell Jacket - Men's on September 24, 2013
Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Once again, Mountain Hardwear has shown that their quality has slipped in recent years. As I see it, the Principia is a pricepoint jacket -meant for Urban commandos who want to look the business (A softshell with a hood that is not made by TNF) but will rarely use the jacket in any real-world climbing/trekking/backcountry applications.
As for me, I was attracted to the price of the jacket and the hood -which is ample in mildly inclement weather. I did not buy this piece to be a go-to for sturdy adventures, but I did expect it to be capable -unfortunately it is NOT. The seams are shoddy, the cuffs are obtrusive -they catch on everything, as the velcro stops about 1/4 inch before the end of the cuff- the hood is floppy, and too large, yet somehow fits too tightly when wearing a helmet; and the fabric? Let's be nice, and just say, it could be better. Actually, you know what, why stop there? More honestly, the fabric is garbage. It looks, feels, and performs as well as a pair of circa 1974 polyester slacks that you can find at the Good Will for 2 bucks. In other words, if, like Macklemore, you wanna pop some tags, you can replicate the Principia for less than 3 dollars. Shoddy stuff here folks.
In contrast, Ive had a different Mtn Hardwear softshell for over 10 years; it's been through blizzards, multi-days with 60 lb packs, and saved my ass more than once. And it still looks good.
Unfortunately, the Principia just proves to me once again that Patagucc and Arc Teryx are the only good North American climbing apparel companies left.
Keep in mind, the Principia looks almost smart enough to fool others in to thinking you're like, totally extreme, when you go out with your woman for a coffee.
Synopsis: Buy a Gamma LT instead, then go climb something worthy of your manhood.