Engineered for versatility, the Alpha Switch from Mountain Khakis is a reversible pullover with a DWR rip-stop on one side and a stretch woven fabric on the another. This provides two distinct looks for adapting to the surroundings. Can a simple inversion provide true flexibility? This is my review.
The Alpha Switch Pullover has an overall lightweight build, constructed of light weight blends of spandex and nylon. One side is constructed with a quilted DWR treated rip-stop nylon with two zippered hand pockets and a zippered chest pocket, great for shedding rain and keeping the hands warm. The other side is a soft to the touch stretch woven nylon with a hoody style interconnected hand pocket and a zippered chest pocket, providing a more sporty look. The jacket is lined with 80 gram Polartec Alpha Insulation, which is a light weight, quick drying insulation that performs great in damp conditions or when working up body heat and sweat. The jacket retails for $239.95, comes in a two color variations and is available now.
What I liked
The Alpha Switch is a very comfortable jacket. The fit is somewhat relaxed, which allows for layering or simply provides a less restricted central compartment. While wearing the jacket, I found that I had full range of movement with no tightening around the chest or shoulders when working around camp, which is generally a problem for me as I have a stalky build. The materials feel great to the touch, with smooth stitching that doesn’t rake and smooth weaving that glides across the skin instead of grating against it. The lightly stretchy cuffs keep the wrists in place, and the collar is soft and bends gently with the neck without bunching up or causing resistance.
The jacket provides a great balance of warmth and breathability, providing enough heat to keep me comfortable into the high 50’s while sitting around a breezy camp, but good enough air flow that I could hike into the 20’s without sweating too much or overheating.
The jacket dries really fast. After overexerting myself on a long 1200 foot climb, I noticed the jacket was damp with sweat throughout. After cooling down, the jacket maintained it’s insulating properties and dried in less than 20 minutes, never leaving me chilled throughout the process.
It’s light weight and packable, rolling down to a ball roughly 7 inches in diameter. Taking up so little pack space and weighing so little, it’s a jacket I don’t mind carrying year round.
The jacket also looks really great. My preferred orientation is with the quilted side out, showing off a light cross thatched pattern on the nylon with subtle quilts to add to the texture. The stitching is clean, and overall the jacket has a nice, close to the body fit that creates a wonderful aesthetic that falls square on the boundary of sporty and classic. Reversing the jacket reveals something more modern, with smooth lines and a ready to go attitude thanks to the stretch woven nylon and solid body color. It resonates quality, but remains modest while doing it.
What I didn’t like
Despite having the stretch woven fabric, it’s not very stretchy. The rip-stop nylon presents it’self as a rigid, durable layer that provides little give. It’s only an issue when it comes to taking the jacket off, as the resistance within the fabric makes it a little tricky to remove when paired with my wide shoulders and thick chest. It’s a non-issue while actually wearing it and putting it on however.
No hanging loop…having no way of using a coat rack makes for awkward storage.
The Mountain Khakis Alpha Switch Pullover jacket provides what most jackets do not, variability and adaptability. One jacket can provide two dramatically different looks, and can be used in a wide variety of situations. I found myself wearing it around town daily, enjoying the well regulating warmth while moving, and later utilizing it on the trail for it’s comfortable, durable build and quick drying capabilities. It’s light enough that I’ll be carrying it with me most of the summer for hanging around camp after the air cools, and warm enough that I’ll be hiking with it on frosty winter mornings. Aside from the slight challenge of getting it off, the Alpha Switch is a stunning jacket that will stay with me on and off the trail, and because of that, it’s a jacket that I cannot recommend enough.
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For more information on Mountain Khakis and their exceptional clothing, check out https://www.mountainkhakis.com/
I wanted to send a special thanks out to Mountain Khakis for their continued support and for providing this excellent piece of equipment to review. We couldn’t do this without their help. Thank you so much! Our full disclosure can be found on the about me/contact page.