I spent all season dialing in my gear, from base layers to mid layers to shells.
Recently my Mt. Hardware Alakazam jacket started to deteriorate beyond an acceptable point.
Long story short....... I spent all season wasting time on base layers and mid layers and down vests etc, only to find out that once I got an ArcTeryx Goretex shell that the Mt. Hardware coat was my problem source.
I can't speak about all MT. Hardware, just the Alakazam. It has the soft shell / hard shell combo.
I put 31 days on it. It has small holes in the lower pockets area, and chaffing marks everywhere. A side from how it's held up this $550.00 dollar coat lets wind through like a screen door!
Until today when I first tried the ArcTeryx/Gore I had to always go back to the car and get a mid layer or second mid layer. Even on days in the high 40s lower 50s I would have to go get the TNF fleece.....a medium weight polartec. I'd get worked up in the morning runs with just a base layer and then take a break. After the break and body temp cool down I'd go back out and the wind would blow right through the shell to my base layer making me cold causing me to go get another layer, or in a few instances just call it quits for the day.
Today top temp of 44 degrees (departure), low of 34 (arrival), I wore my new ArcTeryx Goretex Sidewinder SV (Severe weather) jacket with only a base layer. All day. Not only did I sweat I ate shit once on one of the steepest slopes on our hill and loaded up with corn snow. Yep nice and wet. No matter what the situation I barely felt a minor chill. Barely. I never had to mid layer up. Even after being wet from somersaulting in the corn.
Don't know if it's Goretex or ArcTeryx or both, but I know it's night and day difference. I never got as hot and I never got as cold. I sweat the same (easy sweater).
Now.... to be fair I have the most expensive MT. Hardware hard shell....no liner pants money can buy and they have always kept me warm with just a base layer or a base layer and some work out polyester shorts.
Also the Mt. Hardware coat/ shell did keep 100% of the water out. I know for a fact because I kept getting so wet from sweating and the coat not breathing my heat out that I thought it was leaking water in. SO...... I took a shower in it. Not one drop made it through.
The conclusion? MT. Hardware might have some good stuff (my pants work great) but there Alakazam jacket is crap in durability, wind protection and letting hot air escape.
I personally believe it's the soft shell material they use. It's the part that is wearing prematurely and the part I think is letting most of the air in.
My buddy I ride with was wearing a base and a mid layer two days in a row last week. He has the snowtastic which has the same soft material. It was over 50*. !!!
This is just my experience. I've read a lot of praise about Dry Q Elite, a lot from the Teton Gravity forums, and other websites. Not sure what went wrong with my coat, or if what is wrong with Dry Q Elite. From what I can gather MT. Hardware is still working out some issues. Growing pains maybe? They have tons and tons of zipper issues as well.
A nice feature of the ArcTyrex Sidewinder is you don't have to 'unzip' it. Just pull on the either side of the collar and it unzips. It's a feature they implemented and I like it a lot!