Fall 2010 Marmot Women's Minimalist Jacket
Owner Review by Meaghan Emery
July 19th, 2011
Name: Meaghan Emery
Weight: 135 lb
Email Address: molluskhunter@...
Detroit, Oregon, United States
Backpacking Background: I started backpacking 10 years ago, and most enjoy short trips in low-level mountainous or desert areas. However, my current career as a biologist performing surveys for terrestrial mollusks (slugs and snails) means I work off-trail in the Cascade mountains of Oregon. As I am camping as well, I am always searching for gear that stands up to the rigors of constant bush-whacking, an annual rainfall of 89 inches, and temperatures that hover around 50 degrees.
Manufacturer: Marmot Mountain, LLC
Year of manufacture: Fall 2010
Listed weight: 14.4 oz
Weight as delivered: 15.2 oz
Product description: The 2010 Marmot Women's Minimalist Jacket is a Gore-tex rain shell advertised for its water and wind-proofing capabilities. As part of Marmot's Paclite series, this jacket is also described as light and breathable, designed to wick away sweat as well as keeping water from seeping in. It is machine washable, and can be tumble-dried or steam-ironed, as well as dry-cleaned.
100% Seam Taped - For Full Waterproofness
PitZips - Underarm Zip That Extends Into the Body for Aggressive Venting
Attached Adjustable Hood - Reduces Volume and is Secured with a Velcro Hood Tab
Zippered Hand Pockets - For Convenience
Storm Flap over Zipper with Snap/Velcro® Closure - Storm Flap over Zipper with Snap/Velcro Closure
Elastic Draw Cord Hem - For Adjustability in Serious Weather
DriClime® Lined Chin Guard - Moisture Wicking Fabric Protects Your Face From the Zipper
Angel-Wing Movement - Allows Full Range of Motion in Arms so Jacket Doesn't Ride Up
Sized Specifically for Women - To Fit Your Body, Not a Smaller Men's Version
27 1/4" Center Back Length for Size Medium
I use this product in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. This area is very, very wet: it receives an average of 89 inches of rain each year. It's also on the chilly side, with an annual high of 59.9 F and low of 42 degrees. I'm hiking entirely off trail, through extensive bushes and between elevations of 1500 and 5000 feet, though I rarely travel more than 4 miles a day. I'm out in the elements for up to 13 hours at a time, and the weather can fluctuate pretty rapidly. As a field biologist, I spend a lot of time on the ground looking through wet leaf litter, meaning that my hands and legs are frequently in prolonged contact with wet ground. Between constant rain from the sky, water collected on leaves, and sitting on soggy ground, if my gear isn't waterproof it'll show pretty quickly. The slopes I hike on range between 40 and 80 degrees, and snags on rhododendrons, logs, fir trees and rock faces are very common.
I purchased this particular jacket in May, right before heading into the field for what turned out to be a never-ending winter of rain. I wear it daily, while hiking through extensive brush and for long hours exposed to the rain and cold. It's seen about 500 hours of field time at this point. The sort of terrain that I hike through is not kind to gear but despite numerous slips, slides and outright tumbles, this jacket has proven not only to be waterproof, but also tear-proof. I am immensely impressed by it's durability; everything else I own (including backpack, boots, rain pants, and underlayers) has not held up under the same stresses. To date, despite numerous snags and grabs on a daily basis, I do not have a single tear in the fabric.
Gore-tex is "Guaranteed to keep you dry" and I have found that this jacket holds up to that guarantee fairly reliably. The only area of potential leakage is at the wrists, where wet gloves sometimes allow water to percolate in. The velcro straps at each wrist can minimize this seeping effect when tightened, but are not 100% effective. This problem can be traced back to my gloves, which are more water absorbant than they are water proof, and act as a sponge right against the jacket opening.
I also have small wrists, and so part of the velcro flap overhangs and is free to collect debris while I work. In some cases, the velcro is forced open by the amount of debris that gets shoved in it - in future models I would recommend either having the strap get shortened, or the attaching velcro side get lengthened, so that no part of the strap hangs free.
The hood has elastic to tighten the opening, and a velcro strap to adjust it or keep it curled up and out of use. Unfortunately, as I have long hair that I keep in a bun or ponytail, the hood is pushed back already and isn't quite long enough to overhang if I'm wearing a hat. Marmot should make the hood longer and keep the adjustable velcro strap on the back to compensate for people of all head and hair sizes.
Despite this, the hood does keep me dry and doesn't allow water to drip back in past the rim and down my neck. The neckline itself is tight and stands rigidly upright when zipped shut to prevent water entering at my chin, yet also doesn't brush against or chafe my mouth. The zipper is lined with something they call "Dri-Clime" chin guard, and it does seem to absorb a great deal of humid breathing and drool without becoming damp. If zippers that come up past your chin bother you, though, this jacket may not be ideal as leaving the neckline unzipped does allow water in. Oh, and if you've eaten tuna that day, be prepared to be smelling it until you wash the jacket again - Dri-Clime doesn't repel odors as well as it does moisture.
As this jacket is made of Gore-tex, I was a little nervous about condensation and overheating. However, the vents on the underarms work wonderfully to help me cool off, and I haven't found sweat condensation to be a problem at all. Provided I am not wading through wet bushes, I remain dry even with the underarm vents (or "pitzips" as Marmot calls them) fully unzipped - it is only when being smacked by soaked leaves that water manages to get in there. For cold-weather climates, the Pitzips provide adequate cooling; on the rare warmer days, they aren't enough to keep you from overheating.
The jacket fits me well, even in arm length which I have found to be a problem in the past. It is loose enough to fit several layers underneath it, but the fabric is stiff enough it doesn't bunch and allow water to pool. It is, however, a bit too stiff to fold up tightly, making it difficult to fit into a backpack despite its light weight.
I purchased the black version, and have been terribly impressed by how little dirt it shows. What it does show is easily washed away by rag, though the jacket is machine washable and, amazingly, can be shoved in the drier afterward. Close the pockets when you wash it, though, or you'll pull it out with two pouches full to the brim with water. It also air-dries very quickly - easily within half an hour if placed somewhere warm and dry, and within an hour if it's humid and cold. The velcro at the wrists does collect a massive amount of pine needles and debris, which can clog it and make it difficult to shut, but since this, too, is easily washed away, it doesn't present a long-term closure problem.
On the whole, this jacket has performed admirably well against heavy rain, sopping wet brush, and wear and tear of branches, rocks, and my own exceptional clumsiness. The only real complaint I have is the hood, which is adjustable but not made long enough to compensate for buns or ponytails. Because of it's durability and quick-drying capacity, this jacket is perfect for daily use in a chilly, very wet area. It's also excellent for off-trail travel. I would not recommend this jacket as a mere back-up layer, because it takes up so much space and doesn't compress well.
Things I Like:
2) Durable and tear-proof
3) Roomy enough for layers
4) Pitzips are cooling yet waterproof
5) Minimal condensation wetness
6) Quick-drying exterior
7) Difficult to dirty and easy to clean
Things I Don't Like:
1) Hood is too small
2) Velcro straps are too long and get clogged with debris
3) Difficult to fold
4) Wrists are not 100% water proof
5) "Dri-Clime" chin guard is not tuna-proof
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Also, I spend much of my time in the field, and so don't get internet access very often. I usually make it into town every 2 to 3 days or so. Considering that, it may take me a little while to edit this review.