Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Beefy and Modular
Cons: Bulky and uncomfortable collar
Best Uses: Ski Resort and around town wear
The Marmot Sidehill jacket, on average, comes out below the middle of our pack of tested jackets. However, we only choose excellent products to review, and the Sidehill Component model brings some unique attributes. By far, its most salient characteristic is its weighty and solid construction. It is the heaviest jacket in our test, and the best built of the 3-in-1 style jackets. We stand by the value of our Best Buy winning The North Face Vortex Triclimate and like the function and look of the Columbia Whirlibird Interchange 3-in-1. But if you want higher quality and life-long function in a modular parka, the Marmot could be for you.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Marmot Sidehill Component jacket brings beefy construction and fleecy durability to a modular "3-in-1" jacket. As compared to the other modular jackets in our test, the Sidehill is much, much beefier.
The Marmot Sidehill is the only jacket in our test without some sort of "puff" insulation. As such, despite its solid feel, it is not among the warmest. The fleece insulation and thick shell combine to provide adequate, though not spectacular, insulation ability. Among the modular jackets, this is the least insulating. As compared to the whole roster, the Marmot is warmer than the Top Pick winning Arc'teryx Modon and the low-end Spyder Sentinel
Strictly speaking, the Marmot does not ventilate very well. With short pit-zips in the shell only, air doesn't run freely to the inside of the jacket. However, if ventilation is required to modulate the comfort, humidity, and temperature of the user, all of the 3-in-1 style jackets perform at the top of the heap. With the option to use the parts together, or each separately, the Marmot Sidehill serves to protect and insulate across a very wide range of temperatures. We dropped the ratings slightly as compared to the other modular pieces because the fleece liner barely blocks the wind. Essentially, while wearing just the fleece liner, all insulating value is lost when the skier moves down the hill. The Best Buy The North Face Vortex Triclimate is far more versatile. The inner can be worn on warmer days for less insulation, but it still blocks the wind.
This is a solid performer in this category. Marmot makes clothing for burly conditions, and brings that pedigree to this piece as well. Their proprietary shell fabric keeps the cost down without compromising on weather resistance. The DWR is solid and the thick fabric lets no wind through. The heavy front zipper flap blocks precip and air.
A simple and solid powder skirt is Marmot's primary nod to ski specific function. They built this jacket to be unobtrusive around town, yet still work on the hill. As a result, the feature set is somewhat limited.
The heavy construction, modular design, and fleece liner combine to make this jacket feel bulky and somewhat uncomfortable. With three zippers and countless layers of fabric all meeting at the front of the jacket collar, this sensitive portion of a skier's face feels hemmed in by the bulk of the Marmot Sidehill Component jacket. Additionally, the fleece liner binds on the clothing underneath.
Our testers liked the neutral styling of this jacket. One dished out a subtle compliment when he said "this is a jacket that my non-skiing brother would buy".
If you like all the perks of a modular jacket and want one that will last virtually forever, this is the one for you.
The construction is beefy, the insulation will last forever (fleece doesn't suffer the degradation with time that synthetic puff insulation does) and the price is moderate. If you can stand the bulk and rigidity of the piece, the Marmot Sidehill Component is a great jacket for you.
Marmot makes high quality, mid-priced clothing. Their Sidehill Component Jacket is no exception.
Other Versions and Accessories
None to note.
— Jediah Porter
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: February 24, 2014
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