Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $60 - $130 | Compare prices at 6 resellers
Pros: Inexpensive, lightweight.
Cons: Waist pull cords are in pockets, unnecessary bicep pocket, bad zipper, small cuffs.
Best Uses: Around town.
The Marmot Approach is an inexpensive casual softshell made for light hikes, strolls down chilly beaches, and trips around town. It has poor features: a bicep pocket and small wrist cuffs.The Patagonia Adze is a much better casual softshell because its windproof, looks better, and has better features. Check out that review and our Softshell Jacket Review for more info about all of the jackets we've tested.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Marmot Approach is one of the most affordable softshells we've tested. This is the jacket's only significant positive attribute.
As its name implies, the Approach is something you endure before reaching the primary component of an outdoor adventure. The jacket is slightly more breathable than a wind-breaking fleece. Hiking in spring and fall weather is fine (although we'd prefer a fleece and wind breaker), but the Approach jacket is really just a casual softshell. It's better for around-town use, walks on the beach or in the park than for any serious adventure. That said, you certainly could use it for spring skiing and multi-pitch rock climbs.
The jacket is casual because it lacks pit zips and chest height pockets, thus limiting ventilation options and access to pockets when wearing a pack with a hip belt. The waist pull cords are in the pockets, so you'll have to reach into them to cinch the waist. We think this is terrible and emphasizes the jacket's casual nature. The bicep pocket is a weak attempt at elevating the Approach's performance. We think bicep pockets are useless and look bad. The jacket's zipper is taken straight from a sleeping bag. The pull tab runs in a channel so that it can be used from both sides. This is unnecessary because you'll never need to open the jacket from the inside and also annoying because the zipper pull will flip around when the jacket is not being used; you'll have to flip it back in order to zip up the jacket. Finally, the cuffs are relatively small and can't fit over larger gloves. This makes the hook and loop closures less necessary. On the whole, the Approach has none of the right features and many wrong ones.
Around town use.
The Levity jacket is the nearest equivalent for women. It's also $100.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: March 20, 2014
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