Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Moderately lightweight, great combination of materials, unrestrictive fit, great cuffs.
Cons: Best for high output activities in cold windy weather.
Best Uses: Nordic skiing, winter hiking, snowshoeing, winter running.
The Marmot Leadville is one of our top rated non-hooded softshells. This jacket's combination of materials and great features make it a top performer for aerobic activities in cold, windy conditions. If cross-country skiing in your thing, the Leadville might join you for every time you go out. Our testers loved everything about this jacket except for the small zipper pulls, which are hard to grab with gloves on.
Although this jacket is very good, several other close competitors score slightly higher in our ratings. Check out our complete Softshell Jacket Review to see how they all compare.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Leadville is primarily built with a three-layer Gore Windstopper fabric that is windproof and highly water resistant. While Windstopper covers the Leadville's chest, shoulders, arms, and most the back, a much lighter, stretchy fabric lines the sides and underarms and is not windproof. This combination of fabrics gives the jacket a great blend of weather resistance and breathability. We found that it performed best for active use in windy conditions. We mean active, i.e. aerobic. Several testers used this jacket on multi-pitch rock climbs in Red Rocks, NV and found that the wind whipped through the side panels, causing them to be very cold and uncomfortable. Softshells are generally poor for rock climbing and this one is especially poor.
The Leadville ranks above average in terms of breathability. The chest, arms, and majority of the back--all of which use Gore Windstopper--are less breathable than the side panels and underarms, but the combination of materials let's a fair amount moisture vapor escape. Despite the breathable sides and arms, the jacket can be too hot for aerobic use when it's not either really cold or windy. Other softshells like the Patagonia Traverse are better for aerobic activities.
It's WONDERFULLY comfortable. Moving your arms around and overhead is a pleasure. We give this jacket a 9 out of ten, a very high score, in this category.
17 ounces is about average for a midweight softshell with Windstopper.
The Leadville has excellent pockets: two handwarmer and an exterior chest. The major drawback to these, however, is that their zipper pulls are very small and difficult to grab with gloves on.
We found this jacket to be very attractive. The hidden zippers are a particularly nice aesthetic benefit.
The Leadville is one of our top rated jackets and is commonly available on sale. We feel it is a great value if you want something slightly more weather resistant than the Patagonia Traverse.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: March 16, 2014
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