Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Vicks away sweat, breathes well, very versatile, blocks the wind, durable.
Cons: Not great in a light rain, not the lightest.
Best Uses: Biking, hiking, backpacking, climbing, general outdoor use.
The Marmot DriClime Windshirt is one of the more versatile pieces of clothing we own and gets our Top Pick award. It is hard to know what to call it: a wind jacket, running jacket or performance shirt? It is best for high output activities where the internal fabric sucks up sweat. If you want something for blocking the wind and light rain, go with the Editors' Choice Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody, which is half the weight, will keep you dry in a light rain, and seal you off from the elements better.
Or, check out the Patagonia Houdini, which is even lighter and compresses smaller. But if you want jacket for high heart rate activities in cooler temps, go with the Marmot Driclime. Both the Houdini and DriClime windshirt are the two pieces of outerwear we use mostget em both if you can! And, if you want to see how these all compare, check out our Wind Breaker Jacket Review.
The DriClime is ideal for trail running, mountain biking, rock climbing. and high heart rate activities in general. Three things stand out: it does not stick to your skin when you sweat, it blocks the wind, and it is very breatheable. The fact it has a full zipper means you can unzip it almost all the way to ventilate on a steep hill climb. It is optional to wear a shirt underneath it. If you are not wearing a shirt, having it fully unzipped vents it out fast! It has a chest pocket perfect for a phone or MP3 player. Overall, we are quite impressed.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Update - March 2015
On the left is a color from last season; on the right is a new color, peak blue. It appears that the only thing to have changed since we last reviewed this product are the colors, though we are waiting for confirmation from Marmot.
Marmot really invented a whole new category with the windshirt. Few other layers combine a wind blocking outer layer with a very soft and cozy moisture-wicking inner layer. Where softshells are ideal for cold cold weather, the Marmot Windshirt works across a much bigger temperature range.
The Windshirt in one word: versatile. It is usually worn over a shirt but can also be worn without a shirt. The fuzzy inner DriClime "Bi-Component Wicking Lining" feels comfortable against the skin. It feels more like felt than fleece.
The Windshirt is relatively warm and yet also very breatheable. Both the DriClimb inner layer and the polyester outer layer are breatheable. At the armpit area Marmot replaces the polyester with mesh for super bonus breathability. It is ideal for high output activities in cool or cold temperatures. We use it the most when mountain biking or rock climbing. It is relatively abrasion resistant and has withstood a lot of abuse when climbing on Yosemite's El Capitan and the Cascades. It is the layer you see our tester Ian Nicholson wear the most. And since Ian spends 300-plus days a years outdoors guiding and climbing, that says a lot.
The DriClime fabric seems to deal with body odor better than Capilene or other performance shirt fabrics. Yes, it will collect odor. But we feel it at least mutes the odors' potency whereas other fabrics seem to amplify body stink.
It comes in a variety of colors. Most other wind jackets only came in three colors. The DriClime windshirt comes in four.
This jacket just barely packs into its own pocket. But it takes a while and probably will eventually burst a seam. It would be nice if the pocket were just a little deeper to allow for easier packing. That way you could clip it to a climbing harness or more easily stash it in a biking jersey or backpack.
With no hood, this is not a shirt that keeps you dry from than unexpected rain shower. We found the DWR coating did not last that long. After a dozen washings it will repel water for a little while only if it is a very light mist or rain. The good news is that even if the outer layer starts to absorb water, the inner layer can stay dry for a bit. Even better, once the inner layer gets wet, the jacket still works decently well at breathing and keeping you warmish (much better than a soaked thick long underwear layer or fleece jacket).
While it is hard to call this jacket heavy, it is about double the weight of most other windbreakers. This is due to the fact it is essentially two layers in one. If you are obsessed on the most warmth for the weight, get a light merino base layer with a jacket like the Houdini on top. It would give you more protection and warmth for less weight. But that setup would not be as easy to vent or as burly and cost almost twice as much.
The Marmot Ether DriClime $110, has the same DriClime inner layer as the Windshirt but uses a lighter 1.1oz nylon outerlayer (Windshirt uses 1.7oz polyester outer layer). The Ether also comes with a hood and side zip pocket. $15 more expensive. The Ether DriClime - Women's is the women's version. The DriClime Windshirt, women's, has been discontinued.
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— Chris McNamara
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Most recent review: March 11, 2015
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