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Hands-on Gear Review
Marmot Ether DriClime Review
Cons: Too hot for summer, doesn’t pack down very small.
Bottom line: A great layer for aerobic activities in cooler months, too much insulation for warm conditions.
The Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody is our Top Pick for Cooler Weather because, unlike most of the wind jackets we reviewed, it has an inside liner that adds a considerable amount of warmth, effectively extending its comfort range. The DriClime liner feels like felt, and is a thin, soft second layer that in most places is not attached to the outer shell fabric. In our review, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro was the only other wind breaker to have an inside liner, but the Ether DriClime was easily the top scorer of the two. The liner added to the jacket's ability to protect from the wind, and also helped wick moisture away for increased breathability. While the liner meant that it was a bit too insulated for us to wear during the middle of summer, we found that no other jacket perfectly balanced the need for breathability with warmth during cooler weather, specifically that of spring and fall. If you need a wind breaker for aerobic activities during the colder months of the year, the Ether DriClime Hoody is the one we would recommend.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Some of the wind breakers we tested are designed to fit snug to the body and serve as a light wind shell over the base layer. Others are a bit roomier to allow for a thin warmth layer beneath them if needed. The Ether DriClime Hoody is a snug, athletic fitting wind shell that has a thin warmth layer built in. While the DriClime liner is a very thin piece of felt-like material, it makes a massive difference in how the jacket feels. We found that it added significantly to the jacket's wind resistance, ranking it at the top of the pile. However, it also trapped enough heat that we weren't able to wear this jacket on warm sunny days, even when we wanted a little wind protection. So, the liner has the effect of making it better than almost every jacket in the review for cold days, but simultaneously making it (for us) un-wearable during the warmest seasons.
Overall this jacket was the second highest scorer in our review. This was due to the fact that it outscored every other jacket for wind protection, while it was still quite effective in terms of breathability and venting. We found its fit and functionality to not be a hindrance at all, while it was about average in terms of water resistance. Its lowest attribute was its weight combined with the fact that it packs down into a relatively large hand pocket, something we would not want to clip onto a harness or the outside of a pack.
The outer shell fabric of this jacket is very lightweight and quite air-permeable. It is also very slippery to the touch, and it almost feels as if this forces the wind to slip right over it, rather than manage to blow straight through it. Taken alone, we suspect that it would be one of the least wind resistant materials in this review. However, it doesn't function alone, and the combination of it and the DriClime liner provides the most wind resistance of any jacket in this test. Only the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro and the Patagonia Alpine Houdini were close to this jacket's performance, but not equal to it. We gave it nine out of a possible 10 points for wind resistance.
Breathability and Venting
When it comes to Breathability and Venting, we gave the Ether DriClime eight out of a possible 10 points, similar to the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody and the Outdoor Research Tantrum. The liner does a very good job of absorbing liquid from sweat and then transferring it away from the body and toward the outer shell fabric. The shell itself is very air permeable, so breathes well. Added to that are the features like large underarm mesh vents and zippered hand and chest pockets that aid in venting. If you are working up a sweat, this jacket does a good job of drying you off.
However, the caveat to this equation is that since the lined jacket is so much warmer than any other in this review, we found that you are certainly far more likely to work up a sweat in the first place. We couldn't wear it much in the summer because it made us too hot. On the other hand, it is an excellent option for colder weather. It will keep you warm when the air and wind is cold, and will also dry you out quickly if you get sweaty, helping you to avoid getting a chill.
Fit and Functionality
This jacket is designed to Marmot's athletic fit, which means that it is designed to hug the body in a sleek way, not hindering movement by being to baggy or bulky. While our size large was a little on the roomy side for our skinny but tall frame, we still think it fits good as a single layer over the top of an underlayer. The DriClime liner is a bit grippy and sticky with other fabric, meaning you wouldn't want to try to layer underneath this jacket or else deal with bunching fabric that might never sit just right.
It has a healthy dose of usable features, such as insulated hand pockets, a chest pocket with a headphone port, and adjustable hood with easy to cinch dual draw cords on either side of the face. Its zippers and cinch cords are easy to use, although we did struggle to line up our headphone wires through the two holes in the chest pocket designed for that purpose. One time when we stuffed the jacket into its own pocket, the zipper ate up some fabric and we had a heck of a time getting the zipper open and the jacket back to usable again.
Overall, this jacket fits like it is designed to, and its features work well. We gave it seven out of 10 points, which was not quite as good as the Rab Windveil Jacket or the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody. It was about average in this regard.
While we found that the DWR coating on this jacket was relatively effective, we did notice areas on the neck and shoulders where it had begun to wear off by the time that we did our shower test. A slight amount of water was absorbed into the fabric of the hood, and also the areas where the coating had worn off. In other areas the water beaded up nicely and easily shed off without absorption, and despite the slight issues, we saw no evidence of water inside the jacket, or soaking into the liner from the outside.
The Ether DriClime Hoody received seven out of 10 points for water resistance, about average compared to its competition. It was not nearly as good as the top scorers, like the Patagonia Alpine Houdini, the Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie, or Rab Windveil Jacket. It was about the same as its most similar competition in this review, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro jacket, which also has an internal liner.
Weight and Packability
Our wind breaker weighed 8.5 ounces fresh, which was curiously about one whole ounce lighter than Marmot advertised on its website. Regardless, it was the second heaviest jacket in the review (although clearly still very light). However, we deducted a point from its score for its packability. It stuffs into one of its hand pockets, rather than the smaller chest pocket like most of its competitors. The result is that it remains much larger once packed than most, almost pillow-like. It also leaves lots of the soft DriClime liner exposed on the outside of this little stuffed package, which we are worried is a concern for abrasion and wear and tear. While it does include a clip-in loop, this is not a jacket we want hanging from a harness or stored anywhere but inside a pack. This was by far the Ether DriClimes's lowest score, three out of 10.
As we have mentioned many times, this jacket is perfect for colder weather and not so good for hot weather. If you are pairing it to the right temperature air, then it is ideal for aerobic activities such as running on roads or trails, hiking, peak bagging, or mountain biking. We would not recommend it for trad climbing because we would not want to carry its bulky package on our harness. It could also serve as a very nice lightweight warmth layer for backpacking or camping during the warmer months, when it might be enough for mornings and evenings, negating the need for a puffy.
This jacket will cost you $125 if you get it at retail price. This is about average for the products in this review. Since it is one of the top scorers in the review, and is our recommendation for cool weather, then we think it is worth the money to own this jacket. Worth noting, however, is that this is the same price as the Rab Windveil Jacket, our top scorer and Editors' Choice Award winner, which is a bit more versatile. The decision between the two should come down to intended usage.
The Ether DriClime Hoody by Marmot is an ideal outer layer for aerobic activities when it is not too hot outside. We found its wicking insulation made us too hot during summer months when we still wanted a wind breaker for simple wind protection and to ward off the chill that comes from drying sweat. As the seasons turned to fall, we found this was our first choice for trail running and mountain biking. It was the second highest scorer in our review, and is clearly a very high quality piece of outdoor clothing. We recommend it to anyone who needs a windbreaker for cooler temperatures.
Other Versions and Accessories
Marmot Ether DriClime Jacket
Marmot Ether DriClime Vest
Marmot Women's Ether DriClime Hoody
— Andy Wellman
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