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Marmot Reactor 2.0 Review

This simple fleece is breathable and layers well, all for an excellent price
Marmot Reactor 2.0
Credit: Marmot
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Price:  $105 List | $62.97 at Backcountry
Pros:  Lightweight, easy to layer, breathable, drawstring hem
Cons:  Lower warmth, no hood
Manufacturer:   Marmot
By James Lucas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 26, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 10
  • Warmth - 20% 6.0
  • Comfort - 20% 7.0
  • Breathability - 20% 7.0
  • Layering Ability - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 9.0
  • Weather resistance - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Marmot Reactor is the fleece for the dirtbag adventurer who needs a warm, simple mid-layer without excess features. We tested each model with comfort, breathability, and layering ability in mind, as these are our main concerns when shopping for a fleece jacket. The Reactor comes through strong in each of these metrics by providing a solid fit and wicking when hot. In addition, this model's sizing provides you with the ability to wear jackets under and over it.

Editor's Note: On August 26, 2022, we added the Reactor 2.0 to our line up.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Marmot Reactor 2.0
This Product
Marmot Reactor 2.0
Awards   Best Buy Award   
Price $105 List
$62.97 at Backcountry
$110 List
$98.99 at Amazon
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$50 List
$49.95 at REI
$27.93 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, easy to layer, breathable, drawstring hemHigh performance, solid fit, breathable, solid featuresBreathable, lightweight, inexpensive, comfortable for athleticsInexpensive, cozy, great stand-alone jacketInexpensive, packs away easily, casual look for around-town use
Cons Lower warmth, no hoodDifficult to add many layers under, not as warm as other modelsAverage weather resistanceBulky and lacks breathability, hard to layer under tight layersPoor warmth-to-weight ratio, bulky, not the best for layering
Bottom Line This simple fleece is breathable and layers well, all for an excellent priceBuilt for the athlete, this model provides warmth, as well as a highly functional pieceHighly featured and even higher performing, this cost-effective option provides a hard-to-beat valueAn inexpensive fleece jacket with a simple non-technical design and a bit of comfortIt's basic and heavier weight, but still maintains the creature comforts, and is soft and affordable
Rating Categories Marmot Reactor 2.0 Mountain Hardwear S... Outdoor Research Vi... REI Co-op Groundbre... Columbia Steens Mou...
Warmth (20%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Comfort (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Breathability (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Layering Ability (15%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Weather resistance (10%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Marmot Reactor 2.0 Mountain Hardwear S... Outdoor Research Vi... REI Co-op Groundbre... Columbia Steens Mou...
Type Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Midweight
Measured Weight 10.9 oz 13.3 oz 13 oz 11.6 oz 16.6 oz
Main Material 100% polyester 100% polyester 94% polyester, 6% spandex 100% polyester 100% polyester
# of Pockets 3 2 3 2 2
Unique Features Windflap with roll-over chin guard, flatlock seams Raglan sleeves, thumb holes, three-piece fitted hood Thumb holes, UPF 30, 3-panel hood with binding Stretch binding at waist and cuffs None
Hood Option No Yes Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

A simple, well-designed fleece made of Polartec Classic 100, which is 100 percent polyester microfleece, the Marmot Reactor 2.0 features flat lock stitching, which adds comfort and dexterity. Its regular fit works well for different body types and the jacket has two zippered handwarmer pockets along with a zippered left arm pocket. The elastic drawcord hem allows the wearer to adjust the amount of airflow and temperature quite easily. The flap behind the zipper blocks out the wind and also attaches to a chin guard for added comfort.

Performance Comparison


Marmot Reactor 2.0 fleece jacket - a comfortable jacket with polartec classic 100 fleece, the reactor...
A comfortable jacket with Polartec Classic 100 fleece, the Reactor features a nice chest pocket and two hand warmer pockets.
Credit: James Lucas

Warmth


This fleece is so light that it left our testers surprised that it felt so warm. For the weight, it is an excellent insulator and a great piece for chilly mornings. Throw the Reactor in your pack and forget about it once the day starts to heat up or carry it into the mountains where you never know what the weather might throw at you. While this jacket isn't the warmest fleece we tested, we don't think you'll find anything much warmer with the same weight and thickness.

Comfort


The Reactor scores well in the comfort metric. Against our skin, the Polartec Classic Micro 100 fabric feels soft and cozy. We wouldn't think twice about wearing this jacket through the night for a little extra warmth in a sleeping bag. The cut is athletic with a generous amount of stretch, so it never felt too tight, even on our broader-shouldered testers.

Marmot Reactor 2.0 fleece jacket - the lack of a hood means less weather resistance but the collar...
The lack of a hood means less weather resistance but the collar, which comes close to the chin, fights the cold well.
Credit: James Lucas

The collar zips up just underneath the chin and feels warm against the neck without being too tight or restricting movement. The cuffs are a bit loose, which is excellent for those who like to pull their sleeves up past their elbows, but not so good for moving around underneath other layers. We weren't thrilled about the elastic drawstring around the hem of this jacket. It causes the zipper to bunch up, and when pulled tight, the whole hem rides up.

Breathability


Since the Reactor is so thin, it breathes fairly well. We wore it on big hikes out of the Owens River Gorge in Bishop California and around the Flatirons of Boulder. While we of course worked up a sweat, it did a good job of moving moisture from the body and drying quickly.

Marmot Reactor 2.0 fleece jacket - the reactor breathes fairly well on big hikes.
The Reactor breathes fairly well on big hikes.
Credit: James Lucas

Layering Ability


On its own, the Reactor can only handle light-duty conditions, but underneath a shell, it insulates wonderfully as a mid-layer. The athletic cut lends itself well to sliding into a shell or underneath a puffy jacket. While we prefer jackets with hoods, the lack of such a luxury on this fleece makes for better layering, since it doesn't bunch up the hoods on other layers. We do wish this model had thumb loops, as they would keep the sleeves in place when putting on additional layers; another solution is tighter fitting cuffs.

Weather Resistance


No fleece is expected to hold up against heavy conditions like rain or snow since they are primarily designed to insulate. However, it's nice to know how a fleece performs as a standalone piece against the elements. Like the majority of the jackets in this selection, the wind cuts through the Reactor. Fortunately, due to its layering ability, it fits well under a light wind layer. This jacket fares better against the rain than most fleece jackets, repelling mist and very light rain. When the precip ramps up to anything more than a drizzle, you'll want to put on a hardshell or a rain jacket.

Weight


Slim and trim, this jacket weighs in at approximately 10.9 ounces. While there aren't any bells and whistles or a hood on this jacket, its insulating capabilities are hard to beat. Its warmth-to-weight ratio is excellent, especially considering the price, and it easily snags our Best Buy Award.

Should You Buy Marmot Reactor?


For cool hiking conditions in early spring and late fall, this jacket is a worthy choice. The shorter cut and the location of the handwarmer pockets don't make it ideal for climbing, but we'd use it in a pinch, as the stretch doesn't restrict movement. If you're on the hunt for a good value, check out this fleece. Though there are less expensive choices, they don't perform as well. The Reactor is still half the price of the most expensive jacket in this review, and it's got the goods. It'll keep you warm, breathes well, and layers like a champ.

Marmot Reactor 2.0 fleece jacket - the soft fleece of the reactor makes it a cozy, weather resistance...
The soft fleece of the Reactor makes it a cozy, weather resistance choice.
Credit: James Lucas

What Other Fleece Jackets Should You Consider?


The Marmot Reactor is ideal when worn under a shell on a gloriously sunny spring day at the ski resort. The price of this jacket makes it a good choice. However, the Outdoor Research Vigor costs even less and offers a higher level of performance. It's great for layering purposes and it's more breathable than the Reactor.

James Lucas
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