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Marmot Minimalist Review

It's one of our favorite do-anything jackets, offering excellent stormworthiness, functionality, and durability
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Price:  $189 List | $141.71 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Stormworthy, cost, durable, versatile, good breathability and ventilation, waterproof pockets
Cons:  Heavy for a "minimalist" design
Manufacturer:   Marmot
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 4, 2020
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 12
  • Water Resistance - 30% 9
  • Breathability & Venting - 25% 8
  • Comfort & Mobility - 18% 6
  • Weight - 15% 5
  • Durability - 5% 9
  • Packed Size - 7% 5

Our Verdict

The Marmot Minimalist is a simple, bombproof rain jacket that features Gore-Tex with Paclite Technology fabric. Gore-Tex has long been a recognizable waterproof material that consumers trust, and this jacket is one of the least expensive Gore jackets available, and that in itself makes it a good deal. It offers decent weather protection and durability and could even double for occasional ski uses. Its two primary downsides are weight and mobility. At 16 ounces, it's not the lightest in the fleet. Its mobility was rated below average, as its hem lifted when we reached up, or the sleeves pulled back when we reached forward.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Marmot Minimalist is a performance-focused jacket, which blurs the line between a lightweight minimalist rain jacket and a do-everything 3-layer hardshell. The cut is moderately athletic and mobility focused, with excellent face fabric. The fabric is durable, making it an ideal choice for mountaineering, climbing, hiking, or trekking.

Performance Comparison


The Minimalist uses Gore-Tex PacLite for its weather resistance and a bomber 50-denier external fabric  some of the most durable in our review. We loved the Minimalist's stormworthy features  and found it offered top-notch weather protection.
The Minimalist uses Gore-Tex PacLite for its weather resistance and a bomber 50-denier external fabric, some of the most durable in our review. We loved the Minimalist's stormworthy features, and found it offered top-notch weather protection.

Water Resistance


The Gore-Tex Paclite fabric is highly waterproof and offers a long-lasting DWR, while the hood and collar provide excellent coverage and weather repellency for your head and face.

The Minimalist effectively seals out the weather and moves with the wearer's head. It's easy to adjust with a toggle on the back controlling tension on a horizontal piece of shock-cord (elastic)  and toggles on either side of the wearer's face that control a second shock-cord that runs around the face area of the hood.
The Minimalist effectively seals out the weather and moves with the wearer's head. It's easy to adjust with a toggle on the back controlling tension on a horizontal piece of shock-cord (elastic), and toggles on either side of the wearer's face that control a second shock-cord that runs around the face area of the hood.

The storm flaps that sit inside and outside along the main zipper prevent any seepage, and the wrist cuffs cinch down tight with Velcro. The Minimalist impressed all of our testers both in our side-by-side garden hose tests and real-world testing and is easily among the most stormworthy models (of its weight) currently on the market.

Our testing team raved about the Minimalist's hood  which did an excellent job of sealing out the elements  and maximized peripheral vision.
Our testing team raved about the Minimalist's hood, which did an excellent job of sealing out the elements, and maximized peripheral vision.

Breathability & Ventilation


The 2.5 layer Paclite laminate on the Minimalist offers some of the best overall breathability of any of the materials we tested, with only eVent and 3-layer Gore-Tex Active (featured in REI Drypoint GTX) offering marginally better performance.

The Minimalist features Gore-Tex PacLite  which is among the most breathable fabrics we tested. It features average length pit zips to help dump extra heat and assist in moving moisture. The Minimalist features waterproof pockets instead of mesh-lined ones; while this means the pockets cannot help out with ventilation  they tended to keep items in your pockets drier.
The Minimalist features Gore-Tex PacLite, which is among the most breathable fabrics we tested. It features average length pit zips to help dump extra heat and assist in moving moisture. The Minimalist features waterproof pockets instead of mesh-lined ones; while this means the pockets cannot help out with ventilation, they tended to keep items in your pockets drier.

In addition to top-tier breathability, the Minimalist features slightly above average sided pit zips for ventilation and the ability to dump extra heat while working hard. These pit zips were slightly longer than the pit-zips found on other rain jackets in our review.

Tom rocks the Gore-Tex Minimalist on a day out backcountry skiing. This jacket offers excellent water resistance and durability  as well as good breathability  even when compared to burlier 3-layer models.
Tom rocks the Gore-Tex Minimalist on a day out backcountry skiing. This jacket offers excellent water resistance and durability, as well as good breathability, even when compared to burlier 3-layer models.

Some jackets offer the option to vent through mesh-lined pockets, but this is not the case with the Minimalist.

All of our testers loved the feel of this model's interior fabric and noted it did not make us feel clammy.
All of our testers loved the feel of this model's interior fabric and noted it did not make us feel clammy.

All of the Minimalist's pockets are fully waterproof and seam-taped, which means the items in these pockets will stay drier, with a small disadvantage of being unable to vent through its pockets.

The Minimalist wasn't a top scorer in mobility  but provides enough for activities like backpacking.
The Minimalist wasn't a top scorer in mobility, but provides enough for activities like backpacking.

Comfort & Mobility


One of two main downsides is that the Minimalist offers just so-so mobility. If you are comparing it to budget jackets in the same price range, you won't notice much of a difference. However, when compared to some of the higher-end models, it doesn't stack up.

This model's sleeves pulled back and could have better range of mobility.
This model's sleeves pulled back and could have better range of mobility.

Its hem lifts when we raise our arms in the air, and the sleeves pull back when we reach our arms forward. Overall it features a moderately athletic, function-focused cut but still allows for some layering.

You can see in this photo how the hem (the bottom) of the jacket pulls up more than other similarly priced models we tested. While this isn't a feature we appreciate  it's hardly a dealbreaker.
You can see in this photo how the hem (the bottom) of the jacket pulls up more than other similarly priced models we tested. While this isn't a feature we appreciate, it's hardly a dealbreaker.

Unfortunately, this model's hood is big and hangs far over your forehead. It does not fit over a climbing or bike helmet, but can be worn underneath one. Fortunately, the hood and collar do provide top-tier storm protection.

No matter what terrain you're tackling  there are ideal hiking footwear and rain jacket options for you!
No matter what terrain you're tackling, there are ideal hiking footwear and rain jacket options for you!

Weight


At 16 ounces, the Minimalist is nearly the heaviest model we tested. It uses a thick, durable fabric, and doesn't cut any corners with the cuffs, pockets, or hood. It's lighter than many of the 3-layer models in which it shares a similar level of durability, and while it's one of the heavier in our fleet, it's hardly heavy.

With a 50D face fabric and a long-lasting Gore-Tex Paclite waterproof membrane  this is one of the tougher one pound rain jackets currently available. With that said  its durability is what makes it one of the "heavier" models in our review - but at 16 ounces  it is hardly "heavy".
With a 50D face fabric and a long-lasting Gore-Tex Paclite waterproof membrane, this is one of the tougher one pound rain jackets currently available. With that said, its durability is what makes it one of the "heavier" models in our review - but at 16 ounces, it is hardly "heavy".

Durability


The Minimalist receives the highest score we've awarded for this metric. The polyester face fabric is beefier, stretchier, and more UV resistant than nylon. This model also uses the thickest exterior fabric of any model we tested, helping it to resist tears and abrasion. The Gore-Tex Paclite laminate membrane is also far more long-lasting than models with coated waterproof membranes and is backed by a lifetime guarantee.

The Minimalist doesn't stuff into any of its pockets  but it does pack down fairly small for a Gore-Tex jacket. Here  it's shown stuffed into its hood next to a 1-liter Nalgene.
The Minimalist doesn't stuff into any of its pockets, but it does pack down fairly small for a Gore-Tex jacket. Here, it's shown stuffed into its hood next to a 1-liter Nalgene.

Packed Size


This jacket does not feature a stuff pocket; rolling and tucking it into the hood is the quickest way to pack it. While this contender packs down smaller than a beefy hardshell, it's hardly the most packable in our fleet.

One of the few features our review team didn't love was the Minimalist's two lower hand pockets  which become inaccessible under a backpack's waist-belt or a climbing harness. The upside is that the zippers didn't pinch under backpack waist-belts like the zippers on other jackets were prone to do.
One of the few features our review team didn't love was the Minimalist's two lower hand pockets, which become inaccessible under a backpack's waist-belt or a climbing harness. The upside is that the zippers didn't pinch under backpack waist-belts like the zippers on other jackets were prone to do.

Features


Marmot's Minimalist jacket is just as its name suggests; minimalist in design. There are not many extra comfort features on this jacket. The collar does not have a micro-fleece lining, hang loop, or roll away hood feature. However, all the most standard features were exceptional, such as easy-to-grab zipper pulls, low profile wrist cinches, and multiple hood cinches that allow for adjustability and fit in conjunction with a larger-than-average stiffened brim.

We liked this model's low profile Velcro tabs to minimize bulk around the wearer's hands and decrease how much water can get inside the jacket.
We liked this model's low profile Velcro tabs to minimize bulk around the wearer's hands and decrease how much water can get inside the jacket.

It also features zippers that are easy to grab, even with gloves on. Both zippered hand pockets are full 2.5 layer fabric inside and out and have a storm flap and a Velcro closure. The wrist cuffs have a Velcro tab adjustment and an offset design, and the cuffs are longer on the back of the hand than the inside of the wrist. Finally, it has an elastic hem cinch with cord locks on both the right and left sides.

Climbers and cyclists should note that while you can't fit this model's hood over a helmet  it is possible to wear it underneath.
Climbers and cyclists should note that while you can't fit this model's hood over a helmet, it is possible to wear it underneath.

Value


This hardshell-esque rain jacket is a SUPER deal, as it costs half the price of most 3-layer Gore-Tex hardshells and less than models that feature a Gore-Tex membrane. While pricier than a basic rain jacket, this product is more breathable and will last longer. It's an excellent deal for a versatile Gore-Tex jacket that's able to be used for a wide range of uses.


Conclusion


If you're after an inexpensive hardshell or a durable rain jacket, the Marmot Minimalist is certainly one to consider. Its materials and construction are bomber, and this rain jacket is notably durable. It also offers stupendous versatility. Its only real downside for summertime users is it's a little heavy as a just-in-case type rain jacket on backpacking or hiking trips and it offers just so-so mobility. While you could get away with a smaller, more packable jacket, many models won't offer the same level of durability, stormworthiness, or versatility.

This model is a screaming deal for a Gore-Tex Paclite jacket  especially considering its exceptional level of versatility. It's light enough for mountaineering or day hiking but tough enough for backpacking.
This model is a screaming deal for a Gore-Tex Paclite jacket, especially considering its exceptional level of versatility. It's light enough for mountaineering or day hiking but tough enough for backpacking.

Ian Nicholson