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Marmot Minimalist Review

It's one of our favorite do-anything jackets, offering excellent stormworthiness, functionality, and durability
Marmot Minimalist
Photo: Marmot
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Price:  $189 List | $188.95 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
#6 of 13
  • 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.

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Pros Stormworthy, cost, durable, versatile, good breathability and ventilation, waterproof pocketsTop-tier storm-worthiness, mobility and range of motion, hood design, long-lasting DWR, exceptional breathability, harness and hip-belt friendly pocketsGreat weather resistance, long-lasting DWR, breathable, pack-friendly pockets, helmet-compatible hood maintains good peripheral visionStormworthy, versatile, durable, comfortable, high level of ventilationIncredible price, Gore-Tex, solid weather protection, excellent hood design, weight and packed volume
Cons Heavy for a "minimalist" designNo ventilation options, expensive, no easy way to clip to a harnessAverage weight and compressed size, bulky cutOn the heavier sideWets out quicker than other Gore-Tex models, two layer design isn't as long-lasting, clammy interior
Bottom Line It's one of our favorite do-anything jackets, offering excellent stormworthiness, functionality, and durabilityThis stormworthy and function focused model is exceptionally versatile, offering some of the best performance in our reviewTop tier weather protection and breathability, coupled with an excellent set of outdoor oriented features make this one of our favorite models for soggy excursions into the backcountryA fantastic all-around shell with some of the best ventilation features out there, in a fairly light, durable, and stormworthy packageOne of the best values you can get for a piece of rain gear, this Gore-Tex model is packed full of functional features
Rating Categories Marmot Minimalist Arc'teryx Zeta SL REI Co-op Stormbolt... Outdoor Research Foray REI Co-op XeroDry GTX
Water Resistance (30%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Breathability & Venting (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Comfort & Mobility (18%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Durability (5%)
9.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
Packed Size (7%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
Specs Marmot Minimalist Arc'teryx Zeta SL REI Co-op Stormbolt... Outdoor Research Foray REI Co-op XeroDry GTX
Measured Weight (Medium) 16 oz 10.9 oz 14.5 oz 16 oz 12.5 oz
Waterproof Fabric Material GORE-TEX Paclite 2-layer Gore-Tex Paclite Plus waterproof breathable laminate 3-layer GORE-TEX 2.5 layer Gore-tex with PacLite Technology 2-layer GORE-TEX Paclite
Face Fabric and Layer Construction 100% recycled polyester 40-denier ripstop (N40r) Gore-Tex Paclite Plus 30-denier ripstop nylon 50D w/ Gore-tex PacLite waterproof breathable membrane Polyester
Pockets 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest 2 hand pockets 2 hand 1 chest pocket, 2 hand pockets 2 hand
Are lower pockets hipbelt friendly No Yes Yes Almost No
Pit Zips Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Helmet Compatible Hood (not only fits but not too tight) Yes No No Yes No
Stows Into Pocket? No No No Yes No

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...
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.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

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...
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.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

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

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...
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.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

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...
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.
Photo: Tom Forestieri

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

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

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...
This model's sleeves pulled back and could have better range of mobility.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

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...
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.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

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

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...
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".
Photo: Ian Nicholson

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...
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.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

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...
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.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

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...
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.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

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...
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.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

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.

Photo: Ian Nicholson

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...
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.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Ian Nicholson