Marmot Minimalist Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Stormworthy, cost, durable, versatile, good breathability and ventilation, waterproof pockets
Cons: Heavy for a "minimalist" design
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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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Some jackets offer the option to vent through mesh-lined pockets, but this is not the case with the Minimalist.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Ian Nicholson