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Marmot Minimalist Review

It's one of our favorite do-anything jackets, offering excellent stormworthiness, functionality, and durability
marmot minimalist rain jacket review
Credit: Marmot
Price:  $199 List
Manufacturer:   Marmot
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 20, 2022
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 16
  • Water Resistance - 30% 9.0
  • Breathability & Venting - 25% 8.0
  • Comfort & Mobility - 20% 6.0
  • Weight & Packability - 15% 4.0
  • Durability - 10% 9.0

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 more affordable Gore-Tex jackets available — 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, and the sleeves pulled back when we reached forward.
REASONS TO BUY
Stormworthy
Cost
Durable
Versatile
Good breathability and ventilation
Waterproof pockets
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy for a "minimalist" design

Compare to Similar Products

 
marmot minimalist rain jacket review
This Product
Marmot Minimalist
Awards   Best Buy Award   
Price $189.00 at Amazon
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$169 List
$169.00 at REI
$150 List
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$100 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Stormworthy, cost, durable, versatile, good breathability and ventilation, waterproof pocketsStretchy material, great freedom of movement, pleasant cut, solid storm protection, lightweight, compresses into its pocket, good valueIncredible price, Gore-Tex, solid weather protection, excellent hood design, weight and packed volumeVersatile, durable, long lasting DWR, good stormworthiness, minimal clammy feelBetter breathability than others in its price range, decent ventilation, roll away hood, nice pit zips, affordable
Cons Heavy for a "minimalist" designSo-so breathability, hood doesn't fit very well over a helmetWets out quicker than other Gore-Tex models, two layer design isn't as long-lasting, clammy interiorHeavy, average packed size, mobility, and freedom of movementNo chest pocket, not quite as breathable as models that use non-coated membrane
Bottom Line It's one of our favorite do-anything jackets, offering excellent stormworthiness, functionality, and durabilityA solid all-around option for the price, with great mobility and respectable storm protectionOne of the best values you can get for a piece of rain gear, this Gore-Tex model is packed full of functional featuresA durable jacket with function focused design that will keep most satisfied, without putting a hole in your walletA great jacket that offers above-average breathability, with an excellent price tag
Rating Categories Marmot Minimalist Black Diamond Storm... REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Patagonia Torrentsh... Marmot PreCip Eco
Water Resistance (30%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Breathability & Venting (25%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Comfort & Mobility (20%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Weight & Packability (15%)
4.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
9.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
Specs Marmot Minimalist Black Diamond Storm... REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Patagonia Torrentsh... Marmot PreCip Eco
Measured Weight (Medium) 16 oz 11.5 oz 12.5 oz 14 oz 13.5 oz
Waterproof Fabric Material GORE-TEX Paclite 2.5 layer propriatary BD.dry 2-layer GORE-TEX Paclite 3-layer H2No Performance Standard shell NanoPro
Pockets 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest 2 lower hand pockets 2 hand 2 zippered hand pockets 2 zip hand pockets
Hipbelt Friendly Hand Pockets No No No No No
Pit Zips Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Helmet Compatible Hood Yes No No No Yes
Stows Into Pocket No Yes No Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Marmot Minimalist is a performance-focused jacket at a great price for a name-brand Gore-Tex jacket. It is a reasonably tough jacket that blurs the line between a lightweight minimalist rain jacket and a do-everything 3-layer hardshell. Its cut is moderately athletic and mobility-focused, combined with its top-tier storm protection and durable fabric, making it an ideal choice for mountaineering, climbing, hiking, or trekking.

Performance Comparison


marmot minimalist rain jacket review
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Water Resistance


Overall, the Minimalist offered some of the better weather protection in our review and boasted great storm protection for the price. It uses a Gore-Tex Paclite fabric that proved highly waterproof in both our side-by-side testing and real-world use.

marmot minimalist rain jacket review - 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.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Similarly, it provided some of the longest-lasting DWR, which means it feels will bead water for longer. The hood provided fair coverage but was slightly below average for fit and its ability to maintain peripheral vision. It also will not really fit over a climbing or bike helmet.

marmot minimalist rain jacket review - we loved the minimalist's stormworthy features, and found it offered...
We loved the Minimalist's stormworthy features, and found it offered top-notch weather protection.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

The storm flaps inside and outside along the main zipper prevent seepage, and the wrist cuffs cinch down tight with Velcro. The Minimalist impressed all of our testers 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.

marmot minimalist rain jacket review - 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.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Breathability & Ventilation


The 2-layer Paclite laminate used on the Minimalist offers some of the better breathability of any of the materials we tested, with only some of the jackets sporting 3-layer Gore-Tex Active and the air-permeable models offering marginally better performance.

marmot minimalist rain jacket review - 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 also has pit zips to help dump extra heat and assist in moving moisture.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

In addition to its breathability, the Minimalist features pit zips for ventilation and the ability to dump extra heat while working hard. These pit zips were slightly longer than those found on most other rain jackets in our review.

All of the Minimalist's pockets are fully waterproof and seam-taped, which means the items in these pockets will stay drier, with the small disadvantage of being unable to vent through their pockets. Some jackets offer the option to vent through mesh-lined pockets, but this is not the case with the Minimalist.

marmot minimalist rain jacket review - 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.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Comfort & Mobility


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

The Minimalist wasn't a top scorer in mobility as it felt slightly...
The Minimalist wasn't a top scorer in mobility as it felt slightly restrictive and would pull back from our wrists when we would reach for things but provides enough for activities like backpacking.
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.
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.
The sleeves would pull back from our wrists when we reach out in front, and the hem would rise when we reached over our heads.

Among our testers, who range in height, this model's hem consistently lifts when we raise our arms in the air, and the sleeves pull back when we reach our arms forward. Overall it features a modestly athletic, function-focused cut that still allows for some layering. The interior material doesn't feel as pleasant on our bare skin as other models. This jacket feels "clammier" than most other models that use Gore-Tex.

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.
The hood won't fit over a climbing helmet, but you can wear it underneath.

Marmot's Minimalist jacket is just as its name suggests; minimalist in design. This jacket has very few extra comfort features. The collar has no micro-fleece lining, hanging loop, or roll-away hood feature. However, all the 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.

marmot minimalist rain jacket review - 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.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

It also features zippers that are easy to grab, even with gloves. 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.

Weight & Packability


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

marmot minimalist rain jacket review - 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".
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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

marmot minimalist rain jacket review - one of the few features we didn't love was the minimalist's two...
One of the few features we didn't love was the Minimalist's two lower hand pockets, which become inaccessible under a backpack's waist belt or a climbing harness.
Credit: 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 has a lifetime guarantee.

marmot minimalist rain jacket review - 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.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Should You Buy the Marmot Minimalist?


If you're seeking a durable rain jacket with top-tier storm protection and good value for your dollar, then the Marmot Minimalist is an obvious contender. It's one of the least expensive Gore-Tex models in our review, and the Minimalist packs a ton of performance for the price. Its Gore-Tex Paclite material is built to keep you dry through all types of weather, and its thick exterior material helps ensure it will stand up to abuse. Despite this, it is light enough for all but the most weight-focused outdoor enthusiasts. It is much more versatile than the weight-focused competition if you don't mind the few extra ounces. It excels at everything from downhill skiing to backpacking.

marmot minimalist rain jacket review - 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.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

What Other Rain Jackets Should You Consider?


The Marmot Minimalist offers a ton of performance for the price. However, if price is no issue and you just want the very best, check out the Arc'teryx Beta, which is lighter, offers better mobility, and packs down smaller. For users that demand a high level of mobility, our review team loved the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic because of its super stretchy material and pleasantly-designed fit that proved perfect for climbing or other activities that demand a high degree of freedom of movement. If you seek a low weight and packed volume, be sure to check out the Outdoor Research Helium, which is ridiculously lightweight and compact.

Ian Nicholson
 
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