Marmot Minimalist Review
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|Pros||Stormworthy, cost, durable, versatile, good breathability and ventilation, waterproof pockets||Stretchy material, great freedom of movement, pleasant cut, solid storm protection, lightweight, compresses into its pocket, good value||Incredible price, Gore-Tex, solid weather protection, excellent hood design, weight and packed volume||Versatile, durable, long lasting DWR, good stormworthiness, minimal clammy feel||Better breathability than others in its price range, decent ventilation, roll away hood, nice pit zips, affordable|
|Cons||Heavy for a "minimalist" design||So-so breathability, hood doesn't fit very well over a helmet||Wets out quicker than other Gore-Tex models, two layer design isn't as long-lasting, clammy interior||Heavy, average packed size, mobility, and freedom of movement||No 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 durability||A solid all-around option for the price, with great mobility and respectable storm protection||One of the best values you can get for a piece of rain gear, this Gore-Tex model is packed full of functional features||A durable jacket with function focused design that will keep most satisfied, without putting a hole in your wallet||A 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%)|
|Breathability & Venting (25%)|
|Comfort & Mobility (20%)|
|Weight & Packability (15%)|
|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|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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