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Hands-on Gear Review
Marmot PreCip Review
Cons: No chest pocket, not quite as breathable as membrane models, DWR last decently long
Bottom line: A killer jacket considering the $100 price offering above-average breathability among similarly designed coated waterproof breathable jackets
The Marmot Precip Jacket wins our Best Buy Award again this year. This time-tested jacket, recently updated with NanoPro 2.5 layer coated fabric, delivers the most bang for your buck. Top notch hood and cuff closures, along with superior breathability for its price range and robust ventilation features are what set it apart from the similar Patagonia Torrentshell, Columbia Watertight II, and The North Face Venture 2. The PreCip is an excellent choice for a wide range of outdoor activities and will keep you protected from the elements at a rad price!
While the PreCip delivers the best value, the advanced, exceptional breathability and extreme mobility of the Arc'teryx Beta SL won it our Editors' Choice. The Outdoor Research Foray, with its unique pit zips, earned a Top Pick Award for ventilation, features, and durability. Lastly, we want to give a shout-out to the Outdoor Research Helium II, for its minimal packed size and light 6.5-ounce weight - perfect for a "just-in-case" layer or to let ride on your harness while on a multi-pitch rock climbing.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Rain Jackets for Men of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The PreCip is a very comfortable 2.5 layer shell with well-built features. Marmot's proprietary NanoPro technology breathes exceptionally well for a $100 price tag, especially considering its' pit-zips, cuffs, and hood outperforms several much more expensive jackets. It also quickly stuffs into a pocket with a ready-to-clip loop. Looking for one model to do everything and an affordable price to boot? This contender is tough to beat.
This jacket gets the job done even in pouring rain. It uses Marmot's proprietary NanoPro waterproof coating. The hood seals well around the face and the elastic cinches on each side of the wearer's face; it does not extend across the brow, which we consider to be a good thing. Instead, they are sewn into the sides of the hood at temple height.
We found this design to be more comfortable across the brow and equally stable at sealing out blowing rain. The wrist cuffs also seal nicely with adjustable Velcro tabs, a feature some folks consider mandatory in their rain jacket. Additionally, this jacket will keep your waist covered with your arms overhead. It beads water well, and the DWR proved durable during our months of testing. A quick wash and dry restored it nicely a few months in.
Breathability & Ventilation
Our Best Buy winner's NanoPro fabric proved to breathe better than other jackets in its price range like Patagonia's Torrentshell, Columbia's Watertight II, or TNF's Venture 2. Check out the chart below to see where all the jackets ranked in this category.
On top of a pretty breathable fabric, this contender offered a pretty rad combination of ventilation features, further helping to pass moisture and keep the wearer cool.
These ventilation features include two large pit-zips which are relatively easy to operate with one hand. The lower primary hand pockets are large and mesh-lined to promote airflow when left open. Mesh-lined pockets, in contrast to the waterproof pockets common to hardshell jackets, provide additional ventilation for rain jackets. In theory, folks are more likely to use rain jackets in warmer temperatures when ventilation is vital, and more likely to use hardshells in cold and snowy condition when waterproof pockets are nice. Even the cuffs have enough room to ventilate a good bit at the wrist. Cinch them closed if it is raining, but leave them open and loose to promote airflow otherwise.
Comfort & Mobility
This product received fairly high score here with easy-to-use features and slightly above-average mobility and range-of-motion. Even with the added bulk of pit-zips and pockets, we found this jacket surprisingly mobile and comfortable on the move.
The collar has a small micro-fleece patch at the chin for comfort. Additionally, the hood rolls up and easily stows into the collar for rain hat wearers or folks who just want to tuck it out of the way. The elastic cord locks situated at the hood and the bottom hem are simple and easy to use. Rather than have strings on tiny metal zipper pulls, this jacket uses zippers with reasonably large metal pulls that work great. This may be the most natural jacket to operate with light gloves on; the big metal pulls are easy to grab.
This jacket moves well for active use. Marmot calls its arm and shoulder design "Angel-Wing movement." This jacket stays put decently at the waist and torso better than many jackets in our review, even as you do your thing overhead with your arms. The hood mobility is good, and it's another comfortable rain jacket that can be worn with a baseball cap. All that said, we liked the versatility on the PreCip, but thought the Arc'teryx Beta SL, Outdoor Research Helium II, Outdoor Research Foray, and Patagonia Torrentshell all offered slightly better mobility.
This rain jacket weighed in at 13 ounces; pretty average among shell jackets in our review, but lighter than average among raincoats currently available. The OR Helium II is half the weight and half the packed-size of the PreCip, but doesn't offer any of the ventilation features or hand pockets.
The Torrentshell and Arc'teryx Beta SL weighs only a fraction less; as with the Helium, neither offer as many ventilation options; however, the Beta SL does allow for better breathability. If you seek a rain jacket specifically for climbing or other actives where weight is of primary concern, we recommend the ultralight Helium II.
Marmot uses a ripstop nylon for the face fabric of this jacket, and its zippers and Velcro closures are high quality. Check out the chart below to see where the Precip landed on the durability scale.
The Outdoor Research Foray and Marmot Minimalist, the two most substantial of the standard 2.5 layer models we tested, received the highest scores for durability. They are both five ounces heavier and significantly more expensive; however, if longevity is what you seek, we believe these two jackets with polyester face fabric and Gore-Tex Paclite waterproofing will be more durable than the rest of the models we tested. Another model that is more durable but isn't quite as heavy is the Arc'teryx Beta SL (11 oz), which offers comparable durability to the two jackets above (though it doesn't provide as many features).
Our Best Buy Award winner compresses well and stuffs into its left-hand pocket for easy packing.
While it doesn't come close to the compressed size of the Helium II, it's the smallest of the standard jackets when stuffed into its pocket. When stuffed, a securely sewn-in webbing carabiner clip loop gives you carrying options.
The hood on this rain jacket has two elastic cord adjustments around the face, with the cord locks located on the inside next to your face. This design is more difficult to adjust when the collar is zipped up completely but is more waterproof. A Velcro tab on the back of the hood provides adjustment to raise or lower the hood's brim on your brow. This Velcro tab does the double duty of securing the hood so it can roll away into the collar. If you like to wear a rain hat, hiding away the hood is a nice feature.
The collar has a small micro-fleece patch at the chin area and an easy to use hang loop at the back of the collar. This jacket has pit-zips with traditional zippers protected by an exterior fabric rain flap. Fabric storm flaps protect two mesh-lined hand pockets with traditional zippers. The zipper pulls are at the top when closed, allowing some access to the pocket even when partially blocked by the waist belt of your backpack. The pockets are mesh pouches, and the jacket stuffs into one, which has a clip-in loop. The wrist cuffs have a Velcro tab adjustment and the elastic hem cinch; with one cord lock located on the right side, it is easy to adjust.
This model is a great do-everything jacket. It's light enough to carry on long backpacking and climbing trips, and it's ventilated well for high energy activities. The hood rolls away if you like to wear a rain hat or if you're using your jacket around town. The large hand pockets can hold keys, phone, and gloves with no problem. Our testing team also thinks its durable enough for occasional downhill skiing use.
This contender won our Best Buy Award. At its low $100 price point, there is not a more versatile high-performing jacket in our review for less money.
Conclusion and the Bottom Line
This affordable and well-featured jacket is an easy choice if you want a do-it-all jacket. It will keep you dry around town or on a backpacking trip, and its NanoPro coating technology breathes quite well, especially considering its $100 price tag.
— Ian Nicholson
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