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Marmot Minimalist Pant Review

A basic, few-frills Gore-Tex pant that offers fantastic storm protection and mobility; it sacrifices little convenience for weight, without giving up anything in the way of performance.
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Price:  $165 List | $114.73 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Durable, among the most weather resistant on the market, comfortable fit, excellent mobility
Cons:  Ankle length zips, no venting options, no waist tightening/cinching options, no belt-loops
Manufacturer:   Marmot
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 16, 2017
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86
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 13
  • Water Resistance - 25% 10
  • Comfort and Mobility - 18% 9
  • Breathability & Venting - 18% 8
  • Features - 5% 7
  • Packed Size - 12% 7
  • Weight - 17% 8
  • Durability - 5% 9

Our Verdict

The Marmot Minimalist Pant is well-designed and simple, yet functional, Gore-tex rain pant. It offers superb weather protection without weighing too much or taking up much room in your pack. The Minimalist is exactly what the name implies: a fairly minimalist design, which doesn't offer full-length side zippers, instead featuring 1/4 length boot cuff zips, two front pockets, and decent articulation. When it comes to durability, don't let the Minimalist name fool you. While not feature rich, this pant is bombproof, and easily among the most durable models we tested. It also features some of the best articulation and is one of the more versatile options that we tested.

Color Update

Marmot now only offers the Minimalist pant in black, shown above.

October 2018


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Durable, among the most weather resistant on the market, comfortable fit, excellent mobilityLightweight, excellent stormworthiness, packable, sweet 3/4 length side zips, impressive breathabilityLightweight, stormworthy, quiet fabric, good breathability, 3/4 length side zips, effective elastic cuffsMega stretchy fabric, best breathability in the review, built in belt is the bombBy far the lightest and most compact pant in our review, great mobility, elastic waist band is extremely comfortable and functional
Cons Ankle length zips, no venting options, no waist tightening/cinching options, no belt-loopsNo pockets, waist band is not as nice as others, expensiveNo zip fly, one marginally useful pocket, DWR didn't last as long as other models and needed to be retreated more frequentlyNot quite as abrasion resistant as other models, so-so weather-resistanceLess durable than most, hard to pull on over boots
Bottom Line A basic, few-frills Gore-Tex pant that offers fantastic storm protection and mobility; it sacrifices little convenience for weight, without giving up anything in the way of performance.Lightweight, yet tough, comfortable, and articulated enough for a week long backpacking trips where it rains every day.Highly protective pants that are light and compact for tucking away in your backpack.A fantastic all-around pant with rad stretchy fabric, which offers exceptional freedom of movement and the best breathability.Hard to beat for any trip where weight and packed space are at a premium - as long as there isn't too much off-trail travel, where their lower than average durability could be an issue.
Rating Categories Marmot Minimalist Pant Arc'teryx Zeta SL Pant Outdoor Research Foray Pants Stretch Ozonic Pants Outdoor Research Helium Pant
Water Resistance (25%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
8
Comfort And Mobility (18%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
Breathability & Venting (18%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Features (5%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
5
Packed Size (12%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
Weight (17%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
10
Durability (5%)
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
Specs Marmot Minimalist... Arc'teryx Zeta SL... Outdoor Research... Stretch Ozonic Pants Outdoor Research...
Measured Weight 11oz / 292g 8.6 oz / 245g 10.2 oz / 289g 10 oz / 283g 6.5 oz / 184g
Waterproof Fabric Material 2.5 Layer Gore-tex with PacLite Technology Gore-Tex Paclite Plus 2L Gore-Tex 2.5 Layer Dry Q Active Stretch 2.5 Layer Pertex Shield+
Face Fabric and Layer Construction 50D 100% Polyester w / Gore-tex PacLite Waterproof Breathable Membrane 40-denier nylon ripstop 2L 100% Polyester 50D 40D Dry Q Active Stretch 30D 100 Nylon Ripstop w/ Pertex Shield+ Waterproof Breathable Insert
Pockets 2 pockets 0 pockets 1 pocket 1 pocket 1 pocket
Side Zips Length? 1/4 Length Ankle Zips 3/4 length side zips 3/4-Length Full Length Side Zips 1/4 Length Ankle Zips
Put on Over Hiking or Mountaineering Boots Hiking Boots, but not all Mtn Boots Yes Yes Yes No
Inseam Length, Size Medium 31, 32, 33 in 30, 32, 34 in 30 in 30, 32, 34 in 31 in
Stows Into Pocket? No No Yes Yes Yes
Waist band Style 1/2 Elastic Nylon Belt + Elastic Band Elastic + shock cord Nylon Belt + Elastic Band Elastic + Shock Cord

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Marmot Minimalist is exactly that. It's a few frills Gore-Tex PackLite pant that doesn't offer much in the way of extra features, instead focusing on its bomber construction, excellent storm worthiness, and fantastic freedom of movement - all while maintaining a respectable packed weight and level of compressibility.

Performance Comparison


In both real-world use and in our side-by-side garden hose and shower comparisons  the Minimalist Pant was easily among the most storm resistant models we tested. They did a fantastic job of keeping their wearer dry.
In both real-world use and in our side-by-side garden hose and shower comparisons, the Minimalist Pant was easily among the most storm resistant models we tested. They did a fantastic job of keeping their wearer dry.

Weather Resistance


The Marmot Minimalist offers exceptional weather resistance and performed among the best in our review, in both our side-by-side hose and shower tests, as well as over several weeks of real-world testing over a wet Pacific Northwest fall hiking and climbing season. For wet weather hiking or mountaineering, there are few pants we'd rather use than the Minimalist. Our testers were impressed with how effective this pant was in keeping us dry. This contender, along with the Arc'teryx Beta AR were the most storm-worthy pants we tested. Because the Minimalist doesn't offer any side-zippers and features waterproof pockets, there are few ways in which water could find its way in. The Gore-Tex PacLite fabric performed to the highest standard and offered long-lasting weather protection.

The DWR beading up water  not only keeping the wearer dry from the outside  but also maintaining breathability by not wetting out. The photo shows the Minimalist Pant by Marmot.
The DWR beading up water, not only keeping the wearer dry from the outside, but also maintaining breathability by not wetting out. The photo shows the Minimalist Pant by Marmot.

Comfort and Mobility


The Minimalist offers some of the best freedom of movement and overall mobility of any pant in our review. It features well-designed and articulated legs that move with the wearer; these designs are above average and are comfortable, but do not feel too baggy. While they performed better than most of the options we tested, they didn't offer a comparable level of freedom of movement that can found in the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic or the REI Talusphere Full Zip; both use a stretchy high-quality fabric.

Fit

These pants fit our testers well; however, depending on the tester's body, not everyone thought they fit fantastically in the waist area. Unlike most of the pants we tested, they only feature elastic on the back half of the waist area of the pant, and feature no belt-loops and no "cinching or tightening features.

The Minimalist Pant offers only 1/4 length ankle zippers. Even this short zipper helped these pants to be donned over smaller volume footwear like trail running shoes or low-top light-hiking shoes  but anything larger and we were forced to take off our shoes to pull these pants on. While this was a small inconvenience (as when it's rainy the ground is often muddy)  it was a trade off  as not having longer side zippers saved 3-5 ounces of weight in our pack. This was a nice weight savings  considering most people carry their rain pant in their pack 95+ percent of the time.
The Minimalist Pant offers only 1/4 length ankle zippers. Even this short zipper helped these pants to be donned over smaller volume footwear like trail running shoes or low-top light-hiking shoes, but anything larger and we were forced to take off our shoes to pull these pants on. While this was a small inconvenience (as when it's rainy the ground is often muddy), it was a trade off, as not having longer side zippers saved 3-5 ounces of weight in our pack. This was a nice weight savings, considering most people carry their rain pant in their pack 95+ percent of the time.

Breathability & Ventilation


This is where the Minimalist name is more apparent; while it does not sacrifice anything in the way of durability, breathability, or storm worthiness, it doesn't feature any ventilation options. It does feature 1/4 length ankle zippers, but these don't allow much (if any) moisture to escape or for any heat to be "dumped". In our real-world testing, our review team didn't find this to be a significant issue. As we mentioned in our main buying advice article, when hiking in the rain (particularly if it's brushy), having the side zippers open is practically inviting water to run into your pants, and consequently, into your boots.

While having ventilation is nice for hiking post-rainstorm, most of the time this isn't a dealbreaker. The Minimalist offers Gore-Tex PacLite fabric, which was one of the most breathable fabrics we tested. The only pant that proved more breathable was the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic; its Dry.Q fabric was air permeable and didn't require the user to work up a bunch of heat in order for the fabric to start transferring moisture. The REI Talusphere Full Zip wasn't too far off in regards to breathability, scoring 9s out of 10s.

Features


The Minimalist doesn't feature waist tightening features or belt loops, and has quarter-length angle zippers. Our testing team found we could pull these pants over small, low-profile hiking shoes, but pulling the pants over medium to larger sized hiking boots wasn't an option. In the end, not being able to pull this contender over hiking boots wasn't a momentous dealbreaker for day hikers (who have light footwear in most cases), though it was a more significant issue for mountaineers or backpackers.

The Minimalist Pant didn't offer a lot of "extra" features  but instead offers a storm worthy pant that's lighter and more packable than average. One of its few features were two classically located hand warmer pockets that our testers appreciated.
The Minimalist Pant didn't offer a lot of "extra" features, but instead offers a storm worthy pant that's lighter and more packable than average. One of its few features were two classically located hand warmer pockets that our testers appreciated.

Though it's always worth considering that most backpackers and hikers end up carrying their pants 95% of the time, you might appreciate the slight weight savings in exchange for the occasional inconvenience to sit down to remove your boots for those rare rainy day outings. For mountaineers who may be wearing a climbing harness, bigger volume boots and the possibility of crampons proved to be more of a pain, as sitting and removing boots in the snow is more of an issue than when on a trail.

Packed Size


These pants were slightly smaller than average in regards to other contenders that were tested; they are slightly smaller than the Marmot PreCip Full Zip Pants, but noticeably more packable than the REI Talusphere Full Zip or The North Face Venture Half Zip. Compared to most Gore-Tex models, these pants are smaller than average and among the most packable to feature Gore-Tex PacLite fabric.

Weight


A hair over 11 ounces, these are the lightest Gore-Tex pants we tested; the Minimalist remains impressive, as it is lighter than the Columbia Rebel Roamer, which also doesn't feature side zips and is far lighter than the Marmot PreCip Full Zip (14 oz), which uses slightly lighter weight fabric. The Minimalist is nowhere near as light as the Outdoor Research Helium Pant (6.5 ounces), which is by far the lightest and most compact model in our review (however, it's important to note that the Helium is not as durable or versatile).

Durability


We think these pants are the most durable pant tested in regard to abrasion resistance and in DWR and weather resistance longevity. After weeks of use on a wide array of backpacking, hiking, and mountaineering trips, our testing team was impressed with how well this contender held up. We found the Minimalist was far more durable than other award winners, like the OR Foray, and the Columbia Rebel Roamer. The Minimalist uses 50D fabric which is some of the thicker fabric among models tested; it's made of polyester, which is more abrasion resistant, and more durable than nylon.

Best Applications


The Marmot Minimalist is right at home for nearly all outdoor activities. It's light enough for throwing in the pack as a "just-in-case" layer on single or multi-day backpacking trips, but durable enough that it will last for those times when you actually have to break them out when the going gets rough. The fit and freedom of movement is suitable and allows for other cold and wet snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or even occasional downhill skiing use. In fact, this pair is one of the better options for downhill and backcountry ski boots, as the larger diameter cuff fits over decently.

Value


At $165, the Minimalist is one of the best priced Gore-Tex pants you can buy; that in itself makes it a great value. We think because of its exceptionally high level of durability, this pant will last the user quite some time. Overall, we think most folks will find this model worth every penny.

Conclusion


Our testers love the functionality and overall design of the Marmot Minimalist. It was a strong contender for our Editors' Choice Award, as it offers exceptional versatility, durability, and storm worthiness - all at an excellent price, while providing a respectable weight and packed volume. Several of our testers commented that the side zips didn't help much with ventilation when you truly needed it, which was true. The side zips did make it easy enough to put on without having to take off your boots, snowshoes, or skis. This pair of rain pants remains a sweet rainy day option, with several advantages for folks willing to sacrifice a little convenience for weight savings.


Ian Nicholson