The 2018 Marmot ROM vs. the 2017 Version
The Marmot ROM has been revamped for 2018. They've raised the pockets up a bit higher to be more harness compatible, and the hood drawcords at the chin are no more. There are also some new color options available. The side-by-side photos below show the latest version on the left, followed by the version we tested on the right.
- Higher Pockets — The pockets on this incarnation of the ROM are higher and hopefully more harness compatible, which is a welcome addition and something we definitely wished for on the previous version.
- Hood Drawcords Removed — The new ROM only has one cinch cord, found on the back of the hood. The previous version had two others, located by the chin.
- Fresh Colors — There are three new colors available, a solid black and two different two-toned color combos.
Since we haven't tested out this version yet, the rest of this review refers to last year's ROM.
Hands-On Review of the Marmot ROM
With a simple design, subtle styling and proven weather protection, the Marmot ROM was one of our favorite all-around jackets whether we were walking downtown or heading up on a big wall climb. There are better niche jackets for higher protection values or lighter weight, but the ROM is a good, everyday softshell jacket that consistently scored higher than average.
Fresh powder turns on a crisp winter morning is a great place for a softshell like the ROM.
The ROM is comprised of Marmot's own M2 softshell fabric combined with Gore-Tex Windstopper. This combination excels in keeping cold breezes from sneaking in and robbing the body of heat. In wind protection alone, the ROM one of the top performers, coming in behind the Mountain Hardwear Dragon. When inundated with water, however, this fabric wetted out much quicker than others, like the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol or Arc'teryx Psiphon FL. This contender is a better choice when the forecast is clear, or if the temperatures are cold enough that any precipitation will fall as snow rather than rain.
The shell fabric wetted out incredibly fast, which did not enter into the interior jacket as fast, but did take a while to dry back out.
The ROM is unlined, similar to the Rab Torque and Outdoor Research Ferrosi; this keeps the interior fabric from holding onto moisture as internal insulation traps it, and we found the ROM to breathe well. It is a heavier fabric than either of those two jackets, though, so is less breathable than lighter weight options. It is still more breathable than many other products we tested like the Columbia Ascender or The North Face Apex Bionic 2. Despite not winning top scores in this metric, it's a fine choice for general purpose use.
Chance enjoys the breathability of the ROM on a big wall climb in Yosemite Valley.
Mobility is really where the ROM excelled, which is what you hope for when the name stands for range of motion. The stretch woven M2/Windstopper fabric easily moved with the wearer during a wide spectrum of movement, making it an ideal jacket for high output activities like climbing and skiing. We did not experience any cuff drop as we did on the Ascender, and the longer hem length stayed below the waist, even when reaching high over our head for climbing holds.
The ROM offers great mobility with very stretchy Windstopper material.
With a verified weight of 1.1 pounds, the ROM jacket is the fifth lightest jacket in our review. There is no comparison between the weight of the ROM when compared to the Arcteryx Psiphon FL, but for a general purpose softshell jacket or on shorter missions, 1.1 pounds is a perfectly acceptable weight. It's noticeably lighter and less bulky than competitors like the Mountain Hardwear Dragon or Black Diamond Dawn Patrol models.
The durability was never in question as we inched our way up abrasive granite, and is worth the slightly heavier weight.
The basic features on the ROM jacket include two handwarmer pockets, a chest pocket, and an internal zippered chest pocket. The handwarmer pockets are a touch too low, making them harder to use with a backpack or harness. The hood has three closures, so it is easy to get a tight fit around the head or a helmet, and there are hem closures to tighten up around the waist as well as velcro cuff closures making it easy to use with and without gloves. There are no standout features on the ROM, unlike the Mountain Hardwear Dragon, which has seemingly every feature in the book, but its relative simplicity also makes it easy to use and appreciate.
The ROM jacket is a simple looking jacket that does not stand out from the crowd, thanks to its solid color scheme that does not make you look like a human Skittle. It does remain noticeable in poor visibility. It is a regular cut that fits true to size, if not slightly baggy. We noticed a bit of a pooch in the front when wearing a harness or backpack waist belt; this is less of a trim fitting, tailored feeling jacket than the Arcteryx Gamma MX or Psiphon FL.
The style of the ROM is unassuming and works well in the alpine or back down in town.
Marmot describes their ROM jacket as a Swiss Army knife of softshell jackets, and we feel that is a good analogy for this jack of all trades shell. It is not the lightest or the more water resistant, but it is windproof, mobile and comfortable, with an accessible price. Hikers, climbers, skiers, and outdoor enthusiasts who do not need the top of the line, and want good performance would do well to choose the ROM as a general purpose softshell jacket.
Getting ready for a cold morning on Mount Whitney, the ROM keeps the cold wind at bay.
With a price of $190, the ROM is the least expensive of the fully featured, hooded softshell jackets that we tested. We feel that is a good value, though for a few dollars more, you could have better wet-weather protection in the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol.
For all-around use on the cliffs or in the skin track, the Marmot ROM allows unencumbered movement as well as outstanding wind protection. For wetter climates, there are better options, but for those primarily needing a softshell jacket for dry, windy environments, the ROM is a good choice at a competitive price.