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Marmot ROM Review

The ROM is a stretchy softshell that excels at keeping cold winds at bay, complete with a Windstopper shell material.
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Price:  $190 List | $134.98 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Soft and stretchy fabric, lightweight, great wind protection, internal zippered pocket
Cons:  Baggier fit than others, pockets interfere with harness use
Manufacturer:   Marmot
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 28, 2018
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71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Protection - 30% 7
  • Breathability - 30% 7
  • Mobility - 20% 8
  • Weight - 10% 7
  • Features - 5% 6
  • Style - 5% 6

Our Verdict

The Marmot ROM is a softshell jacket that does is a jack of all trades, yet does not stand out in any one metric. With a simple design that uses proven fabrics and technologies, Marmot has made a versatile jacket that looks and works well on the cliffs, on the slopes or on the town. ROM stands for range of motion, and we felt like Marmot hit the mark with their stretchy M2 softshell fabric, allowing users a high degree of freedom of movement.

2019 Product Updates
Marmot updates the ROM jacket with all new color options and higher pockets this year. See the new version in the photo above, and a side-by-side comparison to follow.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The 2019 Marmot ROM vs. the Tested Version


The Marmot ROM has been revamped. 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 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.
Fresh powder turns on a crisp winter morning is a great place for a softshell.

Weather Protection


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. When inundated with water, however, this fabric wetted out much quicker than others. 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 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.

Breathability


The ROM is unlined. 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. 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.
Chance enjoys the breathability of the ROM on a big wall climb in Yosemite Valley.

Mobility


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. 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.
The ROM offers great mobility with very stretchy Windstopper material.

Weight


With a verified weight of 1.1 pounds, the ROM jacket stands in the middle of the pack. 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.

The durability was never in question as we inched our way up abrasive granite  and is worth the slightly heavier weight.
The durability was never in question as we inched our way up abrasive granite, and is worth the slightly heavier weight.

Features


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, but its relative simplicity also makes it easy to use and appreciate.

Style


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.

The style of the ROM is unassuming and works well in the alpine or back down in town.
The style of the ROM is unassuming and works well in the alpine or back down in town.

Getting ready for a cold morning on Mount Whitney  this jacket keeps the cold wind at bay.
Getting ready for a cold morning on Mount Whitney, this jacket keeps the cold wind at bay.

Value


The ROM is one of 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.

Conclusion


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.


Ryan Huetter