Marmot ROM 2.0 Review
Cons: Only one hood adjustment, average weight
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Marmot ROM 2.0
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|Pros||Great mobility, highly breathable, well-fitted||Durable fabric, great fit, all-around usefulness||Waterproof, comfortable, stretchy||Super breathable, durable, inexpensive||Incredibly light, very mobile|
|Cons||Only one hood adjustment, average weight||Limited water resistance, fitted cuffs||Small hood, light on features||Poor wet weather protection||Limited weather protection, few features|
|Bottom Line||This stretchy and mobile jacket is great for climbing and skiing thanks to its above-average breathability||This is a great medium weight softshell jacket that will hold up to rugged use thanks to its durable fabric||This waterproof softshell jacket is one of the few hybrid models that we have found to be highly breathable||This budget-friendly softshell is one of our favorites for summertime rock climbing||This is one of the lightest softshells out there, perfect for cool windy days at the crag|
|Rating Categories||Marmot ROM 2.0||Arc'teryx Gamma LT...||Rab Kinetic 2.0||Outdoor Research Fe...||Rab Borealis|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Specs||Marmot ROM 2.0||Arc'teryx Gamma LT...||Rab Kinetic 2.0||Outdoor Research Fe...||Rab Borealis|
|Measured Weight (size medium)||17.1 oz||17 oz||11.6 oz||13.4 oz||10.5 oz|
|Material||92% nylon, 8% elastane||Wee Burly (56% nylon, 34% polyester, 10% elastane)||100% recycled polyester||86% nylon (46% recycled), 14% spandex||Lightweight Matrix single weave with 2-way stretch and DWR|
|Lined/Insulated?||No||No||No||Yes, lining 91% nylon, 9% spandex||No|
|Hood?||Yes||Yes, helmet compatible, adjustable StormHood||Yes, under helmet with rear hood adjustment||Yes, climbing helmet compatible, adjustable, stowable||Yes, under helmet with lycra binding|
|Number of Pockets (zippered unless otherwise noted)||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered||3 (2 handwarmer, 1 internal)||2 zippered hand||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest||2 (external chest)|
|Adjustable Cuffs?||Yes, Velcro||Stretch cuffs||Yes, velcro||Elastic cuffs||Lycra cuffs|
|Available Sizes||S - XXL||XS - XXL||S - XXL||S - XXXL||S - XXL|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We took the Marmot ROM 2.0 out in some downright nasty weather conditions and were thoroughly impressed with how well it handles inclement weather. While ski touring and alpine climbing, we found this jacket to excel at the things that make the difference between great softshells and average ones. Incredibly stretchy and mobile, it breathes well and shakes off snow and light rain with ease.
The ROM 2.0 uses Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper 3 Layer softshell fabric to cover the most vulnerable locations like the head, the shoulders, and the arms, but uses a lighter and more stretchy fabric with more elastane along the back and chest. This effectively produces a hybrid jacket that can deliver excellent weather protection where it is the most needed. The Gore-Tex can block wind and repel moisture better than many other fabrics. The reason that it allows moisture to bead off continuously is that the membrane is on the outside, rather than being covered by a fabric layer that will eventually wet through and clog the membrane's pores, inhibiting its ability to shed perspiration.
While the Gore-Tex is very effective at shedding snow and light rain off the head and shoulders, the lighter fabric, which is not a lined material, does not offer the same protection. We did not find this to be an issue while wearing a backpack that covers much of the back.
The arms, back, and front of this jacket are thinner, less durable, and subsequently more prone to getting wet. This means that while climbing without a pack, moisture can easily bead off and not be sopped up by the body fabric. However, while wearing a backpack, the material around the sternum straps and waist straps wet out over time. That said, this is not a hardshell jacket, so we cannot be too harsh to judge the waterproofness.
The ROM 2.0 has excellent breathability for its weight and especially for its weather protection. There are certainly much more breathable jackets in our review, though this comes at the cost of being more susceptible to getting wet in harsher weather conditions. The fabric on this jacket does a great job at keeping the weather out from the most exposed locations, as we mentioned above. However, the fabric throughout the body is much more breathable (it does not have any lining), and this combination seems like the best of both worlds to us.
In our testing, we engaged in aerobic activities like ski touring, ice climbing, and rock climbing, all of which generate a lot of heat — especially when wearing a base layer. The ROM 2.0 expels this heat quite well, meaning you won't suffer from damp layers underneath, a concern if recreating in cold temperatures. As long as you don't carry anything in your pockets (there are two handwarmer pockets and one outer chest pocket in addition to the internal chest pocket), then you can open the zippers to dump even more heat, as they have only a mesh backing rather than a solid lining.
We awarded the ROM 2.0 a high score for mobility and give the designers a nod for improving upon the old design, which was a bit too boxy to be a top performer as an athletic garment. The articulated tailoring allows for easy overhead reaching without causing the hems to pull up out of a harness. The cuffs also do not fall down when grabbing for something high above you, a less-than-optimal issue when snow or ice climbing.
Some users have complained that the athletic fit of the ROM 2.0 is neither trim enough nor relaxed enough. For us, it has just the right amount of room for wearing base layers underneath while not being so baggy that it loses its function in athletic activities. Our lead tester is a medium across the board, and at 5' 11", he finds the ROM spacious enough to allow a thin long sleeve shirt, as well as a medium-weight hooded base layer, without feeling any constriction in the body or arms as some have noted.
We verified the weight of our size medium ROM 2.0, and it came in just a hair over a pound, at 17.1 ounces. For the weather protection it provides, as well as for its top-notch performance in rough terrain thanks to its durable fabric, we feel that while not the lightest weight jacket in our review, it is certainly quite light for its functionality.
Packing down to the size of a one-liter water bottle, the ROM 2.0 is easily stuffed into a pack for when the extra protection is not required or when hiking into an overnight destination. Few jackets are lighter than the ROM 2.0 in this test, and amongst those that are, none of them provide the same weather protection, giving this jacket an edge over most other contenders.
When rating versatility, we consider style, usefulness, and included features. The ROM 2.0 has a nice, clean style that gives buyers the option to choose between bright color schemes and more subtle dark options. The trim fit can be at home at the cliffs or at the coffee shop, though the features make the jacket more useful at the former.
The cuffs are adjustable, with velcro closures, so that they can seal around gloves. The hood has a single adjustment point, as well as a brim that sheds snow and rain away from the face. The hood is climbing helmet-compatible, though just barely. Larger foam helmets may not fit underneath as well as a plastic shell helmet, and the hood is certainly not spacious enough to accommodate a ski helmet.
This jacket is a good value as a softshell jacket well-suited to mountain activities. It has great performance in important metrics like weather protection and breathability and is a sharp-looking piece that we feel confident in recommending.
The Marmot ROM 2.0 is a great softshell jacket for wearing in and out of the mountains. It has excellent weather protection, enhanced breathability, and exceptional mobility, making it a perfect choice for someone looking for a durable jacket to climb, ski tour, or backpack in. It provides a balance between the protection of a hardshell and the breathability of a softshell while not giving up much performance in the desire to be both. We find it excellent for climbing in particular and recommend it to anyone who needs a comfortable layer to protect them while focusing on the moves ahead.
— Ryan Huetter
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