Some of the windbreakers we tested are designed to fit snug to the body and serve as a light wind shell over the base layer. Others are a bit roomier to allow for a thin warmth layer beneath them if needed. The Ether DriClime Hoody is a snug, athletic-fitting wind shell that has a thin warmth layer built in. While the DriClime liner is a very thin piece of felt-like material, it makes a massive difference in how the jacket feels. It added significantly to the jacket's wind resistance, ranking it at the top of the pile. However, it also trapped enough heat that we weren't able to wear this jacket on warm sunny days, even when we wanted a little wind protection. So, the liner has the effect of making it better than almost every jacket in the review for cold days, but simultaneously making it (for us) un-wearable for most of the summer.
This jacket is excellent for wind protection and quite effective regarding breathability and venting. Its fit and functionality was not a hindrance at all, while it was about average in terms of water resistance. Its lowest attribute was its weight combined with the fact that it packs down into a relatively large hand pocket, something we would not want to clip onto a harness or the outside of a pack.
The Ether DriClime Hoody is one of two wind breakers in this review that feature a liner inside the nylon shell. This helps keep you warmer, and also serves to wick away moisture built up from sweaty uphill hiking.
The outer shell fabric of this jacket is very lightweight and quite air-permeable. It is also very slippery to the touch, and it almost feels as if this forces the wind to slip right over it, rather than manage to blow straight through it. Taken alone, we suspect that it would be one of the least wind resistant materials in this review. However, it doesn't function alone, and the combination of it and the DriClime liner provides the most wind resistance of any jacket in this test. Only the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro and the Patagonia Alpine Houdini were close to this jacket's performance, but not equal to it.
The fit of the Ether DriClime Hoody is a little large for a stand alone layer, or a layer that is meant to be layered on top of. Due to the friction and design of the felt liner, you wouldn't want to layer underneath this wind shell. Showing the fit in the wind at the Great Sand Dunes NP.
Breathability and Venting
When it comes to Breathability and Venting, we gave the Ether DriClime eight out of a possible 10 points, similar to the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody and the Outdoor Research Tantrum II. The liner does a very good job of absorbing liquid from sweat and then transferring it away from the body and toward the outer shell fabric. The shell itself is very air permeable, so breathes well. Added to that are the features like large underarm mesh vents and zippered hand and chest pockets that aid in venting. If you are working up a sweat, this jacket does a good job of drying you off.
A nice feature of the Ether DriClime Hoody is the underarm vents, shown here. This lightweight mesh is large enough and thin enough to aid in moisture and heat transfer out of the jacket, and is a feature seen in very few of the wind breakers we tested.
However, the caveat to this equation is that since the lined jacket is so much warmer than any other in this review, we found that you are certainly far more likely to work up a sweat in the first place. We couldn't wear it much in the summer because it made us too hot. On the other hand, it is an excellent option for colder weather. It will keep you warm when the air and wind are cold, and will also dry you out quickly if you get sweaty, helping you to avoid getting a chill.
Weight and Packability
Our windbreaker weighed 8.5 ounces fresh, which was curiously about one whole ounce lighter than Marmot advertised on its website. Regardless, it was the second heaviest jacket in the review (although clearly still very light). However, we deducted a point from its score for its packability. It stuffs into one of its hand pockets, rather than the smaller chest pocket like most of its competitors. The result is that it remains much larger once packed than most, almost pillow-like. It also leaves lots of the soft DriClime liner exposed on the outside of the stuffed package, which we are worried is a concern for abrasion and wear and tear. While it does include a clip-in loop, this is not a jacket we want hanging from a harness or stored anywhere but inside a pack. This was by far the Ether DriClimes's lowest score, three out of 10.
The ten wind breakers in this review stuffed into their pockets', from left to right: Sierra Designs Exhale Windhirt (green) does not fit into a pocket, Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody (orange), Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro (light orange), Patagonia Alpine Houdini (navy, discontinued), Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket (glossy black), Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie (neon green, discontinued) Patagonia Houdini (black), Rab Windveil (white mesh), Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody (brown), Outdoor Research Tantrum (neon yellow).
Fit and Functionality
This jacket is designed to Marmot's athletic fit, which means that it is designed to hug the body in a sleek way, not hindering movement by being too baggy or bulky. While our size large was a little on the roomy side for our skinny but tall frame, we still think it fits well as a single layer over the top of an underlayer. The DriClime liner is a bit grippy and sticky with other fabric, meaning you wouldn't want to try to layer underneath this jacket or else deal with bunching fabric that might never sit just right.
The hood is a weakness of this jacket, as it does not have an elastic lining around the face to hold it tight, or a draw cord to cinch it up. There is also no accommodation for stowing it away. It is made of layers of nylon material, and does not have a liner like the rest of the jacket.
It has a healthy dose of usable features, such as insulated hand pockets, a chest pocket with a headphone port, and adjustable hood with easy to cinch dual draw cords on either side of the face. Its zippers and cinch cords are easy to use, although we did struggle to line up our headphone wires through the two holes in the chest pocket designed for that purpose. One time when we stuffed the jacket into its own pocket, the zipper ate up some fabric and we had a heck of a time getting the zipper open and the jacket back to usable again.
The felt inside liner of the Ether DriClime Hoody. While this material does a decent job of absorbing moisture and wicking it away from the body, it also adds a significant amount of warmth to the thin nylon shell.
Overall, this jacket fits like it is designed to, and its features work well. We gave it seven out of 10 points, which was not quite as good as the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody. It was about average in this regard.
The hand pockets in this jacket are lined with the same soft felt as the inside. The jacket stuffs down into one of its hand pockets, which is convenient, but ends up as a large package.
While we found that the DWR coating on this jacket was relatively effective, we did notice areas on the neck and shoulders where it had begun to wear off by the time that we did our shower test. A slight amount of water was absorbed into the fabric of the hood, and also the areas where the coating had worn off. In other areas, the water beaded up nicely and easily shed off without absorption, and despite the slight issues, we saw no evidence of water inside the jacket or soaking into the liner from the outside.
The Ether DriClime Hoody received seven out of 10 points for water resistance, on average compared to its competition. It was not nearly as good as the top scorers, like the Patagonia Alpine Houdini or the Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie. It was about the same as its most similar competition in this review, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Pro jacket, which also has an internal liner.
As we have mentioned many times, this jacket is perfect for colder weather and not so good for hot weather. If you are pairing it to the right temperature air, then it is ideal for aerobic activities such as running on roads or trails, hiking, peak bagging, or mountain biking. We would not recommend it for trad climbing because we would not want to carry its bulky package on our harness. It could also serve as a very nice lightweight warmth layer for backpacking or camping during the warmer months, when it might be enough for mornings and evenings, negating the need for a puffy.
The Ether DriClime Hoody was one of the most wind protective breakers that we reviewed, while also breathing far better than most. While we got a bit sweaty wearing it on the ascents, it kept us nice and warm on the fast and chilly descents at the RAT trails outside of Ridgway, Colorado.
This jacket will cost you $125 if you get it at retail price. This is about average for the products in this review. Since it is the top scorer in the review, then we think it is worth the money to own this jacket.
The Camp Bird Crag, situated on an exposed ledge at around 11,500 feet, is exposed to lots of wind and alpine weather. Despite the August heat in town, we were happy for the added warmth of the insulated Ether DriClime Hoody while sport climbing on this day.
This is an ideal outer layer for aerobic activities when it is not too hot outside. Its ability to block wind from our bodies was unrivaled. Its wicking insulation breathes well, but also made us too hot during summer months. As the seasons turned to fall, this was our first choice for trail running and mountain biking. It was the overall highest scorer in our review and is clearly a very high-quality piece of outdoor clothing. We recommend it to anyone who needs a windbreaker for cooler temperatures.
Despite the abundant sunshine, there is a crisp note to the air as the leaves turn yellow. We found ourselves reaching for the Ether DriClime Hoody far more frequently as summer turned to autumn.