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Marmot Fordham Review

This jacket is rugged spin off of the standard down puffy, and it's warm, durable, and attractively priced
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Marmot Fordham Review
Credit: Jason Wanlass
Price:  $325 List
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Manufacturer:   Marmot
By Jason Wanlass ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 28, 2024
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 16
  • Warmth - 30% 7.5
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 7.5
  • Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Versatility and Style - 10% 7.0
  • Construction Quality - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

It's not the least expensive jacket in our lineup, but the Marmot Fordham is certainly the best deal. This rugged-style down puffer brings a ton of value to the table by way of its warmth, comfort, and construction quality. The Fordham is an everyday winter jacket that synthesizes three vibes — urban, outdoors, and workwear. A closer look revealed good insulation, warm protection, durable construction, and a compelling suite of features. Put all this together, and we get a solid contender that provides excellent value and all-around performance in a winter jacket.
REASONS TO BUY
Rugged
Stylish
Warm
Treated down
Great pockets
Drawstring hem
Integrated hood system
Quality construction
REASONS TO AVOID
Shell absorbs water
Lacks two-way zipper
Stubborn cuffs
Hood is a little shallow
Editor's Note: The Marmot Fordham review was updated on February 28, 2024, after retesting the most current model.

Compare to Similar Products

 
marmot fordham
This Product
Marmot Fordham
Awards Best Buy Award   Best Buy Award  
Price $162.48 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$159.83 at REI$163.73 at REI$69 List
$69.97 at Amazon
$120 List
$39.99 at Amazon
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Bottom Line With long-lasting down insulation, cozy construction, and a value price, the Fordham is a competitive all-around contenderExtreme cold weather protection with a relatively affordable price tagA great daily grab-n-go jacket that is versatile enough to accommodate most winter activitiesAn affordable jacket that performs well enough and offers a surprising array of featuresA fleece-lined daily wear jacket that lacks style, but doesn't skimp on weather resistance
Rating Categories Marmot Fordham The North Face McMu... Patagonia Downdrift Wantdo Waterproof Snow Moerdeng ArcticPeaks
Warmth (30%)
7.5
9.0
7.0
5.0
5.0
Weather Resistance (25%)
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.0
8.0
Comfort (25%)
8.0
7.0
6.5
6.5
6.0
Versatility and Style (10%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.5
5.0
Construction Quality (10%)
8.0
8.0
8.5
6.0
6.0
Specs Marmot Fordham The North Face McMu... Patagonia Downdrift Wantdo Waterproof Snow Moerdeng ArcticPeaks
Shell Fabric NanoPro (100% post-consumer recycled polyester) DryVent 2L 100% recycled nylon 100% recycled nylon 100% polyester 100% polyester
Insulation and Fill Power 700-fill down treated with Down Defender 600-fill down 600-fill down Synthetic Synthetic
Measured Interior Temperature 78.6 °F 79 °F 76.9 °F 72.6 °F 72.5 °F
Fill Weight Not specified Not specified Not specified Not specified Not specified
Removable Hood Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Hood Adjustments 2 side drawcords 2 side drawcords, 1 rear drawcord 1 rear drawcord 2 side drawcords 2 side drawcords
Pockets 2 zippered handwarmer, 2 flap waist, 1 zippered internal media 2 zippered chest, 2 top-entry Velcro flap, 2 zippers side-entry waist, 1 zippered interior media pocket 4 non-zippered top-entry waist exterior, 1 zippered interior media 2 zippered waist, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered interior media 2 zippered waist, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered interior media
Weight 3.24 lb (2XL) 3.31 lb (XL) 2.53 lb (2XL) 3.29 lb (2XL) 2.71 lb (2XL)
2-Way Front Zipper No Yes Yes No No
Weather Resistant Features Integrating hood flaps, cinchable hood and hem, adjustable fleece lined cuffs, rugged front zipper flap, water-resistant shell, Faux fur lined hood, cinchable hood, DryVent waterproof membrane, adjustable cuffs Cinchable hood and hem, snap-closed hood, rugged front zipper flap, water-resistant shell, Water-resistant shell, cinchable hood and hem, adjustable straps, spandex interiior cuffs, powder skirt Water-resistant shell, cinchable hood and hem, adjustable cuffs
Available Sizes S - 2XL S - 3XL XS - 2XL S - 3XL S - 2XL
Social or Environmental Certifications Shell is 100% post-consumer recycled polyester Non-PFC DWR finishes, 100% recycled waterfowl down insulation Shell made from NetPlus Nylon derived from 100% postconsumer recycled fishing nets and coated with PFC-free DWR finish, fabrics are Bluesign approved, 100% recycled duck and goose down insulation None specified None specified

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Fordham is a general-purpose, daily wear jacket well suited for cold temps. It offers all of the bells and whistles found in a quality down puffer, but is unique for offering a more robust outer shell more indicative of a work jacket.

Performance Comparison



marmot fordham - battening down the hatches as the snow begins to fall. the fordham...
Battening down the hatches as the snow begins to fall. The Fordham has the soul of a typical down puffy, but it's warmer and far more rugged, making it a perfect everyday winter jacket.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Warmth


Generous amounts of 700-fill down and a heavy, densely woven, hardwearing exterior shell allow the Fordham to effectively trap body heat. It doesn't share company with the most elite jackets on our list, but for a daily wearer, the Fordham is toasty, earning it noteworthy scores for warmth.


Not all down is equal, so we were impressed with the quality of feathers the Fordham offers. The most basic down jackets typically use 550-fill, while high-performance jackets start at 800-fill and can even be stuffed with 900 to 1000-fill (rarer finds). The Fordham's 700-fill insulation is above average for its price point, making this jacket equally as warm as it is affordable. We noticed its outstanding warmth while wearing the Fordham daily during the coldest months of Utah's winter.



We backed up our anecdotal opinions during our warmth tests with the help of a chest-mounted Bluetooth thermometer. This jacket maintained a core temperature of 78.6°F during a 20-minute standing test in 20°F nighttime temps, landing it in the company of other top performers in this test.

Just standing around. We spent a chilly evening high in the Utah mountains in order to find out just how warm the Fordham is. Current temp, 20°F.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

A densely insulated removable hood is a key player in this jacket's ability to retain body heat. It utilizes the 700-fill down and is shielded by the same dense polyester shell as the top portion of the coat. The hood also integrates directly into the collar by way of Velcro tabs, making it one of the sturdiest removable hoods we've ever seen.

The Fordham's thick, down-insulated hood is one of its key warmth components. However, it's a tad bit shallow, so it doesn't completely protect the forehead and face.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Weather Resistance



The Fordham falls a little short on premium weather resistance, but we still awarded it better-than-average scores across the board during all of our weather resistance testing. All things considered, we feel its strong suit is wind resistance.


A 100-percent recycled polyester shell (post-consumer) environmentally gives the Fordham a leg up on the competition. This repurposed exterior is also super dense and rugged, making it much more resistant to weather than the average down puffy. However, the shell tends to absorb moisture from rain or snow. We first noticed this during our water tests, where we drenched it for nearly three minutes.

Pushing our Fordham to the extreme during our water tests. The shell tends to absorb water, and the shallow hood allows water to get a little too close to the face. But, for everyday use, this jacket can hold its own in most conditions.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Although the shell takes on water, we never detected the moisture passing through the exterior into the insulation or lining. Additionally, this jacket is filled with treated down (Down Defender), which allows it to stay drier than unprotected down. That said, it still left us with concerns as to how the Fordham would perform during prolonged exposure to any extreme form of precipitation. As for wind, this jacket showed no weaknesses. It offers excellent protection against moderate to high winds. This is made possible by a thick exterior shell, dense insulation, a full-length, snapping zipper flap, drawstring hem, and adjustable cuffs. However, the Fordham's hem length is similar to a standard puffy jacket, leaving more of the lower body exposed to wind, rain, and cold.

Testing our Fordham with a storm on the horizon. During our tests, this jacket effectively blocked winds up to 30 mph.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Comfort


The Fordham can accommodate a wide variety of body types; however, it is more tailored to an athletic build. Users with larger frames may find it a little tight through the shoulders, armpits, and midsection, depending on individual measurements. The Fordham's solid scores in this metric were based largely on its appealing fabrics and overall feel.


If an old-school lumberjack were in the market for a down puffy, the Fordham would be at the top of their list. Its polyester shell is thick and weighty, like canvas, while its silky liner is cool and accommodating. Both of these features are enhanced by an overstuffed down core. This combination gives the Fordham an appealing feel that lands it somewhere between your favorite work coat and your puffiest mountaineering jacket. Another comfort feature is its duo fabric design, which divides the jacket in two. Its top half and sleeves are shielded in very dense polyester fabric, while the bottom section employs a softer, thinner, and more pliable weave. The result is more protection for the upper half of the jacket (which receives more contact) and malleable mid-section that allows the user to bend, twist, and move freely. The interior fabric at the cuffs was the only thing we didn't like. The seams are not symmetrical, and the fabric tends to grab at the wrists when putting on or taking off the jacket.

marmot fordham - gettin' hitched. we like coats that are chock full of insulation...
Gettin' hitched. We like coats that are chock full of insulation, but still pliable enough to comfortably crouch, reach, bend, and slouch.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Versatility and Style


The Fordham has its own distinct vibe. Its style is urban enough to fit in at the local sports bar or java stop, yet Marmot's roots are firmly grounded in the outdoors, making the Fordham perfect for winter camping, chopping wood, or chilling by a bonfire. In short, the Fordham is an excellent all-purpose, daily-wear jacket. However, it's a little too warm for shoulder seasons, which slightly limits its versatility.


The Fordham has a rugged yet urban lumberjack style. This is a well-made, comfortable jacket that's built to last.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Construction Quality


Disclaimer: No corners were cut in the making of this product. Solid fabrics, high-performance treated down, reverse-coil zippers, storm flaps, and metal snaps are just a few of the features that allowed us to give the Fordham top marks in this metric. In fact, we're still scratching our heads over its near-perfect balance of equal parts quality and affordability.


When it comes to durability, sometimes small things are the most important, specifically how the jacket is stitched. We randomly selected several seams across the Fordham's shell and liner and then counted the number of stitches per linear inch. High-end jackets typically have 12 stitches or more per inch. The Fordham averaged 10-12 stitches — very acceptable for its price point. During our scratch tests, none of the Fordham's fabrics failed, but they do tend to scar. This isn't ideal, but it doesn't affect its overall function. All things considered, this jacket is well-made and built to last for years of normal use.

Using a paperclip to test our Fordham's fabric strength. It did scar but it never failed.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Should You Buy the Marmot Fordham?


We were certainly impressed with the quality and functionality of the Fordham. It brings a boatload of value to the table and provides excellent all-around performance at a fraction of the price of most of the top contenders. If you're in the market for a down puffy with a little more brawn, this jacket is a top contender. However, if you have a larger body type, you may have to study the manufacturer's size chart or try on the Fordham in person in order to get the right fit.

marmot fordham - marmot hit the nail on the head. this jacket is a great blend of...
Marmot hit the nail on the head. This jacket is a great blend of toughness and style.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

What Other Winter Jackets Should You Consider?


If a down puffy jacket is what you need, but you are focused on weight, the Rab Neutrino Pro is essentially parallel to the Fordham, but it has a much thinner shell, 800-fill down, and more of a mountaineer vibe. The Outdoor Research Stormcraft Down Parka offers the same down fill as the Fordham (700-fill), but it is protected by a dense GoreTex shell, so if you need something that is more resistant to precipitation, it may be the better choice.

Headed home after testing our Fordham in cold, snow, and wind -- Marmot 1, Mother Nature 0.
Credit: Jason Wanlass


Jason Wanlass