Marmot Fordham Review
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|Price||$162.48 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Durable, warm, super comfortable||Warm, long hem, comfortable hood, great features||Warm, lightweight, comfortable||Warm, weather resistant, durable||Inexpensive, warm enough, comfortable, stylish|
|Cons||Limited wet weather protection due to non-sealed seams||Bulky, faux fur hood is polarizing||Not that durable, minimal features||Not very breathable, limited color options||Not weather resistant, few features|
|Bottom Line||This jacket offers comfort, warmth and durability at an attractive price||A warm, stylish, and budget-conscious jacket for those in the coldest regions||A warm, comfortable, and lightweight down parka that is ideal for winter hiking and outdoor activities||A versatile and high-performance winter jacket with plenty of warmth and weather protection, at a great price||Warm, stylish, and inexpensive, this jacket gets the job done at a low price|
|Rating Categories||Marmot Fordham||The North Face McMu...||Rab Neutrino Pro||REI Co-op Stormheng...||Tommy Hilfiger Men'...|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Specs||Marmot Fordham||The North Face McMu...||Rab Neutrino Pro||REI Co-op Stormheng...||Tommy Hilfiger Men'...|
|Down Fill Power||700||550||800||850||Synthetic|
|Total Weight||2.75 lbs||3.55 lbs||1.38 lbs||1.94 lbs||1.84 lbs|
|Baffle Type||Sewn-through||Sewn-through under an outer shell fabric||Twisted arm baffle||Sewn-through under an outer shell fabric||Sewn through|
|Main Fabric||MemBrain 2L 100% polyester||DryVent 2L 100% nylon||Pertex Quantum||HydroWall 2L||100% Nylon|
|Hood||Yes (removable)||Yes (removable)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hood Adjustments||Adjustable drawcords||Rear drawcord||2 side drawcords, rear velcro||3-way adjustable||2 side drawcords|
|Pockets||2 zippered handwarmer, 1 flap chest pocket, 1 zippered internal media||2 chest height, zippered handwarmers, 2 exterior top-entry Velcro flap pockets, 1 sleeve, 1 interior media pocket, and 2 side-entry waist handwarmers||2 zippered hand, 1 internal chest||5 (2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 2 internal)||2 external hand, 1 zippered interior|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Fordham jacket from Marmot has its pluses and minuses. Compared to the best of the best, there is no real comparison. The Fordham is a budget product in a field led by no-holds-barred products. In the end, however, the performance is more than acceptable, and the price is a great bargain for what you get. As a comprehensive, full-function, all-around winter jacket, this jacket provides excellent value.
First, some background; jackets, no matter how much insulation you put in them and no matter what that insulation is made of, are not warm on their own. It isn't until a living human being gets inside that the warmth begins. The jacket's job isn't to make you warm; it is to keep you warm. Get in a jacket cold, and you'll still be cold. Generate heat, and have a jacket that holds that heat in, and you will be warm. The Fordham keeps your heat in with high quality, 700 fill power down insulation. Layering up is also a crucial step in keeping your body heat close.
The market describes down regarding how much space a given weight of down expands to. More volume per weight of down is better insulation value and is more packable due to compactness and lower mass. The scale of down that appears in modern jackets goes from 550 fill to about 1000. At 700 power, the insulation of the Fordham is near the middle. For a less expensive model than most, this is good down. It is not clear exactly how much down they put in, but anecdotal evidence suggests it is plentiful. For winter conditions anywhere short of the most arctic environments, the Fordham is warm enough.
Weather resistance in a winter parka is a function of design and materials. We look for waterproof shell material, sewn together in a way that protects the seams, with wrist, waist, and hood interfaces securable.
The Marmot falls short of the best weather resistance. The fabric is tight and water-resistant, but the jacket has numerous unsecured seams. In extended wet snow or rain, the Marmot wets through. The Velcro cuffs and generous hood block the wind, but the stitching is the first vulnerability. The good news is that most users of a jacket like the Fordham will minimize the time they spend in genuinely wet and windy conditions. The Fordham is plenty protective for sprinting to the car or walking to the bus stop.
Every tester's first impression of any jacket is its level of comfort. In that regard, the Fordham has nearly universal appeal. The heavy, hugging feel, the soft fabric, and the soft down fill combine to make a very comfortable jacket. Especially appreciated and unique in the field are the fleece-lined cuffs. Beneath standard Velcro closure shell cuffs are stretchy, "gasket" style cuffs that seal in heat and lend a very welcoming feel. The main drawback of the fleece cuffs is that gloves meant to be worn under the wrists of your jacket will not fit well.
It is fair to say that the Fordham was the most comfortable of the fully-featured jackets among the tested jackets.
The Fordham has just the right selection of features. The fleece cuffs mentioned above are welcome, the pocket selection is nice, the hand warmers are practical and fleecy, the hood is tight and removable. All in all, this jacket has an average selection of features.
Across this entire category, neutral styling is more common than any statement, and the Fordham follows suit. None of the products stand out in any ostentatious or obnoxious way. The styling is casual. The only thing about the Fordham worth commenting on is the shorter cut. Some like the shorter cut, while others prefer longer, typically warmer cuts.
Down insulation and heavy shell fabrics on the Marmot product combine to make a relatively long-lasting product. Our test did not last long enough to truly tax the construction and durability, but we are confident that our intense use and wear and tear have given all the jackets a run for their money. We had no issues with any construction or material attributes of the Fordhamduring this intense testing period. With down-filled jackets, a single tear can compromise the insulation.
With synthetically filled jackets, the puff power of the insulation degrades, sometimes alarmingly fast—the most durable jackets in our test use fleece insulation. For long-lasting warmth, the down insulation of the Fordham is just right.
Should You Buy the Marmot Fordham?
We have a lot of experience with jackets of all forms, and we were generally impressed with the functionality of the Marmot. By this point, the value of the Fordham should be self-evident. It provides excellent all-around performance at a fraction of the price of most of the top contenders. The Fordham is a great choice with its excellent materials, intelligent design, and reasonable price.
What Other Winter Jackets Should You Consider?
We like the Marmot and would choose this winter jacket for durability, warmth, and low price. However, it is not the most protective jacket we tested for this review. For the wettest conditions, look elsewhere to something like the Patagonia Tres. For all other winter use, the Fordham is just right.
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