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Marmot Highlander Hoody - Women's Review

A stylish mid-weight option that has the versatility to go from nordic skiing to drinks on the town for an attainable price
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Marmot Highlander Hoody - Women's Review
Credit: Kaylee Walden
Price:  $250 List
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Manufacturer:   Marmot
By Kaylee Walden ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 21, 2024
71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 17
  • Warmth - 30% 7.0
  • Comfort - 30% 8.5
  • Portability - 15% 6.5
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 5.0
  • Breathability - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Marmot Highlander Hoody quickly became one of our favorite jackets to wear, with adaptability that makes it a go-to for a variety of situations. While it lands towards the lightweight end of the down jacket spectrum and isn't the warmest option for sub-zero days and technical outings in harsh storms, it'll see you through most days of the winter, in most climates. Best of all, it comes with a much more palatable price tag than many other options, making it our choice for a solid best buy option for a high quality, stylish down jacket. See how it stacks up against the others in our women's down jacket review.
REASONS TO BUY
Fun colors
Packs well into the chest pocket
Less expensive than others
REASONS TO AVOID
Slightly boxy fit
Lacking adjustment in a couple of key spots
Poor water resistance

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Bottom Line A high-end jacket without the high-end price tag, this down jacket can take you from the trails to downtown in a pinchA solid and reasonably warm puffy that's more affordable but does come with some flawsSimple and straightforward, this low-loft down jacket packs away small and costs less than mostThis budget-friendly option comes in a ton of cute colors, has a removable hood, and packs down tiny for travelWith a low weight, it's easy to bring this coat along, but it lacks the durability, warmth, and convenience of other models
Rating Categories Marmot Highlander H... REI Co-op 650 - Wom... Wantdo Packable Hoody Lock and Love Ultra... Rokka and Rolla Ult...
Warmth (30%)
7.0
5.5
5.0
3.5
3.5
Comfort (30%)
8.5
7.0
5.5
5.0
5.0
Portability (15%)
6.5
7.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Weather Resistance (15%)
5.0
5.0
6.5
4.0
4.0
Breathability (10%)
7.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Marmot Highlander H... REI Co-op 650 - Wom... Wantdo Packable Hoody Lock and Love Ultra... Rokka and Rolla Ult...
Down Fill 700-fill down treated with 'Down Defender' 650-fill down 90% duck down 80% duck down, 20% duck feather 650-fill goose down, duck feathers
Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified? No Yes Yes No Yes
Outer Fabric 100% Recycled nylon and ripstop Recycled nylon, DWR finish 20D Nylon Taffetta Nylon Nylon
Weight (Size Small) 13.0 oz 9.9 oz 8.8 oz 10.0 oz 8.5 oz
Hem Type Straight hem; hip length Drop hem (small); hip length Straight hem; hip length Straight hem; short length Straight hem; hip length
Fit Standard Standard Standard Slim Slim
Pockets 3; 2 zippered hand pockets, 1 exterior zippered chest pocket 4; 2 zippered hand, 2 internal slip 4; 2 zippered hand, 2 interior stash pockets with media pass-through 4; 2 zippered hand, 2 internal slip 4; 2 zippered hand, 2 internal slip
Hood Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Cuff Construction Elastic Elastic Elastic Elastic Elastic
Adjustment Points Single hem bungee Dual hem bungees None Dual hood bungees None
Stow Option Packs into a pocket with an integrated carabiner loop No stow option Packs into an included drawstring stuff sack Packs into an included drawstring stuff sack Packs into an included drawstring stuff sack
Features N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Marmot Highlander strikes a nice chord between fashion and functionality, and is a good generalist down jacket for most climates and most body shapes. It has a generous, if slightly boxy fit and appealing, fun colors that help make your down jacket less boring. It's moderately stuffed with 700-fill power down, with a nylon and ripstop blend exterior that's supple, but not fragile. It has a straight-cut hem that's slightly longer than hip length and conveniently packs into a streamlined package in its own chest pocket, weighing in at 13 ounces.

Performance Comparison


marmot highlander hoody for women - on the go in the cold on a hike in the marmot highlander hoody.
On the go in the cold on a hike in the Marmot Highlander Hoody.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Warmth


While the Marmot Highlander didn't receive top marks for warmth, it provides enough insulation for most situations unless you're heading out in extreme cold. The 700-fill power down is on the lower end of average for jackets we tested, and it is a slimmer jacket than other mid-weight models in the lineup. There's some stiff competition in the warmth department, and while it's sufficient for most conditions, supreme warmth isn't necessarily the strong suit of the Highlander.


The hood, while not adjustable, has adequate coverage both with and without a hat or climbing helmet, but we'd love it if you could cinch it down to really batten down the hatches when it gets blustery. The high chin guard protects your face well, though we wish it had the added warmth and comfort of a fleece backer. The lack of a drop hem makes for less coverage compared to other jackets, but the single hem bungee does its job and keeps the bottom of the jacket in place. The elastic cuffs are comfortably snug and stay in place nicely to block the cold, even without adjustability.

marmot highlander hoody for women - while the highlander keeps us pretty warm in the cold, it's not the...
While the Highlander keeps us pretty warm in the cold, it's not the best for when the thermometer really drops or winds are high.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Comfort


The Highlander is an easy-going jacket all around, and the fit reflects that. It's a no fuss, casual fit that also allows for good mobility for activity without restriction. With its low profile, it would make a great midlayer under a shell or ski jacket. While it isn't constructed with any movement-specific features, it doesn't bunch or pull when we move dynamically. It has an almost silky, not plasticky feel, is comfortable against bare skin, and slides easily over thick sweaters and fleeces. The soft and malleable exterior makes it a pleasure to wear.


The slightly square, yet slightly hourglass fit will work for a wide range of body types. However, the fit is a bit relaxed, and those who are slim might have more extra space around the bottom hem than they'd like. We love that this jacket can be a bit of a shapeshifter: the higher hand pockets are still accessible with a pack or harness, the chest pocket can help stow extra snacks and essentials and the hood fits well over a helmet. But even with a handful of thoughtful technical features, you could easily wear this jacket to the coffee shop or the office without looking like you're about to head out on a mountaineering mission.

marmot highlander hoody for women - we love the bright (but not obnoxious) colorway of this jacket.
We love the bright (but not obnoxious) colorway of this jacket.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Portability


While the Highlander is not the lightest jacket on the list, it compresses quite well and packs conveniently into its chest pocket. This adds an extra touch of convenience. With other jackets that pack into a hand pocket, we always have to take a moment to remember exactly which pocket it goes into, and the Highlander takes the guesswork out of packing. When stowed, it's a streamlined package with a dual-sided zipper with a loop that could clip to a pack or harness if you wished. We didn't have to struggle to get it into its pocket, but there's also no space wasted when it's compressed.


At 13 ounces, the weight of the Highlander is more than we'd like for the warmth it provides. There are other options that provide a much greater warmth-to-weight ratio, and when counting every ounce on a big expedition, this isn't the jacket we'd choose. But, for frontcountry adventures, travel, day trips, and shorter, less demanding outings, the Highlander is still a good, packable jacket. It doesn't feel heavy to wear either.

marmot highlander hoody for women - the stowed-away highlander transforms into a nice, streamlined...
The stowed-away Highlander transforms into a nice, streamlined package ready to go into your pack or suitcase.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Weather Resistance


Lack of water resistance in the exterior fabric is perhaps the greatest weakness of the Marmot Highlander. In water tests and wet storms, precipitation began to soak into the outer fabric fairly quickly, especially in areas that rub, like beneath pack straps. Marmot doesn't claim the jacket to be wind or waterproof, so there are no illusions there. There are certainly better options if you're looking for true weather resistance in your down jacket. Ultimately though, being waterproof is not necessarily a down jacket's primary intent.

As far as wind resistance goes, we felt a bit getting in through the stitching between baffles in exceptionally frigid high winds. As previously mentioned, we wished that the hood was adjustable to help block out gusts on stormy days. Otherwise, its performance is acceptable for blocking out the weather, but not exceptional.


As long as the precipitation stays dry, the Highlander will sufficiently keep you cozy through moderate winter storms. While the exterior isn't DWR-coated, the interior down itself is treated with Down Defender, which claims to improve the resiliency of the down, speed up drying time, and make it more resistant to perspiration and precipitation. This wins the Highlander back a few points in the weather resistance metric.

marmot highlander hoody for women - the highlander is solid in dry precipitation like cold snow, but...
The Highlander is solid in dry precipitation like cold snow, but when the going gets wet, you'll unfortunately end up soggy in this jacket.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Breathability


Partially due to its thinner nature, and partially to its somewhat porous exterior fabric, the Highlander breathes quite well to keep on during medium output activities, and high output if it's really cold. The shorter hem and relaxed fit allow for good airflow. When hiking, ski touring or skate skiing in cold temperatures on early mornings, the Highlander did the trick for keeping us warm, but not too hot, while moving.


While we weren't exactly enthused when the Highlander let cold gusts sneak through the seams, the opposite was true when we heated up while hiking or skiing. The lighter weight construction and softer exterior fabric don't trap as much warmth as other jackets, allowing it to be more permeable when you need body heat to escape. In fan tests, we could feel a bit of extra permeability along the arm seam, allowing for a bit of underarm temperature regulation.

marmot highlander hoody for women - fan testing to find weak points and breathability potential of the...
Fan testing to find weak points and breathability potential of the Highlander.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Should You Buy the Marmot Highlander?


If you're looking for a highly technical, waterproof, or ultra-warm jacket--there are better options out there than the Highlander. It's not a particularly specialized jacket, but rather a generalized down layer for everyday, casual use that can perform on occasional adventures. For most people, especially those looking for a solid around-town, dog-walking, daily-driver down jacket, the Highlander is a good pick. Considering the price tag, it stacks up fairly well to competitors that will cost you nearly twice as much if you don't need all of the fancy features, extra-lofty fill, and increased water and wind resistance.

marmot highlander hoody for women - keeping warm when the snow flies in the highlander.
Keeping warm when the snow flies in the Highlander.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

What Other Down Jackets Should You Consider?


If you're looking for versatile warmth and solid weather protection while still being style-conscious, we continue to love the Arc'teryx Cerium year after year. For top-notch active insulation while shaving a couple of ounces, the Mammut Broad Peak IN Hooded is another go-to, with similar warmth but better weather protection than the Highlander. If you're looking for a truly cozy around-town jacket, we'd highly suggest the Feathered Friends Eos; the 900+ fill down and added heat retention are worth the extra bucks if you're living in a very cold climate.

marmot highlander hoody for women - we love the vibrant color block design of the highlander.
We love the vibrant color block design of the Highlander.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Kaylee Walden