Hands-on Gear Review

Marmot Quasar Nova Hoody - Women's Review

This is a simple and lightweight jacket for general outdoor use in dry weather.
By: Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 23, 2018
Price:  $275 List  |  $149.97 at Backcountry - 45% Off
Pros:  Comfortable, lightweight, warm
Cons:  Wets out easily, less stylish and versatile
Manufacturer:   Marmot
63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Warmth - 25% 9
  • Weight - 20% 7
  • Compressibility - 15% 5
  • Features - 15% 5
  • Durability - 10% 5
  • Water Resistance - 10% 4
  • Style - 5% 5
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Our Verdict

The Marmot Quasar Nova Hoody is a lightweight, warm down jacket. The design is simple, and the look is distinctly outdoorsy—not much of an urban style crossover piece. We liked it a lot for cold rock climbing trips in the desert and found that it did not perform well in areas where we were at risk of getting a little wet. When we took it ice climbing, the cuffs wetted out quickly if we got any cold drips of water, and if the weather suddenly turned, the material did not resist wetting out very well at all. This is by no means a requirement of down jackets, but most are equipped with better water-resistant fabrics because down does not insulate when wet. Otherwise, this model is simple and has no frills, which is either a pro or a con depending on your needs.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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The Marmot Quasar Nova Hoody is a good all around jacket that doesn't way too much. It didn't stand out from the competition, but its overall performance was still above average.

Performance Comparison


The Quasar Nova is a simple  lightweight down jacket.
The Quasar Nova is a simple, lightweight down jacket.

Warmth


The Quasar is among the warmer jackets in this review, similar in warmth to the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody. This was its best category, scoring an impressive 9 out of 10, and was bested only by the Arc'teryx Cerium. This was a very warm jacket, especially for its weight. If that's your jam, we also loved the Arc'teryx Cerium.

The Quasar was warm  but it wet out too easily to gain our trust on ice climbing trips.
The Quasar was warm, but it wet out too easily to gain our trust on ice climbing trips.

Weight


The Quasar is impressively light for its warmth at 7 ounces. It nudged ahead of the Patagonia Down Sweater in this category but is otherwise very similar in style and function. The Quasar did very well in this metric, beat only by the ultralight Ghost Whisperer and REI Magma jackets.

Compressibility


The Quasar was in the middle of the pack in this metric. It was not the smallest but certainly far from the bulkiest. The jacket stuffs into its left-hand pocket and reveals a small carabiner clipping loop so you can clip it to the back of your harness for long rock climbs. We love this feature in down jackets. The shape of the stuffed package was a little long and awkwardly shaped, so it was not our favorite in this review, but we are happy it had the option.

Third from the top right  the Quasar was average for compressibility in this review.
Third from the top right, the Quasar was average for compressibility in this review.

The Quasar features 800 fill down which is some of the most compressible down available. For this reason, we gave it an average score of 5 out of 10. Marmot uses excellent down, but the design could be improved to display the benefit of such light and compressible down. The Marmot was not as compressible as some jackets in this review, especially the REI Magma and the award-winning Ghost Whisperer.

Features


The Quasar is a simple, straightforward down jacket. It has a chest pocket with zippered access from the front of the jacket, which we love. The hood was our other favorite feature: it was super comfortable both with and without a helmet. It uses a simple elastic band to keep it close to your face. The only downfall to the hood design is that it has no adjustable drawcords, which in turn limits the jacket's utility in inclement weather.

The Quasar Nova is a simple  lightweight down jacket.
The Quasar Nova is a simple, lightweight down jacket.

The Quasar does have an adjustable drawcord at the bottom hem, but there is another frustrating flaw with this design: The cord is pulled tight from the bottom of the main zipper. This creates a loop below where you join the two sides of the zipper to close the jacket, and on several occasions, we got one half of the zipper caught in the loop generated when we tightened the hem. That was just plain annoying. Most other jackets put these adjustment tabs on the sides of the jacket.

These drawstrings always got in our way when trying to zip up the jacket.
These drawstrings always got in our way when trying to zip up the jacket.

Overall, the features on the Quasar were a mixed bag: some great, some frustrating. We gave it an average score, 5 out of 10.

Simple and functional hood design  with or without a helmet.
Simple and functional hood design, with or without a helmet.

Durability


The Quasar is a durable jacket, made of rugged 20D woven baffle fabric. Our main concern about durability with this jacket is how easily it wets out. If the down gets damp often, this is going to reduce the life of the jacket—that down will get matted and clumped, which is damaging to the life of the loft. This was an adequately durable down jacket in this review, but there are a few that performed better; for lightweight jackets with higher durability, look to our award winners, the Arc'teryx Cerium or the Rab Microlight.

Water Resistance


This is the only category in which the Quasar fell below average. It did wet out more rapidly than the others in this review when we caught a few cold drips while ice climbing. In fact, it wets out pretty quickly and soaks right through to the down; this is a problem for the obvious reason: wet down does not insulate. But there is a second reason; down that gets we repeatedly tends to get matted, and this decreases the life of the down jacket. Eventually, the down will become damaged, and it will not loft as well as it once did. We were very unimpressed with the performance of the Quasar in this category, especially when compared to the competition. This was a weaker category for the Marmot jacket. For a jacket that is most similar to this one but provides more water resistance, check out the Rab Microlight jacket.

Comfortable cuffs  but they wet out quickly if water dripped on them.
Comfortable cuffs, but they wet out quickly if water dripped on them.

Style


The Quasar is a very basic down jacket. Marmot has chosen very nice colors, but otherwise, this is an unexciting jacket. It fits looser than other jackets of the same size, which is good for layering clothing underneath, but potentially less flattering. The baffles are all the same width, which is good for warmth but looks plainer.

Best Applications


The Quasar is a decent all around down jacket for camping, backpacking, climbing, and milder winter excursions. It is less versatile than many of the jackets in this review, but a strong competitor for most outdoor pursuits.

Value


At $275, the Quasar is on the higher end of average in this review. We don't think it's the best value because it was less versatile in our tests. The ease with which this jacket wets out makes us hesitate to spend this kind of money on this model.

Conclusion


The Marmot Quasar is a very light jacket for its warmth and sized big enough to fit insulating layers underneath. However, it was the most likely to wet out in light rain or on dripping ice climbs, and the water soaked through very quickly to the down. Otherwise, the features and style are average, with some desired improvements.

The Quasar  a warm and light jacket.
The Quasar, a warm and light jacket.

Lyra Pierotti

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