The Marmot Flashpoint is made with Polartec Classic 100 weight fleece (100% polyester). While not the highest scorer, our Best Buy award winner still performed reasonably well for the price point, making it an excellent choice for those looking to save a few dollars. It has two hand warmer pockets with zippers, and it comes in four different color choices.
This lightweight fleece is a great layer to stay in your pack for chilly hikes out of the canyon at the end of the day after the sun has set.
This lightweight fleece is about as warm as the Rab Nucleus Hoody, which is to say, not that warm. It's made with a 100 weight fleece (100 g/m² material) and when compared to the 300 g/m² The North Face Denali 2 Jacket the difference is quite noticeable.
However, you don't always need or want a heavyweight fleece, and if you are in the market for a lightweight layer, then this is still a good option. It's one of the lightest models in our review (9.3 ounces in size small), and it packs down compactly. If you are looking for a summit layer for day hiking, you'll barely notice the Flashpoint in your pack, but might be glad to have it on a cold and windy summit or if a storm rolls in.
Even if you're setting out on a day hike on a warm day with no clouds in sight, it's always a good idea to pack an insulating layer along with a rain jacket. Mountain weather can change suddenly, and being prepared for all conditions is essential.
This lightweight fleece is not as warm as a mid or heavyweight layer, but sometimes you only want a thin jacket.
This fleece jacket is quite soft against the skin, and because it is so light, you'll barely notice that it is there.
The seams are made with a flat lock construction for a comfortable fit under a backpack or climbing harness. The fleece is not quite as cozy as the material on the Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover, but it still has that soft fleece feel we all love.
The hand warmer pockets are a cozy addition to this model. The fleece is soft against your skin as well.
This jacket did well at venting our perspiration mostly because the material is so thin. Other models, like the Patagonia R1 Hoody, have "fancy" constructions with gridded designs or baffles to help vent moisture. This one gets the job done without those extras, though it did come up a little shy of those jackets for breathability.
This is a better layer for throwing on at the summit, and not on the hike up. If you are in the market for something even lighter and more breathable, the Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody weighs 8.4 ounces and is highly breathable.
The Flashpoint scored very well for layering ability.
While this jacket has a tapered silhouette, it is still roomy enough to wear over a heavy base layer or sweater. In fact, we could wear it over most of the other light and midweight layers in this review. Because the material is so thin, when we layered it under a shell or even an insulated jacket it didn't feel too constricting. This kind of layering flexibility can be hard to find sometimes.
This jacket layers well over a base layer and under a heavier jacket. It is a little on the short side though and didn't work as well under a harness or hip belt as it tends to ride up a bit.
Ease of Movement
Here's how the Flashpoint scored compared to the other models for ease of movement.
The material itself is not quite as stretchy as some of the fleeces that are paired with elastane, and we noticed the difference when trying to climb in this model. With the body of the jacket secured under our harness, we didn't have as much freedom of movement as we did in the Patagonia R1 Hoody or the Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody. If you're looking for something to wear when doing activities that require a lot of range of motion in your upper body, like rock climbing, look for a model with elastane in the fabric mix.
Marmot replaced the thumb loops with nylon panels instead. The material has a bit of stretch to it but we didn't get the best range of motion.
While the Flashpoint doesn't have the grid channels or baffles that made some of the other models in this review so porous to the wind, the thin material did little to stop the wind from ripping through either.
When we sprayed it with a water bottle, the water beaded up but then immediately soaked through. The shoulder patches offer a little more protection there, but not much. If you need a fleece jacket that will give you some protection from the elements, the Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody - Women's is a great option. The North Face Denali 2 Jacket also provides more protection from the elements, thanks to its thicker material and larger nylon patches on the shoulders. Alternatively, you can buy a wind breaker jacket if you are looking for something to provide wind (and also light rain) resistance.
Water soaks right into and right through the thin fleece material.
Style & Fit
The style of this jacket is fairly basic. While it has a tapered silhouette, the standard fleece pile look has no extras going for it.
The updated version of this fleece has contrasting panels on the shoulders and sleeves, which give it a "techier" look. If you are in the market for a flashier looking option, check out the Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody or the Arc'teryx Covert Cardigan. We also preferred the retro styling of the Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover.
The raised fleece pile is not as stylish as a flat-faced fleece or a super fuzzy one.
The Flashpoint is a great jacket for stashing in your pack when you are not sure if you'll need an extra layer or not. It weighs only 9.3 ounces, and you'll barely notice it there. It's also a great piece if you love to layer, as this fleece works well both over other layers and under your outerwear.
The panels on the shoulder offer a little more protection from the elements and some abrasion resistance when wearing a pack, but the styling is a little too plain and also "techy."
This affordable fleece costs $99, which is about half the price as some of the other models in this review. As such, it is an easy pick for our Best Buy award. While it's fairly plain compared to some of the other technical jackets in this review, it still gets the job done. If you are looking for a warmer layer that is also affordable, check out The North Face Osito 2 jacket, which retails for $100.
We like the simplicity of the Marmot Flashpoint. It's a no-frills, lightweight fleece layer. If you're looking for an inexpensive fleece for times when you need some warmth but not too much, this jacket is a good bet. It layers well, and easily stuffs into a daypack, making it a great option to bring along even on days when the weather looks fine.