Marmot Minimalist - Women's Review
Cons: Expensive, breathability, Velcro on the pockets is very abrasive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Marmot Minimalist is a 3 layer polyester Gore-Tex Paclite jacket with DWR coating and fully taped seams. It has dual storm flaps over a non-waterproof main zipper and features two hand pockets with storm flaps, an inner left chest pocket, velcro wrist cuffs, and single direction pit zips.
You expect a rain jacket to keep you dry in the rain. The Minimalist tags some serious asterisks onto that expectation with the actual performance of this jacket. After several minutes in light rain, the teal fabric was already visibly starting to soak up some water. After about an hour, that light rain was inside the jacket, making the parts of our bodies with the most exposure to vertical rain (namely forearms and tops of shoulders), wet. This is a disappointing performance from an otherwise fairly good-coverage jacket.
Aside from the lack of truly waterproof fabric, the Minimalist offers some decent coverage. Inner and outer storm flaps cover the main zipper, which is not waterproof. Storm flaps also cover the pocket zippers - also not waterproof. The hood has a good coverage hood with a wide brim and a single adjustment point on the back that does an excellent job shielding your face from vertical precipitation. While we like the coverage of this jacket, we're disappointed with its actual waterproofness.
This coat is comfortable to wear. The inside is silky smooth, and overall, it's less stiff and crinkly than many others we tested. Its sleeve and torso lengths are fairly comfortable to wear, though the sleeves could stand to be a touch longer to provide more protection while you move. A drop hem helps to keep you covered while you're out and about as well.
The non-waterproof zippers are easy to use and surprisingly manage not to get caught on either of the two storm flaps. The Minimalist's hand pockets are some of our favorites for casual use. The pocket itself extends behind the zipper, making the larger pockets that easily handle your favorite giant smartphone and help stop things from dropping out of your pockets while they're open.
Though Marmot advertises this jacket as "extremely breathable", compared to the others we tested, we find it to be about average. It's a bit thick to be really breathable but does feature 11" top-down pit vents for when you really need them. It does a decent job blocking the wind and keeping you warm on a cold day, though. We'd recommend it for lower-intensity activities, like walking the dog around the neighborhood.
Thick materials and thoughtful construction lend some credibility to the durability of this jacket. It's not made of ripstop material though, and some of the seams, while totally adequate, aren't quite as impressive as some other models we tested. It stretches slightly also, which adds to its comfort and durability. However, we question the "durably waterproof" claim by Marmot. It's to be expected that you'll need to reapply DWR finish to every DWR treated product throughout its life, but we expected better performance from the DWR treatment of a brand new coat.
Weight and Packability
This is another metric in which the Minimalist falls short of its name and the competition. It's one of the very few rain jackets we tested that doesn't pack into its pocket. And at 12.2 ounces, it's one of the heaviest shells we tested. You can, of course, roll it up into its hood, and with the single adjustment point on the back of the hood, this works reasonably well.
The Minimalist isn't one of the cheapest jackets we tested, yet offers fairly unimpressive performance. For its price (or less), you could pick up a much more waterproof jacket.
The Marmot Minimalist isn't minimal among its competitors. It's heavy, doesn't pack into its pocket, and has plenty of pockets and features that defy its name. The only way in which we feel that it's actually minimal is in the one way we don't want it to be - water resistance.
— Maggie Brandenburg