Marmot updated their Minimalist line this year. The women's jacket appears to have some updated seamlines and is now missing the snap at the bottom of the zipper. The materials are the same across both models, and the weight has remained roughly the same, too. Below, the new model is shown first, then the model we tested is shown second.
We're testing out the new version and will release our findings when we're finished. For now, the text below refers to the previous model.
Hands-on Review of the Minimalist
The Marmot Minimalist is made of GORE-TEX PACLITE material and has two hand pockets and pit vents. It's made of 2.5 layers, and its lack of features (not its size and weight) makes the "minimalist" name stick.
The Minimalist will have you jumping for joy on light rain days when you won't be partaking in too big of an aerobic day.
The Minimalist comes equipped with a GORE-TEX PACLITE material. As with any GORE-TEX textile, you expect complete water resistance, and this jacket performed well, even during the heaviest of downpours. However, we are unimpressed with this pocket design, which led to many a wet wallet and even a fully soaked phone, all while fully stowed in the zippered pocket. The front zipper does come equipped with a storm flap to cover the virtually non-waterproof main zipper, but with high winds and rain, this has the potential to let you down and become a spot for some serious leaks.
Fully equipped with 2.4 layers of super water-resistant Gore-Tex with Paclite Technology.
Finding a rain jacket that is remarkably water-resistant and comfortable can be a challenge. While the Minimalist isn't an uncomfortable jacket, it just isn't particularly impressive in the face of some seriously upgraded competition. With the material being comprised of GORE-TEX, which can sometimes be cumbersome and have a crunchy feeling, it's slightly softer than some other GORE-TEX competitors, but just not outstanding. It has a slim fit, which is specifically designed for women, and most of our testers agree that it is fairly flattering. One problem that we encountered is that the Velcro that closes the pockets is overly abrasive and continuously snags base layers and scratches hands.
Although the Velcro is a nice addition to try and keep the rain out of the non-waterproof pockets, the Velcro closures were very abrasive and caused snags on our base layers while using them.
If you're looking for a fully waterproof jacket that also can breathe and keep you dry and cool, all while performing your favorite high-octane sport, this is not it. The polyester-based Minimalist always seems to acquire a lot of perspiration on the inside. Even on some shorter hikes that aren't overly difficult, our base layers became saturated. For a garment that's supposed to keep you dry, we struggled with this one. The pit zips help a bit, but they're no match for this relatively unbreathable fabric.
The Minimalist is fully loaded with GORE-TEX PACLITE fabric. Combined with a 100% recycled polyester that includes a DWR coating, this is the one place where the Minimalist is a solid competitor.
The Minimalist, although very simple in design, was one of the heaviest in the review, weighing over 12 ounces.
Weight and Packability
While we expected a coat with a name like the Minimalist to be lightweight and packable, this jacket is disappointingly neither. Weighing 12.6 ounces, this rain shell is one of the heaviest options we tested. We're also surprised that this jacket doesn't pack away into one of its pockets like many others do. We honestly feel a little mislead by the name of this jacket.
The Minimalist lacked a stow pocket which held true to its minimal nature but didn't stand out when it came to packed size.
With a surprisingly high price tag but a fairly low overall performance, we don't think this jacket has the value of most of its competitors.
Though it sounds like a solid jacket on paper, we found that this rain jacket just doesn't hold a candle to its many competitors. Its name reflects only a lack of features that we think it fails to make up for with functionality in a category that includes some serious competition.