The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Marmot Minimalist Pant - Women's Review

Simple but lack versatility
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $165 List | $118.87 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Simple, excellent Gore-Tex Paclite
Cons:  Difficult to don, slimmer fit snug for layering
Manufacturer:   Marmot
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 12, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 10
  • Water Resistance - 25% 8
  • Comfort and Mobility - 20% 3
  • Breathability and Venting - 20% 5
  • Weight - 15% 5
  • Packed Size - 10% 7
  • Features - 5% 4
  • Durability - 5% 6

Our Verdict

The Marmot Minimalist pants are aptly named. They are a simple, streamlined rain pant made of Gore-Tex Paclite material, which is one of our favorites. It is only a 2-layer shell material, but we often trust it like burlier fabrics. These pants look like a nice pair of slacks with a zipper and button fly and a very short ankle zipper. This makes them challenging to don in a hurry, which is our main complaint. If, however, you're looking for a shell pant for summer mountaineering and you want a lightweight shell to protect against alpine winds when you're climbing through the night, and you intend to put them on over a thick pair of fleece pants or long underwear for the full day climb, then these might be great for you.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Marmot Minimalist pants walk well with you if you don't have thick layers underneath.
The Marmot Minimalist pants walk well with you if you don't have thick layers underneath.

Water Resistance


The Gore-Tex Paclite material in the Minimalist pants shines as bright as ever. This is one of our favorite products from Gore-Tex, as it masterfully blends lightweight breathability with reliability and durability that we trust for many of our summertime mountaineering objectives. Marmot is wise to choose this material. Otherwise, there isn't much to these pants; they're quite simple. They have two hand pockets with waterproof zippers and ankle zippers with a storm flap. The solid, smooth fabric ensures less possible leak points because there are less zippers to leak! The seams of the articulated knees are also taped, ensuring long-term reliability.

Marmot did not skimp on the material of the Minimalist pants: We love Gore-Tex Paclite!
Marmot did not skimp on the material of the Minimalist pants: We love Gore-Tex Paclite!

Comfort and Mobility


On their website, Marmot advertises that the ankle zippers on these pants "make it easy to layer over other heavy-duty snow or hiking pants for additional warmth and protection." We are glad they stay in their lane on this one; typically, we want rain pants to have zippers long enough to allow us to don them over our shoes or boots. These pants make it difficult to even get them on over our minimalist running shoes.

These pants run a little small, so they are best layered over slim-fitting technical pants and not your comfortable jeans or insulated pants. This underlines a little more misleading information from Marmot; for those of us with athletic thighs, these are likely to be a little snug to get on over insulated snow pants. That said, if you don't need a lot of insulation, these are a nice shell pant to wear over your thermals or tight-fitting stretch fleece pants. This is one of our favorite combinations for spring and summer mountaineering. These pants, in addition to mid-weight softshell hiking pants and light to mid-weight thermal pants give you many layering options for midsummer climbs of peaks like Mt. Baker or Mt. Shasta.

We like that these pants are designed like, well, a regular pair of pants. Some rain pants have complicated side-zipper situations or just a simple stretchy hem. But the Minimalist pants look almost like a pair of dress pants (when they're brand new), with a front fly zipper and sleek zippered hand pockets. This made them easier to manage on hiking and climbing days when we had to, ahem, use the facili-trees.

The main downfall of the Minimalist pants: Putting them on. With the tiny ankle zippers  these were not easy to don in a hurry.
The main downfall of the Minimalist pants: Putting them on. With the tiny ankle zippers, these were not easy to don in a hurry.

Breathability and Venting


The Minimalist pants are made of 2-layer Gore-Tex Paclite technology, which we love. This is one of the lightest shell materials we have tested that we would trust on mountaineering objectives. The Paclite is also much more breathable (and lightweight) for similar reliability in inclement weather. We like these pants for more moderate temperature adventures.

The ankle zippers on the Minimalist pants are also minimal  making them difficult to put on over even light running shoes. They also do not provide any venting like some other more cleverly designed side zippers.
The ankle zippers on the Minimalist pants are also minimal, making them difficult to put on over even light running shoes. They also do not provide any venting like some other more cleverly designed side zippers.

That said, we don't recommend them for high-output aerobic activities, as they have no vents whatsoever. Even the pockets are made of solid fabric, so those don't double as emergency vents. But for all-day activities in cool climates with reliably wet weather, these will be a comfortable all-day pant.

Weight


The Minimalist pants are simple and lightweight. Other models combine more useful feature sets or designs, which make them more versatile. A size small weighs nine ounces, which is just a little heavier than pants with a similar audience in mind. But these will not weigh you down exorbitantly if you choose to take them on a big climb or backpacking trip.

The Minimalist pants are very light and compact enough to make them a reasonable companion on backpacking and climbing trips where weight matters--so long as you're not troubled by how difficult they are to put on in a hurry and layer over warmer pants.
The Minimalist pants are very light and compact enough to make them a reasonable companion on backpacking and climbing trips where weight matters--so long as you're not troubled by how difficult they are to put on in a hurry and layer over warmer pants.

Packed Size


The Minimalist pants don't have a stash pocket, but we're not really sure why rain pants have those. It's nice to keep them protected when we throw the pants into another bag, but most of the time we are stuffing our rain pants in a backpacking or mountaineering backpack, cramming them in with all of our other gear, and trying to take the smallest backpack possible. To pack efficiently, it is not wise to pack blobs of clothing; just stuff one leg down the side of your overstuffed backpack, squish the other leg on top, cinch the backpack shut, and go!

These pants are relatively lightweight, made of Gore-Tex Paclite, and do not have many extra features. This makes them very packable and a logical and wise decision to take on your next backcountry adventure.

Features


These Minimalist pants are certainly that: Minimal. They have a very clean appearance with just a smooth, continuous piece of Gore-Tex PacLite along each leg (which means no vents). The fabric is highly breathable, so this doesn't count against the design of the pants. There are zippers at the end of each leg, which rise only as high as our lower calf. This was very disappointing. This small leg opening made it difficult to get these pants on and off over our minimalist running shoes; this is not ideal when the sky cracks open, and you're about to get drenched.

The pants also have two hand pockets with waterproof zippers, reliable enough for most things but maybe not your expensive smartphone.

The Minimalist pants feel like a nice pair of slacks  complete with silky hand pockets and a zipper and button fly.
The Minimalist pants feel like a nice pair of slacks, complete with silky hand pockets and a zipper and button fly.

The waist has an elastic back and a zipper and button fly. The bottom zippers have a button at the bottom to keep them closed, as well as an elastic cord to cinch them tighter around your ankle. They do not, however, have a shoelace hook or loops to secure your DIY gaiter cord at the bottom of the legs, which help keep the pants secured around your ankles. We often appreciate either/both of these features, so this detracts from their all-mountain versatility. You would not want to posthole in snow wearing these pants because the legs would just ride up and snow would fall into your boots.

Durability


These are lightweight, minimal rain pants which edge into all-mountain versatility. They are made of Gore-Tex PacLite, which we trust on moderate midsummer mountaineering objectives. This is a tried-and-true fabric for a wide range of wet weather uses. The pants are otherwise very simple and well made; there is really not much there to fail. They are not the most versatile, but if they are the right fit for your purposes, they will keep you dry and mostly happy on a lot of wet weather adventures.

The articulated knees make the slim fit of these pants more comfortable in motion  and reduces strain on the material.
The articulated knees make the slim fit of these pants more comfortable in motion, and reduces strain on the material.

Value


The Minimalist pants from Marmot are made of high-quality materials with little to fail. They are not the most versatile, but if they fit your needs, they'll be a good value. If you're looking for something more featured and versatile, you'd be wise to steer toward other similar products, even if they cost a little more.

The Minimalist pants don't score well for versatility  but they do cinch well around mountaineering boots  if that's something you're looking for.
The Minimalist pants don't score well for versatility, but they do cinch well around mountaineering boots, if that's something you're looking for.

Conclusion


While the Minimalist may not be the ideal all-rounder, these rain pants edge into a variety of terrain. These are made of Gore-Tex Paclite, an excellent blend of lightweight durability that is adequate for use on mountaineering objectives in moderate summertime climates. The fit does not allow for a lot of adjustability or versatility either, but if you plan to wear them all day for a low-level aerobic activity, they will be reliable and comfortable.

The Marmot Minimalist: Our wet-weather fancy pants.
The Marmot Minimalist: Our wet-weather fancy pants.

Lyra Pierotti