The Marmot PreCip Full-Zip are time-tested and proven. This series has been around for a long time and has always been a popular, affordable choice. As such, these pants emerged as our Best Buy award winner. The PreCip full zip pants are a true all-around rain pant. They are light and packable enough for backpacking, but rugged enough to withstand some glissading (at least a few times, on soft snow). We would take these on winter camping trips in milder climates, like those of the western U.S. These pants are a Jack- or Jill-of-all-Trades, Master-of-None. As such, they make a great first rain pant for your first backpacking or summer mountaineering adventure. They won't break the bank, but they'll keep you relatively comfortable and seal out any precip.
The full side zippers allow you to put these pants on over any footwear and remove them when the sun comes out. They are durable enough for everyday use, like walking the dog. These pants, as such, help you get out every day, despite the rain. They aren't the best for higher aerobic activities, like running, but hiking and walking are an excellent choice, as well as summer mountaineering.
The 2.5 layer NanoPro fabric from Marmot has micropores which keep water out but allow for air exchange, improving breathability. The new structure is 30% smaller than previous generations. These pants to be excellent in the rain. The zippers all have flaps over them to keep water out instead of taped waterproof zippers. This is not our favorite design, because water can drip under these flaps, but in the field, this did not prove to be a big problem.
Realistically, the biggest problem with this design is the extra weight it adds to the garment. As a 2.5 layer rain shell, these pants have the benefit of that lighter style of waterproof fabric—however, it comes with a slightly clammier feel on the inside. This makes breathability and venting a vital component of 2.5 layer rain shells.
The relaxed fit of the PreCip makes them versatile.
Comfort & Mobility
The PreCip pants were a highly versatile pant. We love full zip pants because they can be put on over any footwear—even skis! These are not the best ski pants, but because of the full zip, you could head off on a spring ski tour and take these along in case the weather turns—and rest assured that you won't have to change your footwear to get these pants on.
These pants have a relatively straight, relaxed fit. They are best for moderate activity levels, like hiking, where you're not turning your legs over too fast for the material around the ankle to flop around. This also makes them easier to fit over a broad range of pants: you can slide them over your running tights, hiking pants, or climbing pants. They also can work relatively well for summer mountaineering when layered over a base layer or fleece pants—combined with the venting options provided by full side zips, these can allow for a relatively mountain-ready layering situation.
The excellent versatility offered by full side zippers on the PreCip.
The cuffs have adjustable elastic draw cords to keep the legs tapered and help seal the pants around your shoes. This helps keep the pants in place for hiking and keeps the material out of the way while you're walking in the rain.
The waist is elastic with velcro to hold the two halves together when unzipping.
The waist is a very stretchy elastic band with velcro tabs on either side so you can fully unzip the pants on both sides. There is no drawcord to further adjust or secure the fit—this would be impossible with pants that entirely separate in two places, of course.
Breathability & Venting
The 2.5 layer NanoPro Membrane has pores that are too small to allow water through but allow the free exchange of air. This ensures decent breathability. With this newest generation, those pores are now 30 percent smaller.
But if this breathability is not enough, the full zips also provide many venting options. The best venting would be with both zippers unzipped around the thigh. If you unzip too close to the waist, the small velcro tab that holds the waist together is not the strongest to keep everything together.
One venting option from the PreCip.
Due to this breathability, we did find that these pants did not provide as good of a wind block as many of the other pants in the review. This could be a pro or a con depending on what you're looking for and how you will be using the pants.
At 6.5 ounces for a small pair of pants, the full zip PreCip is an impressive blend of features, versatility, and light weight. It was most impressive to us that they could be so light and still have full-length zippers on both legs. It gets a relatively high 7 out of 10 in this metric because of this balance. It is in the mid-range of weights in this review, so with such a full suite of features, they strike an impressive balance.
We like lightweight pants as well because they feel lighter and more mobile when wearing them, too. It's great to have lightweight gear when it's in your pack, but it also feels good to wear it.
No stow pocket, but these are plenty packable.
These pants are certainly packable enough to earn a spot in your backpacking pack. They offer a lot of features that make them easy to use in the backcountry, and they are comfortable and light enough, too. They were not the most compact in this review, for the lightest and most compact rain pants, check out the Outdoor Research Helium.
As an all around, mountain ready, affordable, packable rain pant, the Marmot PreCip are an excellent choice. They won't take up too much space in your backpack. But these are not the layer you would choose for mountain running, the *OR Helium* is much less bulky.
The PreCip is second only to the features of our Editors' Choice winner, the OR Aspire. Our first and favorite feature is the full-length zippers. This means you can put them on and take them off no matter what you are wearing on your feet. You can even wrangle them on under a harness, without taking the harness off.
The zippers are not waterproof; rather, they are covered with a rain flap. This adds weight, so it isn't our favorite feature. We also prefer waterproof zippers because there is no flap for water to drip behind.
The cuffs have a cinching drawcord.
The pants have two zippered hand pockets, but no stowing option. This is not a big issue for us—we don't often feel the need to stow rain pants in their pocket, but it can be a good feature to protect the material when packing with dirty or sharp objects. Overall, however, garments are easier to pack loose than if they are packed into a ball—so we just stuffed the pants in any of the tiny spaces in between the other things in our backpacks.
Two hand pockets complete the PreCip.
The cuffs have an elastic drawcord that cinches them tighter around your shoes, and a secure button to keep them zipped when walking.
The NanoPro material is not as durable or rugged as the *OR Aspire* or the *Arc'teryx Beta SL*. These are, therefore, not as mountain ready as those two Editor's Choice and Top Pick winners. This is partially due to the wind blocking ability of the Aspire and Beta.
The sleek surface of the PreCip fabric allows these pants to avoid abrasion. They hold up surprisingly well to glissading and have been a go-to for general purpose summer mountaineering for us for many years. These pants hold up to abuse, though they may not be up for the rigors of bigger mountains or colder winter activities. They would, however, be an excellent choice for mild winter backcountry camping trips.
These pants are our Best Buy winner. They have an impressive range of features with a surprisingly low price. They're not the most durable pants on the market, but for the price, you won't be worried about destroying them on your rugged mountain adventures. That said, you'll have a relatively hard time retiring these pants from regular use—in our experience, they just kept on performing. The pants last a long time, giving a great return on your investment, and allowing you to explore new activities without breaking the bank.
The Marmot PreCip Full Zip pants are an incredibly versatile rain pant. If you had to find some sort of weather resistant pant for a broad range of adventures but didn't want to spend Arc'teryx prices, these will likely be good enough. These are an excellent first rain pant that will expand in usefulness to a broad range of activities, buying you time to decide if you would use rain pants or hardshell pants enough to justify buying a more expensive pair.
The highly versatile double zippers on the PreCip.