Marmot ROM 2.0 - Women's Review
Cons: Heavier weight, snug in the shoulders, pricey
Our Analysis and Test Results
Our review team was psyched to get our hands on the updated ROM 2.0, and we were certainly impressed by its performance in the field. This technical softshell strikes the ideal balance between weather resistance and breathability, which is what a good softshell should do. ROM stands for Range of Movement, and in terms of mobility, this jacket did not disappoint. While the shoulders were somewhat snug, our movement was never hindered while climbing or skiing in this jacket — making it a great option for all manner of alpine pursuits from backcountry skiing and winter mountaineering to alpine, mixed, ice, and rock climbing.
The ROM 2.0 amazed us with its weather resistance across various fronts. It shields well from the wind and provides noteworthy water resistance due to Gore-Tex Infinium fabric on the sleeves, hood, and chest.
Marmot really upped the water-resistance ante with the new design of the ROM by including taped seams throughout the jacket, which prevents moisture from seeping in at the seams.
In the field, we found this jacket handled snow quite well while backcountry skiing, and it kept moisture out while ice climbing. The parts of the jacket with Gore-Tex Infinium bead water well, keeping your head, chest, and arms dry. The hood is compatible with most climbing helmets, though it is not large enough for use with most ski helmets. This is an unlined softshell, so it is not the warmest jacket on the market (or in our review), but for most users, this is not the point of a softshell. A softshell is designed with weather resistance, mobility, and breathability in mind, and they are meant to be one part of a layering system. When paired with a mid-weight fleece and a base-layer, the ROM 2.0 handled all but the bitterest cold, and for ultracold conditions, we always keep a big puffy on hand anyway. If you're looking for a softshell that handles most weather conditions well enough to keep you moving in the alpine, this jacket is a great option for resisting wind, moisture, and, when paired with another layer, it will keep you protected from the bite of the bitter cold.
For a fairly weather-proof softshell, the ROM 2.0 is surprisingly breathable. This owes to Marmot's innovative use of fabrics. There is a breathable elastane fabric on the waist, underarms, and back of the jacket that enables breathability while moving, supplemented with Goretex Infinium to keep moisture out on the sleeves, hood, and chest.
We found that the ROM 2.0 was fairly breathable during aerobic activities on cold days or less aerobic activities on warmer but windy days. The pockets are lined with mesh, so for extra breathability, you can open up the chest and hand pockets to vent the jacket — as long as you don't need to stash anything in them. This is why this jacket is an excellent option for ice climbing, alpine climbing, ski touring, and snowshoeing.
ROM stands for Range of Movement, meaning that this jacket is designed with mobility in mind. Overall, it moved well because of the excellent blend of stretchy softshell material and weather-resistant Gore-Tex Infinium fabrics.
For the parts of the jacket where you would want greater weather protection (the hood, chest, and sleeves) Marmot used Gore-Tex Infinium; while the parts of the jacket where you need more stretch for movement (in the back and waist), the designers used a stretchy softshell fabric with extra elastane. In use, this meant the jacket moved well and did not ride up while climbing as much as some of the other jackets in our review. While the ROM 2.0 provides excellent all-around mobility, we found the shoulders to be snug for the size. Our lead reviewer is 5'8", with a slim athletic build, and typically wears a small, but she found the sleeves too constricting around the shoulders. Despite this, the ROM moved well enough for climbing, and the constriction in the shoulders wasn't an issue while moving. If you are between sizes, we might recommend sizing up.
At 14 ounces, the ROM 2.0 is on the heavier end of our review spectrum. That said, this layer packs a punch in terms of weather protection and breathability, so we think it is worth the extra weight. This is especially so because it breathes well enough that you'll be unlikely to want to take it off and stuff it into your pack except for the warmest days while ski touring.
To determine a jacket's versatility, we consider style, features, stow-ability, and the ideal uses for a particular model. In our minds, the ROM 2.0 proved to be a fairly versatile jacket as it is well-tailored, reasonably stylish (available in both bright and muted colors), and is both breathable and weather resistant.
Given its mobility, breathability, and weather resistance, the ROM 2.0 is an ideal jacket for ski touring, as well as ice, mixed, and alpine climbing. The sleeves include a velcro closure for fitting over gloves. This jacket would also be a great wind layer for bicycle commuting, peak bagging, snowshoeing, and hiking in moderately inclement weather. Given that it is not fully waterproof, we wouldn't recommend it for an all-out deluge, but it would provide adequate protection in snow, a light drizzle, or on wetter ice routes. That being said, it is among the heavier shells in our review, so if you're looking for an emergency rain or wind layer for monsoon season or warmer days in the mountains, you may want to look for something either more lightweight or more waterproof.
This is an excellent technical softshell best suited for alpine pursuits. If you're looking for a mid-layer that is breathable but weather-resistant and mobile enough to climb or backcountry ski, then this jacket is a reasonably priced option for all that it provides. However, it is not exactly cheap, so if you're looking for a summer wind-layer, you may be better suited by a less technical and less expensive model.
The ROM 2.0 earned top marks in nearly all our categories, making it an excellent softshell for technical backcountry activities in the mountains. It is also versatile enough to be a great wind layer for bike commuting or shoulder season hiking. We loved this jacket for being highly weather-resistant yet breathable enough for cold-weather aerobic activities like ski touring and alpine climbing and for providing a great 'range of movement.'
— Mary Witlacil
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More