New Colors for 2016
In addition to Black and Magenta/Dark Purple (shown above), this jacket now comes in Arctic Navy (left) and Celtic/Dark Teal (right).
The Marmot ROM is a hybrid jacket that offers technical performance during high exertion activities by combining a windproof material with a very thin, breathable material under the arms.
The lightweight, breathable, and flexible qualities of this jacket make it perfect for winter aerobic activities such as cross-country skiing, running, and hiking. Here we test this theory in Telluride, Colorado.
Like other hybrid jackets, the Marmot ROM uses a combination of fabrics to create a unique protection layer with added temperature regulation. Marmot adds windproof material to M2 softshell that makes up the underarm panels and sleeve cuffs, and is thin, stretchy, and highly breathable.
The cuffs of the hybrid OR Enchainment (left) and Marmot ROM jackets. On the ROM the thin breathable material wraps all the way around the wrist and forms the cuff, while on the Enchainment the more weather resistant material constructs the cuff.
This does prevent sweat from building up inside the jacket, and allows for excellent temperature moderation during aerobic activities. The piece has wide swaths of the thin fabric that begin under the arms and reach all the way down the sleeves and completely around the wrists, forming the cuffs themselves. Overall, we find the ROM to be one of the most breathable pieces in our tests.
The dark blue under the arms is the thin and breathable Marmot M2 softshell, which enhances the performance of this jacket during high heat sports. The lighter blue main fabric is windproof Gore Windstopper.
With body-mapped Windstopper softshell material, this jacket is windproof in the areas that get hammered by the wind the most, which is the chest, back, and hood. However, if you are out in intense wind, the M2 softshell material lets wind whistle right through the underarms. The Windstopper fabric also adds a degree of water resistance. If you want a jacket like the ROM that is not a hybrid, the Mammut Ultimate Hoody- Women's is made completely of Windstopper and is also very lightweight.
The thin and lightweight nature of this jacket make it exceptionally flexible and mobile. It moves with the wearer and feels like a second skin. The only dock on mobility points came from the tight-fitting sleeves. If only wearing a tank top underneath, the sleeves are a perfect fit. If you try to layer with a base layer and a fleece underneath, the sleeves become uncomfortably restrictive. This is yet another indication that this jacket works best as a layer during aerobic activities, where wearing multiple layers underneath a shell is unlikely.
Testing the Marmot ROM while climbing. Though it is highly breathable, the tight and short fit of the jacket is not ideal for wearing with a harness, a helmet, and thick gloves.
Any jacket that is under a pound earns our approval, and this piece is the lightest in our entire test group, weighing only 0.85 pounds. This makes for an easy choice to toss in your pack when headed on a day hike or weekend camping trip. It won't weigh you down.
The hood on this jacket does not quite fit over a helmet and the thin stretchy material that makes up the adjustable sleeve cuffs do not fit well over most gloves. What does this tell us? This shell is not built for skiers or ice climbers, but is best suited to runners, hikers, and campers who have no need to wear a helmet or bulky gloves. The hem and helmet do adjust to seal out wind. Other than that, the feature list is simple: two mesh-lined hand pockets and a chest pocket.
The hood on the Marmot ROM doesn't quite fit over a helmet. It can stretch over one, but the rest of the jacket rides up, and the front zipper becomes impossible to close. The hood is better used over just a beanie or bare head.
Style & Fit
The look of this jacket is appealing. It is form-fitting and flattering, simple with fun colors, and just slightly techy. In our experience it runs small, and we recommend sizing up one size from your normal size unless you are looking for a tight-fitting jacket for running or biking. The sleeves are tight, and hard to layer underneath, while the length of this jacket is a little too short for comfort. It is much too short for wearing underneath a harness, and it rides up when arms are raised, making it not the choice for a climber. But for other activities where a close fitting jacket is desired, the ROM will do the trick.
Since it is ultra breathable and mobile, the ROM is best suited for aerobic activities in cool weather like running, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and cycling, where a form fitting layer that adds just a bit of weather protection is needed. Since this jacket isn't long enough to wear under a harness and the hood doesn't fit well over a helmet, this is not an ideal jacket for climbing.
Under $200 is a deal for a cool weather protection layer. Compared to our $350 Editors' Choice, the Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody - Women's, the ROM is a more wallet-friendly option. Other inexpensive softshells such as the Patagonia Adze Hoody - Women's offer more weather protection but aren't as flexible or comfortable.
If you like to keep up your aerobic routine during winter and need a little weather protection to keep you outside instead of on the treadmill, the ROM is an excellent layer. It employs a hybrid design, but with the focus of adding even more breathability and flexibility rather than increasing weather resistance, as with the other hybrid softshells we tested. We love the look and feel of this jacket, and could get accustomed to wearing it everywhere.