Marmot ROM - Women's Review
Cons: Tight shoulders, runs small, somewhat heavy
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Looking for a high-performing technical softshell that's ideal for winter alpine conditions and ice/mixed climbing? Then look no further than the ROM. This jacket does it all; it is highly wind and water-resistant but still breathable, moves with ease, and is great for a diverse array of activities and conditions.
With regard to weather protection, the brilliant Marmot ROM is one of the top performers in our review. It is incredibly wind-resistant, and given that it is a lined softshell, it is fairly warm as well.
This badass jacket also proved incredibly water-resistant in our shower-test, with only a minimal amount of dampness inside the jacket after 4 minutes in the shower. This is incredible, given that the ROM is not designed as a hardshell. That said, it does feature incredibly water-resistant and breathable Gore-Tex Infinium fabric on the hood, shoulders, and chest. Then the brilliant designers at Marmot taped the seams between all the fabric transitions to ensure weather protection for that the parts of your body that would be exposed to moisture in a storm.
The innovative design of the ROM explains why this wind and water-resistant jacket is also super breathable. The back, sides, and lower portion of the shoulders are made from a stretchy double weave polyester, which is ultra-breathable. Where the breathable polyester and GORE fabrics meet, the seams are taped to keep out even more moisture.
While the ROM does not feature any side-zip pit-vents, both hand pockets have a thin mesh on the inside for ventilation. The pockets are deep enough that you can keep them open for breathability without fear of losing the contents of your pockets.
The ROM (range-of-motion) features pretty great mobility as long as you order the next size up. It has angel-wing construction, which means you can reach high above while climbing without the bottom half of the jacket pulling up. This feature makes the ROM exceptional for climbing and would be even better if Marmot could dial in the fit.
Sadly, one of the best aspects of the ROM, the combination of breathable polyester and weather-resistant GORE fabrics, proved restrictive in the shoulders. This is because the GORE fabric (like many fabrics) stretches in one direction (up and down) but not the other (side-to-side). This translates into the shoulders feeling restrictive and tighter than they would have, had the fabric been oriented in the other direction. Once our reviewer was able to test the appropriate size, the shoulders were much more comfortable, while the rest of the jacket was then too big. Under a harness or over a jacket, this isn't an issue, but when the ROM was worn over a Patagonia R1, it looked/felt a little baggy. The hood fits comfortably over a climbing helmet to offer some additional weather protection should s!&@ hit the proverbial fan, and the hem-line stays put while climbing, something our reviewers consider essential for a climbing jacket.
In a size medium, the ROM weighs 15 ounces. While this certainly is not the lightest jacket in our review, it is not absurdly heavy either. If you are overheating on the way up a hike or climb, stashing the ROM in your pack shouldn't prove too cumbersome as it still weighs less than a third of a full 1-liter water bottle.
To assess versatility, we considered each jacket in terms of features, style, durability, and the array of activities and climates suited to each jacket. Being a technical softshell, the ROM is a bit too heavy and restrictive for warm days at the crag. Then again, cragging is not why this jacket was made in the first place. The ROM excels as a midlayer for ice climbing, spring alpine missions, and backcountry ski-touring, especially in inclement weather.
The ROM has an extensive array of features from the angel-wing construction, Gore-Tex fabric, helmet-compatible hood, and velcro-adjustable cuffs. The sleeves are compatible with both thin gloves and gloves that have a gauntlet that extends over the sleeves. There are four pockets — two of which are Napoleon-style harness accessible pockets — then one external and another internal chest pocket. Sizing up the ROM meant that the harness accessible pockets were not accessible on our shorter reviewer, something to keep in mind if you decide to go with this jacket.
For the price, you get a fairly awesome technical softshell that offers great weather protection while still being breathable and durable with decently good mobility. If you're looking for a wind- and water-resistant softshell that is perfect for ice climbing, backcountry or cross-country skiing, or spring mountaineering, then the ROM offers a great value for the price. Our only complaint about this otherwise well-designed jacket is that the shoulders are restrictive enough that we had to order a size up.
The Marmot ROM is a feature-rich technical softshell for all manner of alpine adventures. If you are looking for a jacket that is breathable enough for backcountry ski touring, but water-resistant enough for ice or alpine climbing — then this jacket might be ideal for you. It offers great mobility while climbing and has sufficient pockets for all that you need to access or carry.
— Mary Witlacil