Marmot Chelsea Down Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Warm, waterproof, breathable, windproof, knee-length, removable hood/faux fur trim.
Cons: Baggy, fabric makes noise when wearing it, wrinkles easily.
Our Analysis and Test Results
This jacket is made with Marmot's two-layer "MemBrain" waterproof material. It is insulated with 700-fill-power down, and has a removable hood with a faux fur ruff (which is also detachable. It weighs 2.6 pounds and comes in Black, Steel Onyx (silver), and Port Royal (maroon) color options.
This was one of the warmest parkas we tested. It's insulated with 700-fill-power down, and though it has a loose fit in the underarms, chest and waist, it still managed to keep us warm. Fleece around the collar and cuffs add extra warmth, and make being outside more enjoyable. The insulated hood also added warmth, particularly in stormy weather.
This jacket did a great job of blocking wind and repelling precipitation. Its knee-length cut, combined with Marmot's MemBrain waterproof fabric, allowed us to stay outside for an extended period of time in bad weather. The detachable hood is form-fitting and won't come off in stormy weather. The faux fur trim helped keep our face protected and managed to maintain its stylish structure even in wet weather. The adjustable cuffs also offer extra protection, and help you seal out wind and snow. While this jacket maintained its waterproofness better than the Mountain Hardwear ZeroGrand Metro Coat or The North Face Arctic Down Parka, but it fell short behind our Top Pick for Wet Climates, the Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka - Women's.
This parka definitely has some stylish features, like the faux fur ruff around the hood, but there were a few things about it that we did not like. The loose fit appears baggy and not as stylish as the form-fitting Arc'teryx Patera Parka or the Canada Goose Kensington Parka. We would love to see this parka with more of a tailored fit or cinched waist. Also, while the smooth polyester fabric looks great, it is very noisy. When moving around in this jacket we were constantly distracted by the crinkly sound of the fabric. The fabric itself also wrinkled easily, giving it an unflattering look. While the technical features of this jacket were great, it was ultimately its lack of style points that caused it to drop out of award contention for us.
This was also not the most comfortable jacket we tested. It's possible to wear an extra layer (or two!) under this jacket without feeling constricted, but the baggy fit and crinkly fabric detracted from its overall comfort. The fleece-lined pockets did add comfort and warmth on a cold day. The interior down is cozy, but not as thick and plush as the Downtown Loft or the Marmot Montreaux.
The MemBrain waterproof fabric and 700-fill-power down are the spotlight features for this parka, and we stayed warm and dry in this knee-length model. The zippered exterior pockets lined with fleece offer extra protection and warmth, and an internal media pocket kept important items safe and dry from the elements. Fleece-lined cuffs added extra warmth and protection, but they were cold and annoying once they got wet. The adjustable cuffs on the exterior of the sleeves can be tightened, preventing the knitted cuffs from getting wet.
This parka did a great job withstanding the elements, and everything about it seems well-constructed, from the taped seams to the detachable hood. Our main qualm with this model is the exterior fabric, which initially looks clean and smooth but is easily wrinkled and very noisy.
This parka works well for a cold and wet winter climate. It's also a good choice if you prefer a roomier fit to your jackets, perhaps for layering underneath.
For $380 you get a winter jacket that's waterproof and warm, which is a pretty good deal compared to some of the other jackets that we tested. (It's half the price of our Editors' Choice winner, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka.)
Overall, the Marmot Chelsea Down is a great winter jacket. It is waterproof and warm, and can handle even the stormiest winter weather. Unfortunately, it's not as form-fitting as we like our jackets to be, and there are a few other weird details that made it drop in our scoring, but it does allow room for extra layers and that might be just what you're looking for.
— Liz Williamson