Marmot Montreaux Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Seriously warm, flattering, removable faux fur ruff, double sided zipper, functional pockets
Cons: No front snaps, not as warm when compressed, not waterproof
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Insulated with around 221 grams of high-quality (700-fill), water-resistant down, the Montreaux doesn't waste much of your hard-earned body heat. Weighing 2.2 lbs, it's not objectively light. But it never feels heavy either, unless it's soaking wet, so avoid that. The evenly distributed down makes for a cute jacket that was every tester's favorite.
This jacket is by far the warmest option we tested. The thick, plush down makes frigid weather seem downright pleasant. It's 700 fill-power down is light and lofty, meaning that it captures lots of air to insulate you from the cold. It's approximately 221 gram down fill-weight (fill-weights vary for each size) means you've got a lot of high-quality feathers wrapped around you, from the top of your head to your knees.
A light but plush fleece liner wraps around your core, cutting wind and holding in even more warmth. All this makes the Montreaux so warm and cozy that we wanted to head outside on frigid nights. And we love excuses to look at the stars or stroll around downtown after dinner.
The hood is also insulated with light, fluffy features, keeping your head and ears toasty. The synthetic fur ruff hovers at a great distance from your face, effectively blocking wind without killing your peripheral vision. The fur is removable for warmer weather or for those that don't like its style. We love its function. In whipping winds and snowy weather, it keeps our faces noticeably better protected.
The fleece-lined torso offers instant warmth while your body works to warm up air pockets in the down layer. It also keeps your back warm when the Montreaux's down is compressed, like when you're sitting on a bench. Unfortunately, there's no fleece around your bum. When you sit on the jacket and crush the down, you lose warmth. Some online reviewers complain that it can be cold to sit on a park bench. We were more often standing or walking but did notice this on occasion. On the plus side, while our bum and hamstrings got chilly, our quads were happy as could be.
Microfleece also lines the exterior pockets, the collar, and the cuffs. The pockets tuck behind the down insulation, so you're hands stay as toasty as the rest of you in this winter jacket.
The Montreaux is water-resistant, but not waterproof. It has two defenses against rain, sleet, or wet snow. The first is a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment on its polyester face fabric. The second is a Down Defender treatment that helps its feathers resist losing their loft and thus their insulating properties when wet.
Water initially beads on the DWR treated exterior and rolls off. After extended exposure to moisture, or in heavy rain, water seeps into the fabric. Here, the treated down resists it for a time. Eventually, the jacket gets pretty soggy.
Still! It did surprisingly well in our shower test. After standing under the driving water for four minutes, only our thighs were noticeably wet. Water also splashed through the zipper a bit, despite the storm flap behind it. The splashing was very minimal. This jacket does not excel in truly wet weather, but it does buy you some time in a sudden downpour.
If you can imagine wearing a stylish, cute sleeping bag around town, that pretty much sums up the Montreaux. Keeping us so warm goes a long way to keep us comfortable, but so does a jacket's cut, weight, and soft little details. It's not technically a light jacket, but it's so airy that it feels like one. The high-quality down also compresses easily, so the coat never feels bulky. It moves well and rarely feels restrictive despite its knee-length.
The jacket is a little snug for our shoulders, which range from broad to standard issue. The thicker the layers you're wearing underneath, the more pronounced the problem. It's still subtle. It's only an actual issue when you're crossing your arms to point in opposite directions. So avoid that. The rest of the cut works well, with the lower half of the coat forming a slight bell. The flair never restricts your stride even when the jacket is zipped down to your knees. If you need more range of motion, for lunges say, you can widen the hem thanks to a two-way zipper.
The exterior pockets sandwich your hands in microfleece, and it's terrific. They are also a comfortable size and height for your hands, which is, sadly, not a given. You can even sit down with a phone or wallet in these pockets without much discomfort, which is a nice bonus. The torso, collar, and cuffs are also lined with microfleece and offer soft support that helps us face cold and stormy weather.
This warm and lofty parka somehow manages to look sleek and fitted. The knee-length cut and faux fur ruff manage elegance, and the satin finish looks clean and sophisticated. Chevron baffling draws flattering lines.
We're still not sure how a down stuffed, objectively shapeless parka hangs so well. It almost drapes, if puffy baffles can do such a thing. We think it may be the high quality down, which keeps you warm with a bit less bulk. Whatever the magic is, we like it. Whether tucked away beneath the fur-lined hood and zipped to our knees or flung open during a spring melt, we always feel a little bit of movie star spark in this subtle stunner.
Fur ruffs, faux or otherwise, aren't for everyone. We used to have mixed opinions about them. After learning how functional they are in cold and snowy weather, we forget that not everyone likes the look. You can always unzip it if it's not for you.
The faux fur ruff around the hood is removable, as is the hood itself. Both zip off easily, though figuring out how to zip the ruff back on can be a brainteaser. We hear those are good for you. Fleece features seem to be a theme with this jacket, with microfleece exterior pockets, cuffs, and collar.
As we've discussed, the two front pockets are fleece-lined and great for hands or valuables. There are also two interior media pockets. One has a zipper. The other is a drop pocket, with no zipper, Velcro, or snap to secure it. Both are big enough for smartphones, and the combination is excellent. Since we reach for our phones often, it's great to grab it without scrapping past rough zipper teeth. And the drop pocket is deep enough that a phone can't easily escape. We can zip credit cards into the other one and be ready to hit the town.
The jacket also has a two-way zipper for mobility. The knee-length can make giant steps or lunging challenging, unzipping it from the bottom gives you as much room as you need. Many online reviews complain that starting the zipper is tricky since it's down around your knees. We learned to pull the hem up to our waists to get the zipper started.
We do wish this jacket had a storm flap outside the zipper with snaps or buttons. It's a handy way to pull the jacket on in a flash. We love snapping a few buttons instead of futzing with zippers, even if they aren't that hard.
Some online reviewers mention that their Montreaux lost down feathers at an alarming rate. Over the two years, we've tested this jacket, we've had an issue. But it's worth keeping an eye on. DWR coatings wear off over time. If this feature is important to you, you can reapply it at home. Most versions are still somewhat toxic. So be sure to read about how to handle them properly.
We did inflict one tiny tear in the polyester, which is less robust than many fabrics on competing jackets. It happened when our lead tester packed the jacket in a ski bag to cushion her gear. So, maybe, don't do that. If you do, a piece of duck tape or a cute NOSO patch will have you fixed up in no time.
For the price, this insanely warm jacket is a steal. It looks good, keeps you cozy, and should last for years if you take good care of it. This jacket is a rare Editors' Choice that could also earn a Best Buy nod.
The Marmot Montreaux is one impressive parka. It's exceptionally warm and comfortable while maintaining a flattering look. Despite its lack of waterproofness, the water-resistant fabric and down still perform well in snowy weather. It's our favorite winter jacket to wear when bopping around town or milling around the tailgate for apres-ski beers or meteor showers.
— Clark Tate