Top positive review
28 people found this helpful
Great Shell for Rain or Snow
on September 3, 2012
Bought this jacket for the wife and I for serious waterproofing as we go camping and backpacking, and planning backpacking trips to do the CDT. Before I purchased this jacket my most advanced rain protection was a military heavy duty plastic poncho that didn't breathe at all. Needless to say I was a little skeptical about jumping from a $5 poncho to a $119 jacket (what it cost when I bought it). I have not been disappointed though. The jacket's been through a few rain storms and performed like a champ, much better than any poncho, with the added bonus of some breathability. It's completely waterproof and windproof. Water beads up and runs off, the lined collar keeps your neck warm and dry, and the large hood keeps water from running off the jacket and onto your face. The hood also has a little bit of a lip, which helps keep rain off your face even when it's blowing at you.
I did a lot of research into this jacket before I bought it, and here's what I found: Marmot uses their Membrain Strata fabric in this jacket. Water proof fabrics are rated on a scale of mm of water per hour. It means the amount of water and water pressure a fabric can sustain before it becomes saturated. The scale goes from 0-10,000 mm/hr, which is rainproof but not waterproof, all the way up to 35,000 mm/hr and above, like PVC, heavy plastics, and metal. Marmot's Precip fabric (used in the Precip jacket) is rated at 15,000 mm/hr, this Membrain Strata fabric is rated at 20,000 mm/hr, and as a reference, Gore-Tex is rated at 28,000 mm/hr. Both this Membrain fabric and Gore-Tex are in the same class of totally waterproof, even under serious pressure. This means that either Membrain or Gore-Tex can stay waterproof through serious downpours even in very high wind, and can even withstand shallow immersion. Membrain and Gore-Tex have the exact same breathability. This is the best waterproof fabric you can buy if Gore-Tex is out of your budget, as it is mine.
As one reviewer pointed out, the sizing of this jacket runs a little on the large side. But keep this in mind: the design and fabric used in this jacket is meant for serious water and prolonged periods of exposure. The large size is meant to give you extra room to layer insulation under this jacket in order to use it as a shell. And that's what this jacket is, a shell. If the rain or wind is cold, you won't get wet, but the cold fabric will make you feel cold if you don't have layers underneath. This is a great jacket, but it may be overkill for the occasional rain shower. If you're looking for a backpacking or trekking shell, or a serious storm jacket without the heavy price of Gore-Tex, you've found it. If you just need rain protection on your way to and from work, I'd save my money and get a Precip jacket or something a little less expensive.
Finally, a note on care: waterproof fabrics are fragile when washing. Wash only when you really need to and use a powder detergent. Liquid detergents can fill little spaces in the fabric that make it waterproof and reduce its ability to keep you dry. Also, after washing, you should always dry your waterproof fabrics in the dryer as it reactivates the waterproofing and helps meld the layers of fabric together again. You will see a huge reduction in waterproofing if you don't put your jacket in the dryer.