Used extensively by Cairngorm Treks in the Cairngorms and surrounding mountainous areas throughout Autumn and early Winter.
The first thing you notice about this jacket is just how soft it feels - you find yourself examining the material, partly to see if it's truly a synthetic jacket and not a mix of some type, and partly because it just feels so nice to touch. The overall build is to a very high standard and is something that has been present in all of the Marmot products we have tested recently. This jacket uses a box style construction, each section individually filled and stitched. It’s clear that Marmot have taken a lot of time and care in the design and production of this product. Noticeably light, weighing in at just 348 grams (size medium) the 3M™ Thinsulate™ Featherless Insulation claims to have a warmth rating similar to a 700 fill down jacket. Add to this water resistance and the whole package sparks a lot of excitement.
The fit of the jacket is what we would say is 'true to size'. The medium sizing was a comfortable fit, hugging the body without being constricting, with the correct arm and torso lengths. The two main outer pockets are suited so rucksack straps don’t interfere, whilst being of a generous size and will fit a map, compass and GPS. We were given the jacket in Denim colour and there is no denying this is a stylish jacket.
Marmot say they have designed this jacket to perform as an additional layer jacket, ideal for a variety of cold-weather activities, and this is exactly what it is. Through the warmer Autumn months, in dry conditions, it performed well as a warming outer layer. Although, without a hood it doesn't fill the role of an all day outer jacket, especially as the snow started to fall and harsh winds blew through the glen. Where it excels is when combined with an outer shell or as part of a larger layering system when the temperatures really start to drop. The 700 down fill power that Marmot claims it gives is definitely on the cooler side, but this was expected with the low weight and bulk size of the jacket.We used this jacket for one particular trek with temperatures including wind chill of around -2 degrees, accompanied by just a base layer and thin pullover. For one of our team members at times this jacket didn't pack the warmth needed to be worn alone and an extra outer layer needed to be added. This transformed the jacket as it performed extremely well when on the move and didn't overheat when pushing hard through steep terrain or quick descents. It mimics the feeling of a down jacket in that it works with the temperature of your body creating a comfortable feel. Often I have found big bulky synthetic jackets of the past to overheat and often sweat and moisture struggles to escape.
The ‘angel wing movement’ is Marmot’s very fancy way of saying the jacket provides good freedom of movement. When reaching up high when scrambling, or sorting through a bag low down or pitching a tent, this performed well with the body and kept the jacket from possible exposure to the cold.
Another notable point would be the robustness of this product. This is the type of jacket that doesn't just belong on the high mountains, it's a product that equally for us was grabbed for a quick walk with the dog or a low level walk with the family. A bit of rain or muck won't leave you worrying about how to clean it on return, as being synthetic it can be easily wiped down or washed at home. After 3 months of abuse (…sorry, testing!) no scuff marks or signs of insulation coming through the stitching are visible, which is very impressive.
Synthetic technology within outdoor clothing has really picked up pace over the past few years and this jacket is no different. It's so comfortable and such a joy to wear that it works much better being worn all day rather than a jacket that stays in the bag ready to add warmth when temperatures drop low, camp is set, or a slower pace is required. We'd much prefer to have an alternative warmer hooded jacket ready to perform this task. Although advertised as a winter jacket, the small pack size and weight lend it to being a good all-rounder for much of the year. It’s solidly built and like us you’ll find yourself reaching for this jacket every time you leave the house.
Cairngorm Treks is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...