Marmot's Variant jacket is substantially made from Polartec Power Stretch which is an excellent fabric with a fine fleece on the inner face and a smooth outer. Marmot have added their own insulation, the Thermal R, to the front making it a much more versatile jacket.
Marmot says: An ingenious hybrid design sets this jacket apart, with our unique Thermal R™ insulation sewn into the front panels for warmth, and Polartec® Power Stretch® comprising the back and side panels. It’s a surprisingly warm garment that never feels bulky, ideal for cold weather excursions when freedom of movement is crucial.
Marmot's Variant Jacket is made substantially from Polartec Power Stretch, which is a great fabric, its been around for a few years but is still used because it is so good - basically its a stretch fabric with a soft fleece inner face and smooth outer - its a joy to wear and works really well at keeping you warm. It also wicks sweat away quite well but that isn't its main function and there are other fabrics that wick better - Power Stretch is about comfort and warmth.
Marmot have added a layer of their own insulation Thermal R to the front of the jacket. Thermal R is synthetic insulation with a unique combination of multi-channel and hollow fibers that transport moisture (sweat, condensation and rain) away whilst providing plenty of loft and warmth with minimum weight. They have also added a pair of handwarmer pockets - this is a good move as it makes the garment more useful and suitable for slightly colder conditions than would otherwise have been the case, if its too warm then you simply unzip it.
Its a definite midlayer - offering warmth somewhere between a heavy baselayer and your conventional fleece.
- Reviewed by Ultralight Outdoor Gear