Since the demise of my Montane Atomic overtrousers, I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement. I’m very happy with my Rab Drilliums, but for summer, I wanted something lighter. There’s been a little bit on the web about Marmot’s new NanoPro membrain fabric and the Essence jacket won the Editor’s Choice award in Backpacker magazine.
At a discounted £80, the overtrousers seemed reasonable value, so I bought a pair. My initial impressions of the material are good (although I’ve yet to test them in rain), so I thought I’d take a punt on the jacket as well, which, again, I found discounted at £120. Until now, for a summer waterproof, I’ve used a TNF DIAD jacket, which has been OK, but not brilliantly breathable (offset a bit by pit zips).
These are some first impressions without any usage or testing. I’ll report back again after I’ve tested them. Unfortunately, due to family considerations, it’s unlikely I’ll be doing a trip before August.
The Essence jacket for a medium weighs in at 169g. I thought my DIAD jacket was light at 200g! The material feels surprisingly robust with a ripstop pattern and has a very modest amount of stretch. It’s a 2.5 coating, so the inside is slightly slick, but not unpleasant to the touch.
In terms of features, it’s quite stripped down. There’s a small chest pocket. The main zip is water resistant with a gutter inside. The hood has a simple Velcro volume adjuster at the rear. Sensibly the main hood draw cords have captive ends. The stiffened peak is a little on the floppy side for my liking but OK. There’s a hem drawcord and a hanging loop as well.
An unusual feature is the mesh underarm vents. This seems like a good idea to me and an alternative to pit zips. I’d be tempted to put a stitch in the middle to stop them gaping, but they should be OK. The cuffs are part elasticated and the outer side is longer than the inner. It’s a shame they don’t have thumb loops. The sleeve length is adequate, but I’d prefer slightly longer.
The overall fit is trim without being constricting. I can layer it over my Rab Generator jacket and lift my arms above my head without the hem riding up. The hood is a reasonable fit rather than outstanding, compared with my OMM Cypher smock. My first impression is this is decent jacket.
The overtrousers are also a medium and weigh a measly 166g. I’m a 34″ waist and they fit nicely. The waist is elasticated with a draw string (no cord grip). The inside leg is 32″, which is perfect for me. There is a zippered pocket at the rear, which I think is superfluous.
The legs have half zips with a covering flap secured with a snap fastener at the hem. It’s a shame they don’t have a fastener half way and I might sew one on. The zip is a normal one rather than water resistant. This may or may not be a problem, but I’d prefer if the zip was water resistant or better protected.
I’ll be interested to see how breathable the NanoPro membrain is. If it turns out to be as breathable as the claims, then I might use them outside summer, particularly the overtrousers. At 166g and 169g for the jacket, they are incredibly light and first impressions are favourable.
Disclosure: both these items were purchased with my own money and I have no relationship with either Marmot or the retailer that I purchased them from.