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Marmot Essence

in Clothing - Raingear

Average Rating
3.22 / 5 (9 reviews)

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Sam Haraldson
( sharalds )

Gallatin Range
Marmot Essence on 01/21/2007 14:28:53 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I purchased a Marmot Essence rain jacket a few months ago and have now had it in a significant number of situations to feel comfortable to give it a review.

Construction of the jacket is very lightweight with minimal features.

A single cord and cordlock runs around the waist with the cordlock located on the left side. I found the extra cord to get in the way whenever I reach into my pants pocket.

A single left side chest pocket is small but useful for storage of small items (ski pass, mp3 player, et al).

No pit zips of any variety are on the jacket which is a significant weight savings but does allow one to sweat inside without too much work.

The hood rolls up and can be stowed with a velcro strap keeping it out of the way, but isn't a nuisance even if left hanging. It is a deep hood that keeps rain away from teh face well. The brim is slightly stiffened to keep it out of your eyes.

I put about a one inch rip in the jacket having only owned it for a few months while backpacking two weeks ago. It ripped in a place would have been under my pack, leading me to believe I possibly snagged it on my pack. The fabric with a weave of soem sort of gridstop should be easy to patch and repair.

The jacket repels moisture excellently and breathes perspiration nicely however when moving at a significant clip, w/o pit zips or vents perspiration will build up inside.

I rate the Marmot Essence a 4 of 5 for how easily it tore, the annoying location of the cordlock and its lack of any sort of venting.

Robert Stanek
( rstanek )

Southeast, Atlanta, GA
Pretty good, but not quite it on 01/12/2008 15:33:12 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I owned an Essence for about a year, and it never really grew on me. Lack of ventilation was not a plus, as was those annoying rubber sleeve ends. The best thing was the weight and packability.

I ended up getting rid of it and picking up a TNF DIAD jacket. Small pit zips, but at least they are there. My version actually has pockets at "hand" level that are mesh backed for more ventilation. Also has velcro adjustments for the sleeve. A much better fit for me personally, and the weight tradeoff was insignifigant.

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Chris S
( chris2037 )
Avoid Marmot MemBrain jackets on 08/09/2010 19:36:48 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 1 / 5

Thought this would be a good jacket for cycle touring. I was wrong.

After less than a year the lining delaminated and disintegrated, and one of the zips broke. Marmot refused to repair/replace it under warranty.

Avoid Marmot MemBrain jackets.

Photos at

Edited by chris2037 on 08/09/2010 20:18:27 MDT.

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Ryan Slack
( RWSlack )

Good, simple jacket with some compromises on 08/28/2010 09:20:21 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

Pro: Low weight (around 7 or 8 oz), high visibility, non-absorbent cuffs, athletic fit, nice hood, waterproof and just breathable enough. Full zip a plus.

Con: No handwarmer pockets, single layer may lead to durability issues (none so far), latex cuffs not for everyone, athletic fit a bit snug with extra layers or PFD, will get clammy. Be careful with the zipper.

Owned for perhaps three years. I have primarily used this jacket while paddling in 35-70 degree rain and enjoyed the high visibility and reliable rain protection while on the water, especially with the cuffs that don't soak up water with every stroke/take forever to dry. The low weight and small pack size allow the jacket to disappear in the pack. I would not apply this jacket for extended use in very cold weather or for very strenuous use in any temp, as in my experience it will not breathe adequately to prevent frost or moisture in inner layers.

Dan Durston
( dandydan )

Marmots Updates are Good on 10/15/2010 22:22:57 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Marmot has made a number of changes to this jacket over the years so criticisms of the earlier models are no longer relevant.

My Essence is the 2009 model which has all waterproof zippers and it has underarm vents. The vents don't work that well as they are designed because they have flaps over them that larger block air flow. I snipped these flaps off, so my Essence is lighter and also vents better. I also snipped off the flap behind the main zip and I replaced the waist hem shockcord with lighter 1/16" stuff. My Essence (medium) now weighs 6.20oz instead of 6.7oz.

This jacket gets 4 stars because with minimal effort I get an affordable, waterproof, well vented jacket for just over 6oz. The only other rain jackets I'd consider for UL hiking are the Marmot Super Mica and the North Face Triumph Anorak, which is a bit lighter since it's a pull over with only a partial zip.

Hikers who put on a lot of miles may prefer the heavier (8oz) 2010 Marmot Super Mica with it's reinforced patches on the shoulders and real pit zips.

Postmortem: The Essence worked well for about 4 years before starting to bubble and lose the membrane. It served me well.

Edited by dandydan on 03/05/2015 09:37:57 MST.

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Jeff Hollis
( hyperslug )
Great weight, so so everything else on 01/19/2011 17:19:22 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 3 / 5

I own the original version which I believe came with Precip Plus which I think was supposed to be more breathable than regular Precip. I have owned it for about 4 years.

It mostly stays in my pack so don't need a lot of features as this only has a Napoleon pocket.

It has worked fine in occasional rain but recently had a 2 day soaker and water was pushed through where the hip belt was which then wicked up and down. My upper torso stayed dry.

It is time for something else but at 7.2 oz for a size large the standard is quite high. I think the later version with Membrain Strata probably would have not allowed water to be pushed through but

BTW I had recently washed it correctly and added DWR so that was not the issue.

Ben W
( bpwood )

NW Center for Volcano-Aided Flight
2009 Marmot Essence on 11/24/2011 18:46:15 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

Purchased a 2009 version of the Marmot Essence in October 2009 on some deep sale at REI (roughly half-price if I recall). It has a white (with gray pattern) inner lining (unfortunately, I cannot recall whether it is Precip Plus or Membrain). Specs for the current (2011) Essence model suggest it's 6oz, but my gear list says 9. I do not have a scale at the moment to determine whether that's a mistake or a decrease in weight since the 2009 model.

The jacket has served me reasonably well for two years, but showed flaws in extended rain and durability.

I have a size medium which fits fairly close and surprisingly has enough arm length for most applications. I'm somewhere an inch or two over 6 feet (haven't actually measured since HS, I think) and 160-something lbs.

The jacket is nice and simple: waterproof zippers, one small chest pocket that will hold a camera+ (or the jacket itself). Shockcord hem adjustment usually works but sometimes the toggle slips. The cuffs are just elastic. I thought I wouldn't like this, but they've worked pretty well even though I can't cinch them down to my wrists or expand them to insert glove cuffs. The hood brim works well. The adjustments for the hood opening (cord around opening with toggle at either side of chin) work fine, but I find the tab on the rear for adjusting hood volume to be almost useless. If I crank down the volume, nodding my head forward and down can undo the velcro. Not a big deal though. I would call the hood almost helmet-compatible. I've used it twice with a climbing helmet, but it pulls the jacket up off the shoulders a bit and the closure is tight around the nose/mouth.

There are no pit zips, but there are hooded vents under the arm pits. I have never had trouble with them leaking and I do believe they actually provide some modest venting in some cases. However, breathability is OK at best. Under heavy rain it suffers and even seems to wet-through (after the DWR has worn off).

The lining shows wear in the waist and along the back (not surprising given my tendency to carry a pack!). As of about 6 months ago, I noticed small tears in the lining on the shoulders. These have since grown to be a couple inches in length and the lining has started to delaminate further. They leak plenty. Additionally, I feel drops falling onto my head inside the hood even in light rain, if prolonged and my whole forehead eventually becomes wet even with no exertion (i.e. not sweat or condensation). I suspect some seam taping is loosening here, but I have not pinpointed it.

The actual shell fabric has survived just fine. No rips or tears, though it has not seen much stress beyond pack wear. (No heavy bushwhacking, etc.)

In a 2-day heavy rainstorm on the Tahoe Rim Trail in late October 2010, the a fleece that I wore under the jacket became quite wet. Though I have no proof, I believe that in addition to condensation poor breathability (likely reduced further when the jacket wetted out), there was actual transmission of water through from the outside, especially near pressure points.

My use has been backpacking and commuting by foot and bike in Seattle.

If you will use the jacket only lightly and/or can get it heavily discounted, I recommend it for its simplicity and light weight. However, it will not stand up well to extended/heavy rain or long-term frequent use.

Edited by bpwood on 11/25/2011 23:05:41 MST.

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Jon Hancock
( bigjackbrass )

Northwest England
A decent choice on 09/22/2012 04:09:58 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Having owned the anorak version of the Essence for five or six years I decided recently to buy the current model. The full length zip is an obvious change - the over-the-head style appears to have been abandoned this year - but that does add a little convenience and extra ventilation. Most surprising is that the old model (which has only a short zip, remember) weighs 212g for an XL size (approximately 7.5oz) whereas the new one comes in at 183g (approximately 6.5oz), both weighed on my digital scale at home.

Other changes include the removal of the reflective tapes, which were handy as a cyclist but looked rather shoddy as they rapidly began to peel and crack with wear; I bought the new jacket in an especially eye-watering shade of orange to compensate. As others have noted, the underarm vents are of limited use but the new Essence seems to be more comfortable and a little less sweaty than the old one. The material feels quite different, much flimsier to the touch although as yet there have been no durability issues (whereas on my old anorak the waterproof lining wore away quickly in some areas and had to be fixed with taped patches).
Cuffs are partially elasticated, resulting in a less than snug fit even though I don't have skinny wrists. The hood, as ever with Marmot, has a laughably floppy peak which does nothing to keep the rain off your face in a storm. The full zip bunches up a little when cycling (one advantage of the anorak is that there's no zip at belly level to ruck up like that) but has been more useful when hiking. Length is good, although overtrousers / rain skirt are needed for really serious weather.

Performance in the rain has been excellent so far. I tend to "run hot" and find the new jacket to be by no means sweat free, but it does a very acceptable job of keeping me comfortable, certainly an improvement over the previous model. It's also exceptionally packable.

hwc 1954
( wcollings - M )
excellent light duty 6 ounce rain jacket on 02/03/2014 20:32:19 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I picked up a 2011 model Essence rain jacket on the clearance rack at TJ Maxx for a price that was literally irresistable. Grabbing it and taking it as fast as I could to the checkout line felt like stealing.

Marmot Essence Jacket

It's a 6 ounce hooded rain jacket that stuffs into its own pocket. It's a 2.5 layer unlined jacket with Marmot's Membrane Strata PU laminate, which appears as a milky clear/translucent laminate film on the inside of the jacket. Fully seam taped.

Single chest pocket. Elastic cuffs. Twin drawstring adjusters on the hood. Tiny pit vents under the arms.

This thing is as close to a Trail Wind Hoody or Houdini jacket as you'll get in a 100% waterproof jacket. Fabric is similarly thin, but a bit stiffer and more crinkly due to the laminate. Still, very small when stuffed and very lightweight. My men's MED weighs in at 6.0 ounces on the nose.

It's still a rain jacket and notwithstanding the usual claims about miracle "breathability", it's still going to be clammy on a wet humid hot day. But, it's so thin and light that it's a big comfort improvement over other rain shells, including a PreCip jacket or a GoreTex ProShell jacket.

I wouldn't expect it to hold up to a lot of bushwacking or rock climbing. It's a 6 ounce rain jacket. If you are going to be hiking through the Amazon rain forest, then you probably should bite the bullet and take something a little more rugged. But, I look at a rain jacket as an insurance policy in the bottom of my pack. The less I have to wear it the better. But, it's there when I need it. When I've been caught in a summer squall in the mountains and had to hike with this thing, it's been reasonablyc comfortable.

I like it so much that I sprung for the matching Essence rain pants (5.5 ounces). So I've a full rainsuit, tucked in my pack, taking up almost no room and weighing in at 12 ounces including the little ultra-light zipper pouch that keeps them organized for easy transfer from one pack to another. At 12 ounces, I really don't have an excuse to always have rain gear -- which is the whole point.

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