When weight really matters the material a jacket is made from plays a major role. For the Mica/Crystalline, Marmot has chosen a 2.5-layer fabric called Membrain Strata, which boasts excellent lab test results so it is rated as extremely waterproof and extremely breathable by Trail. The fabric allows this jacket to weigh in at just over 200g, and yet it still has a hood and pockets and a full-length zip. The hood has a volume adjuster, face drawcords and a stiffened peak. It fits well too. The pockets on the hip are large enough for an OS map and have zipped access. There is also Velcro adjustment at the cuffs and a hem drawcord. That is a lot of features for the weight and the price of just £100. So this looks like it could be ideal for those who want to travel light in gear terms, but not in wallet terms! But the Marmot Mica/Crystalline’s fabric does feel very fragile so I would not expect it to be as durable as some heavier options. Also the fabric may not control condensation as well as 3-layer fabrics, which tend to soak up sweat and hide it. Annoyingly the pockets are not easily accessed while wearing a rucksack with a hipbelt. The hood would be better with a wired peak too.
Outer Marmot Membrain Strata
Fabric waterproofness extremely waterproof
Fabric breathability extremely breathable
Sizes S-XL (men’s); 8-18 (women’s)
Weight 208g (size L)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 5
Verdict: If you want a waterproof jacket that will mostly be stashed in a rucksack in summer and for travelling light without breaking the bank the Marmot Mica/Crystalline is an excellent choice. This jacket won the ‘Best Value’ accolade in our review.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine November 2009