By Dusty Overby
on 5.5.09

marmot-essence-jacket-dustyOf all the things we cover here at Gear Patrol, I most appreciate the essentials. There are certain bits of kit that every man needs to have at his disposable; preferably, an item that brings solid performance and lasting quality. As last month’s lauded April showers kicked up, it occurred to me that I was severely lacking in the rain jacket department.

My closet contained a variety of crappy ponchos and, as such, I found myself resorting to wearing my Gore-Tex ski jacket shell as a deluge deterrent. This worked fine from a water repellent standpoint, but it was bulky and made me too hot. Thus, I sought a solution from the good folks at Marmot, who offer a variety of excellent jackets, one of which is sure to be just right for you.

Marmot is on of my favorite outdoor outfitters; the Santa Rosa, California company was begun in 1971 by two college buddies who hatched the idea whilst standing atop an Alaskan glacier. Needless to say, they had great inspiration to create some of the best performing gear available. My needs were more mundane, limited to staying dry while puddle jumping or walking to and fro my car. The Marmot Essence Jacket fit the bill perfectly, for me.

Hit the jump to find out why.

n5424_9229_essence_jktHaving relied solely on the Essence during constant rain over the last 4 or 5 days, I can confidently say that it does it’s primary job flawlessly. That is to say, it keeps you dry. This is thanks to Marmot’s proprietary MemBrain Strata technology, which promises to keep  you in the lightest, most breathable waterproof garments available. It’s pretty smart stuff (ha!).

That brings me to the Essence’s other two big selling points. This jacket is light. I mean it, “you’ll forget you are wearing it,” light. That’s a good thing. That also means that it is eminently packable when space in your bag is a limited commodity. Additionally, the Essence doesn’t threaten to sweat you out. It’s far more breathable than many other rain jackets I’ve owned, some of which weren’t much better than throwing a Hefty bag over your head.

Add to this an adjustable hood, asymmetric cuffs (which I love), a chest pocket, and just the right amount of reflectivity and you’ve got pretty near the perfect rain jacket. I’d recommend the Essence for any application from venturing out to get a paper or bagel to light hiking and mountaineering. With the right equipment, you might finally realize what a soothing experience walking a few blocks in the rain can be – provided you aren’t late for an interview, escaping urban anarchy, or something worse. Still, you’ll be glad you’re dry.

Cost: $150 @
Altrec.com

See the Marmot Essence In Action

Check out Jordan Campbell, from Marmot, as he puts the jacket through its paces in a Video Pro Review.

ADVENTURE IS ONE CLICK AWAY

Subscribe to GP for a daily dose of the best in gear, adventure, design, tech and culture. 5pm sharp.