Marmot’s Iceland is a furnace-like down parka capable…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $300?
Marmot’s Iceland is a furnace-like down parka capable of keep most individuals comfortable down into severely-low sub-zero temperatures. Its hood fits well with or without a helmet, and cinches down to a semi-tunnel style for protection in the worst of weather.
Marmot’s MemBrain waterproof-breathable laminate, mated to a durable nylon twill face fabric, keeps the worst sleet and freezing rain at bay. This coat really is a wonder; then again, almost a pound of lofted 800-fill white goose down does have a way of keeping an individual warm like nothing else.
- Very warm, stand-up hood with complete coverage and a comprehensive adjustment system
- Abrasion-resistant nylon twill shell fabric laughs off thorns, and its backed with Marmot’s high-performance, waterproof-breathable membrane
- Top of the line 800-fill power white European goose down
- Longer, kinda-parka-ish length gives full torso coverage
- Superior attention to details: zipper storm flap and draft tube, built-in stuff sack pillow, pass-through front pockets
- No inner waist adjustment
- Not fully waterproof — seams not taped…
Best For: Individuals looking for a do-it-all, deep-winter coat. Ice fishing. Running dogs. In-camp use on the coldest of nights.
General Overview: 390 grams of 800-fill down. That’s nearly 14 ounces of down distributed through a fully-baffled down parka with an attached hood. Essentially a longer-length version of their Greenland jacket, with a waterproof-breathable shell, Marmot’s Iceland parka has a generous length at 32.5”. My size medium—my usual size—is long enough to cover my hind-quarters when sitting, a welcome feature that makes the Iceland well-suited as a do-all, durable winter coat. The sleeves are long enough for my frame—6’-1-1/2”, 165lbs—and the cuffs do a stand-up job of keeping drafts at bay even during the most aerobic activities.
A storm flap covers a plastic YKK zipper all the way up to the chin, secured by Velcro strips and a snap at the bottom. Behind that zipper is a fat, squishy draft tube, finishing the barrier to cold. The Iceland coat is truly an adept, deep-winter wonder.
The baffles on the Iceland are numerous and well-sewn, and this alone hints at the warmth of which this parka is capable; loft is maintained throughout the garment, especially the shoulder and under-arm area. Though I have not found anything which says the Iceland has a differentially-cut outer shell, the lack of weight on the shoulder baffles leads me to believe that some kind of differential cut might well have been incorporated. The Iceland’s baffles are spaced approximately 4” apart, a distance that seems to work well with the density and fill-power of the down used. Single layer loft in the body is over 3". (The coat is obviously plump with down.)
Shell: Repelling the elements is Marmot’s MemBrain laminate mated to burly Algor N-410 nylon twill fabric. I have not been able to find a denier specification for this particular fabric, but based on other fabrics I know of, I’d guess the Iceland to employ about a 120-denier shell. Though the Iceland is not seam-taped, I have found that it is, in use, functionally waterproof.
I have worn the coat in-camp and inside my tent, encountering many spills and copious condensation in the process, and the fabric beads water readily. I even once put my elbow down into a pool of water inside of my tent, only discovering the situation after I raised my arm to pick something up and, putting it back down, heard the splash of my elbow hitting the water. The down in those chambers was not wet as far I could tell, and I merely wiped up the outside shell with a camp towel…my arm must have been in the puddle for a minute.
As far as durability goes, I have used the Iceland off-trail in forested areas, and the fabric just brushed off anything against which I happened to snag. I have worn the coat “in-town” quite a bit as well, and it remains unaffected and unmarred after regular use in trains, subways, and taxi cabs. This outer shell is indeed where much of the remaining 2 pounds of weight in the coat resides, and I feel it is a good use of weight for a coat of this purpose.
Hood: The Iceland’s hood is very well-designed, creating a semi-tunnel when tightened down. Multiple shock-cords circle the hood to provide both volume and circumference adjustments. Sound is dampened a bit due to the nature of the shell fabric, but not so much as when wearing something like a Wind-Stopper hat, so sound transmission is really quite good even with the face opening cinched down. A velcro strap secures goggles. The hood, even when battened-down, allows the down to loft a full 2”. This loft is maintained through the neck.
Features: The balance of the coat’s weight is also put into creature comforts like microfleece-lined, pass-through handwarmer pockets and interior organization pockets. The front pockets, large enough to fit gloved hands, pass through the down layer to the inside of the coat so that one’s hands are warmed more efficiently.
My usual winter gloves are a pair of Rab’s Ice Gauntlet, a Primaloft-insulated model with quite a bit of loft, and they fit into the front pockets nicely. The interior pockets are handy as well, including an organizer pocket large enough to store a 1L bottle. The lining and interior pockets of the coat is ultralight Eclipse N-150WR polyester, soft and down-proof. A hidden pocket alongside the main zipper doubles as a stuff-sack; a coat with this much down, as one can imagine, makes a great pillow.
Adjustments are intuitive and easy. Velcro strips at the wrists cinch as tightly as needed, and an elastic drawcord tidies things up at the hem. The length of the coat works well with this drawcord, drawing the back of the coat up and under your butt when standing. One thing lacking in this department is a waist drawcord, the inclusion of which would further reduce the chance of drafts. It would be quite easy, however, to attach a few loops of grosgrain ribbon, through which one could run a length of elastic.
Other Considerations: With the lack of waist elastic mentioned, the only real gripe I have about the Iceland coat is its weight, and even this is not so much a gripe as it is me realizing that I might have a coat that’s overkill for my needs. The thing is, I understand that for a coat of this capability, a 2lb 4oz weight is to be expected, and again, for the features, one may even consider it light. However, when I see other parkas with about the same amount of down for the considerably less weight, I am inclined to wonder if there are better options out there to fit my needs.
I speak of something like the Valandre Immelman or Rab Neutrino Plus here. These jackets have a much better warmth-to-weight ratio, but they do so by making use of a much thinner, light shell and a more Spartan feature set. This highlights what is perhaps the biggest decision one must make when buying a winter parka: For what purpose will it be employed?
Temperature Rating: I have used the Iceland coat, with only a thin wool t-shirt underneath, for sedentary in-camp lounging down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Considering the sizing of the Iceland, I can comfortably layer a light 150-wt wool long-sleeve baselayer, Patagonia R2 fleece, Eddie Bauer FA down vest, and Patagonia Houdini windshirt underneath, knowing this combination--along with the appropriate lower-body insulation--will allow me to comfortably lounge and gaze at stars in -30 degree Fahrenheit weather. It is a coat that could probably be used successfully with an appropriately-rated elephant’s foot down to as low a temperature as one might be inclined to use it.
Conclusion: The Iceland is proof that Marmot makes some of the best down products in the world. If one wants the warmest garment for the weight, there are perhaps better options out there. But if one is looking for an incredibly warm parka with the durability to thrive in an urban setting and the functionality to go to the most remote areas, there are not many better choices than the Marmot Iceland. Find one, put it on, and head out.
Location: Hiawatha National Forest and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, in Michigan’s incomparable Upper Peninsula.
Temps down to around -20°F, with about 200 inches of snow any given winter.
About the Author:
Vince Contreras has been working as a professional Forester and Ranger for various federal land management agencies since graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Forestry from Southern Illinois University in 2010. He enjoys rock climbing, backpacking, and German Idealism. Other hobbies include leatherworking, bushcraft, and really, just creating original things.
Great jacket for the price I paid; I got a sample…
Fabric: Membrain waterproof/breathable outer shell
Fill: 800 goose down
Price Paid: $160
Great jacket for the price I paid; I got a sample model on special, but it's a bit too expensive at full price. Still, it's a very comfortable and warm jacket, fully baffled, and highly water resistant and the hood is awesome. It weighs a little too much for real mountaineering, but it would be warm enough for most alpine use.
It works great for around town use and for travel, it packs down quite small and is lighter than most urban use coats, but still way more durable than a super light alpine parka would be. Really it's a crossover parka; you could use it for everyday or, for moderate winter camping/mountaineering if you don't mind carrying about an extra pound.
The only feature I would add to it is an internal waist draw-cord, this would make it even warmer.