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Marmot Alt HB Hoody

rated 3.5 of 5 stars
photo: Marmot Alt HB Hoody synthetic insulated jacket

Stretchy, comfortable and functional, with some flaws, in a bare bones design.

Pros

  • Great stretch
  • Light
  • Breathable
  • Lay flat thumbholes
  • Soft lining in hand and internal chest pockets

Cons

  • No hem drawstring
  • No hood adjustment
  • Minimal moisture repellency
  • Shorter arms
  • Picks up and holds odor

I'm a big fan of insulated jackets while hiking. Mainly due to the wider variety of conditions they can be worn in. I go with down over insulated when backpacking and in the cold cold when hiking but I find insulated jackets have more function when I'm moving. I was looking for something that wasn't going to be a furnace on the trail but could also transition to town. Came across the Marmot Alt HB Hoody and, on the surface, it ticked the boxes.

The jacket retails for $180 but what hooked me was Marmot was offering it at 72 bucks, which I paired with some other discounts (Active Junky/Newsletter sign up), which brought it in at about 62. So this review is based on a $180 jacket. For 62 bucks it was a total steal.

What first stood out to me was the weight. The jacket comes in at 11 ounces which is lighter than most performance fleeces. The face material, a recycled nylon ripstop, is silky soft and flows instead of having any rigidity. The interior is a perforated material which aids in breathability. I thought for sure I would rip it the first time I hit a branch but, to date, it's held up really well after a lot of use without a tear. That said, there was some quick piling under the shoulder straps and hip belt. Don't care much as it doesn't impact function but it's there.

There are two hand pockets, with solid zippers, that have a nice, soft fleece lining on one side which is the same for the interior chest pocket. I like interior pockets much more, particularly for a phone in the cold, so it's a nice touch. And since I just can't get behind the new trend of different colored materiel on chest pockets it works for me.

I found the fit true to size (6' 185 and the L was the call) but the sleeve length is a touch short if I raise my arms. While the cuffs do ride up a bit, the  "lay flat" thumbholes are excellent and it's not an issue when using them. The jacket also has gusseted underarms and elbows which helps movement so it's one more feature that speaks to what they were shooting for with this.The jacket has excellent stretch and moves with me. No restriction. Like most insulated jackets designed to be used as both a mid and outer, I find it a little boxy in the waste and a little tight through the shoulders/chest although the stretch negates that.

It does come with a PFC-free water repellent which has handled snow decently but isn't going to deliver big protection in the rain. I did wash in some DWR and it seemed to take it well.

This is a bare bones jacket though. On their site they mention a drawcord hem but mine doesn't have one. There's also no hood adjustment although I find the hood to fit perfectly and, like the cuffs, has a stretchy band to keep it in place.

But there a few things that have made me realize this jacket is going to live much better on the trail than in town. About a week after I got it, both seams on the wrist cuffs split. It doesn't impact function but it happened way too fast. Clearly a sewing issue. But the big one is the smell. It's akin to a poly hiking shirt that reeks almost immediately. I had like three hikes in and was kind of blown away at how badly it stunk. I'm not sure if it's because the underarms are a little tighter (but no restriction in movement) or the material just sops up sweat and holds it, but I haven't this problem with other insulated jackets. This would be a great piece to toss on to run to the store or just take a little chill off when knocking around, but it would require frequent washings which is a great way to cut the lifetime of a jacket. So this one is going to live in the dirt.

Temp range is hard to say because everyone is different. The jacket is very breathable but that means it's not going to protect as well in cold, extra windy conditions. With a 250 weight merino baselayer I found it's stand around low temp to be in the mid to high 30's. You can get lower when moving.

Despite its dings, I find myself using it a ton. It's so light, and offers such great stretch, that it's really easy to wear. My concern is going to be durability and odor. So I would say that if you can find this on a killer sale like I did, it's a really solid hiking piece. I swapped this out for my typical performance fleece under an Outdoor Research Ferrosi and it's been perfect. But I wouldn't go in at the full  $180 MSRP. Insulated jackets can get pricey and I think there's more bang for the buck out there.

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Sleeves drape instead of being rigid. Slightly boxy in the waist. Deep hand pockets work with a pack.
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Wicks sweat and soaks under a pack
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Seam split early on. Thumbholes are excellent
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Hood is very comfortable and stays in place
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Very light, stretchy material doesn't limit movement
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Perforated, soft interior lining

 

Background

Extensive use

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $62

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Specs

Men's
Price Current Retail: $98.99-$180.00
Women's
Price Current Retail: $91.99-$180.00
Product Details from Marmot »

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