Marmot Hyper Lite Jacket Review

Skiing in the Marmot Hyper Lite Jacket at Crystal Mountain, WA
Intro:
When I saw Marmot produce a jacket using Gore-Tex Active with pit-zips, I was highly interested. I have used Marmot products for a long time and I feel they often give good value for the price. Owning a lot of Marmot products, I have also seen them make some gems and also some duds. On paper the Hyper Lite jacket looked like one of the most decked out Active shell jackets with all the bells and whistles. The real question would be, would the jacket be as good as it's specs on paper?

 I've been fortunate enough to use the Marmot Hyper Lite Jacket for nearly a year and have used it in quite a few different environments. It's not often that I get to test a piece of gear this long due to the quick retail cycles of the outdoor market. If I waited this long for every item I wrote a review for the item would most likely be on clearance, discontinued, or updated causing my review to be obsolete.


Construction/Material:
Marmot constructed the Hyper Lite jacket with Gore-Tex Active. For those not familiar with the differences between the two main GORE-TEX membranes used in high end apparel, fear not! GORE-TEX Active is the most breathable fabric made by Gore and does so by using a lighter and thinner membrane while using a new lamination technique to bond the liner side of the jacket directly to the membrane. But why does this make for a more breathable jacket? For those science folks here is the reason. The diffusion rate of Fluoropolymers, in this case ePTFE (GORE-TEX), is inversely proportional to the thickness of the membrane.1 For example, if we have two jackets both using the same membrane, but one of the two jackets has a slightly thicker membrane, than the jacket with the thinner membrane will breath better.

In Comparison, GORE-TEX Pro is the most durable membrane made by Gore and that is done by using a heavier denier face fabric ( minimum 40) and two thin membranes sandwiched between a slightly different PTFE mid layer. Gore also backs the Pro shell with a special " Micro Grid Backer technology for high internal abrasion and snag resistance" For those who are more visual learners, check out my previous blog showing a sideview of the layering of the different Gore-Tex products.

The Hyper Lite jacket is different than most other jackets featuring Gore-Tex Active as it includes not only pit zips but an integrated cooling vent on the back of the neck. Marmot also made the front zippered pockets lined with mesh to further improve the ventilation.
Mesh lined front
How it Fits:
The Hyper Lite jacket is a very slim fit jacket needing very little use of the waist hem draw strings to keep it close to the body. For reference sake, I'm 5'10" 160lbs with 33" waist and own the jacket in Medium and have also tried it on in size Large. The Medium size is cut very well around the waist and most parts along the body like sleeve length.

My biggest issue with some of the Marmot hardshells (Super Mica included, but not their Alpinist) are how boxy they are cut compared to other brands like Arc'teryx or Mammut. With the Medium size I can only fit a heavy 260gm wool baselayer underneath it without the jacket pinching underneath the arms. I don't have massive lats/back muscles! I'm just your standard slim, lanky climber, skier, backpacker.You can get away with a midlayer like an Arc'tery Atom LT if you open the pit zips which provide some extra room under the arms.

Pit Zips opened with an icebreaker 260 g/m² baselayer
The large size definitely has proper room under the arms but looses it's athletic cut due to having excess fabric around the waist. If Marmot kept the waist of the medium but with the shoulder and arm room of the large, it would have been perfect! If you're thinking about buying the Hyper Lite jacket as your only jacket, I would recommend trying 2 sizes so that you can fit a mid layer under it. If you're going to use it as a fast and light jacket with an emphasis on breathability, the pit-zip strategy works fine if you want to keep the slim fit nature of the jacket.


Performance:
Crisp Fall evening at Horseshoe lake before the rain came in
I put the Hyper Lite jacket to it's biggest test in the fall when I went for an overnight trip to Horseshoe lake in the central cascades of WA (same vicinity to the enchantments). During the hike in, the weather was mostly cloudy and cool with periodic rain. Once at the lake, the weather cleared out for a very cold clear night. Early in the morning the rains came and just dumped. During the entire hike in and out, the Hyper Lite jacket kept me very dry and comfortable in such nasty cold freeze/melt conditions. I wish I had more photos featuring the jacket but moral was low due to finding Horseshoe lake in poor conditions as the unofficial trail was underwater in a swampy section.

I've also used the Hyper Lite Jacket to in other scenarios like cycle to work in the rain because of how well the jacket breathes and the trim fit cut. The jacket also makes a great ski touring jacket because of how well the jacket breathes in poor conditions while still providing complete weather protection.

Summary:
The Marmot Hyper Lite Jacket is a fully decked out slim fit hardshell meant for going fast in sub-marginal weather while needing maximum breath-ability, protection, and maximum functionality. All the small features on the Hyper Lite Jacket improve the breathability of jacket making it one of the most breathable jackets I've used. The biggest drawback on the Hyper Lite is the lack of room under the arms for any midlayers due to the slim rectangle pattern cut of the jacket. The Hyper Lite Jacket is one of the best hardshells I've ever used, but it misses perfection due to the poor pattern cut. 


Pros:
  • Active-shell provides very good breathability
  • Pit zips, meshed lined front chest pockets, and rear neck flap dump heat
  • harness and pack compatible chest pockets
  • YKK Aquaguard vislon front main zipper
  • Jacket is cut well around the waist and sleeves
  • light weight

Cons:
  • Jacket is poorly cut under the arms, pinches with cross arm reach
  • Pit zips could be a little longer

Comments

  1. What are the differences between Marmot Hyper Lite and Marmot Nano AS except for the fit (skin vs tight) and for the Pit Zip? I am looking on the web and this is the only differences I found. Both 2 are built with Gore-Text Active shell.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both jackets from marmot are Athletic fits, the Nano AS facefabric has a higher denier and is more abrasion resistant but heavier. Hyper lite also has the mesh vents behind the neck.

      Delete
    2. Both jackets from marmot are Athletic fits, the Nano AS facefabric has a higher denier and is more abrasion resistant but heavier. Hyper lite also has the mesh vents behind the neck.

      Delete
    3. Both jackets from marmot are Athletic fits, the Nano AS facefabric has a higher denier and is more abrasion resistant but heavier. Hyper lite also has the mesh vents behind the neck.

      Delete

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