I was delighted to win the UKC / Marmot competition based on a review I wrote about my favourite piece of gear. A few days later I received the Marmot Artemis jacket and was faced with the challenge of reviewing it. So, does it work?
I brought the Artemis jacket on my annual alpine climbing trip; this year to Bächlital which is close to the Grimsel Pass in Switzerland for some rock climbing, and to Chamonix for some mountaineering and more rock climbing. It was worn and tested both in rain and shine.
Before I spell out my opinions on the jacket, perhaps I should mention that I have never been one of those people who follows the tech advancements and goes mad about the latest tech development. The Artemis jacket has some NanoPro Membrain fabric that someone really clever spent a lot of time developing. As a customer (in this case a competition winner) or even more simply put, as a user, I really don’t care. For a light shell jacket the only things I care about is: (i) will it keep rain/snow out long enough, and (ii) will it keep me dry as I go up those long uphill slogs that we all are unavoidably faced with whether we are out hiking, climbing, cross country skiing or whatever we do.
Did it work for the use that I intend to put it through? In short: yes it did, but there is always the fine print. The jacket weighs very little (323g), is completely clutter free as it is stripped to the bare minimum that makes a technical shell jacket, compresses nicely when not worn and when used has a relaxed fit. The fit made it ideal as a light shell jacket as it came on and off fairly easily, and without removing gloves first (this part impressed me). It has dedicated ventilation zips under the arms and also allows free flow of air through the chest pockets. It has an adjustable hood that easily fits a climbing helmet.
On paper the jacket is perfect. In reality there was one thing that I noticed which in my mind is not quite thought through. The front hood adjusters are on the inside of the front zipper, meaning that one has to remove potential gloves, open up the jacket, adjust the hood, close it all again and put the gloves back on. The back hood adjuster is so small that it can’t be operated with gloves, and hardly without gloves unless you take off the jacket and can see what you are doing. This isn’t really a problem unless you are climbing technically challenging terrain or fighting the elements, which really is the intended use for any shell jacket aimed at climbers, hikers etc. In my case this was particularly annoying at belay points when the wind shifted and I wanted to get the hood up, or on running belay when a 2 min stop to fix the hood isn’t really the thing you want to do. To me it seems that in what could only have been an attempt to make a clutter free jacket, Marmot went a bit too far.
Marmot claims that the fabric "is up to 140 percent more breathable than previous technologies, allowing for the stop-and-go functionality you need for alpine endeavours." It is still a shell jacket and the ventilation zips were frequently used, especially in the sun or on uphill slogs. Based on my expectations from wearing mostly 3-layer shell jackets, I feel that the jacket did an excellent job. Of course there still was plenty of moisture build-up inside the jacket but that is to be expected from any shell jacket. In terms of keeping the elements out, the fabric functioned very well and just did the job.
The one negative point above about hood adjustment does not outweigh the positives of the jacket, such as lightness, pack size, versatility and ability to keep rain and snow out, so all in all I found it to be an excellent product.
Thanks to Marmot for providing me with one to test!
Jonsa has been drawn to and in love with wild nature all his life, been hiking and camping for 20 years, trad climbing for 14 years; and is just back from his second season of alpine climbing. He has a particular affinity for adventurous days out far away from civilisation; doesn't matter if it is long multi pitch sport/trad routes, alpine routes or long hikes in inhibited wilderness. It may be a bit of a cliché, but for Jonas, the journey is truly the goal. During weekdays Jonsa is a start-up entrepreneur in the finance sector in London.