Marmot Women's DriClime Catalyst Jacket£75.00, added May/2008, see all Marmot news & reviews
Reviewed by Jo George
Marmot say this jacket has been designed for backpacking, hiking, high aerobic sports and what the Yanks call 'urban' use. I've found it to be a great multi-function item which has easily become one of my favorite garments during the time I tested it. I've worn it for climbing, biking, running and general street wear and it's performed really well for all these uses and would be ideal for other activities too. Marmot's DriClime garments are already well known and have many fans so this 'UpCycled' version will become a welcome addition to women. It's a female specific garment and as such, shaped well for the female figure. The outer fabric is water repellent and wind resistant whilst the inner is UpCycle DriClime, a bi-component wicking lining gives excellent breathability and moisture transfer so during high aerobic activities you won't feel too hot or sweaty. I've worn it in light rain and on very windy days and it performed really well. In addition this jacket has stretch panels down the side and underarm of the garment to improve mobility. This is a good feature for climbing and biking in particular. I've washed it a couple of times and the drying time is excellent too. The technicalities of the fabric are excellent, but that aside what I really liked about it, is the instant comfort, warmth and its light weight – once on, it's very hard to take off!
So a big thumbs up to comfort and the performance of fabric – but what about the features and function? Well this is a pretty highly spec'd garment with more features than I'd normally care for. I'm a real lover of simplicity however, saying that, I have enjoyed all the features it offers. The zipped sleeve pocket on the arm is ideal for carrying keys when you're running and as it is small they don't rattle around inside; the adjustable collar cord made all the difference to trapping heat within the jacket on colder, blowy days, the stretch panels and articulated sleeves are great for climbing, allowing good freedom of movement and also good for giving a bit give when on the bike, and the zipped hand pockets are both useful and warm. Other small details are good such as the chin guard which prevents the top of the zipper digging into your chin or face. Yes, it's a well thought out garment and the fit is good too. The jacket has a fairly long back length which makes it good for cycling or wearing with a harness and the sleeve length was good. Normally I have a problem with female specific garments in that the sleeves are too short and shoulders too narrow but this one fitted me perfectly.