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I wish it would rain...
Jack Geldard climbing through the summer rain on the Great Orme
© Mike Phillips / ArtrosisClimbing.com
"I wish it would rain..." I thought to myself briefly at Trollers Gill a few months ago as I belayed Kevin on another tough sport pitch... "Then I won't have to do this very pumpy looking route." No such luck and I reluctantly clawed my way up the white cliff, arms bursting, Kevin laughing.
The walk back to the car went uneventfully until around 500m from the road. The heavens opened and my wish was granted, only an hour too late. I snatched the tiny Mica Jacket out of my rucksack and chucked it over my jumper. First impressions? It was light, thin and green. I got to the car, jumped in and pulled the jacket off, rain thundering off the roof. I was bone dry underneath. Great. But would it last?
I was bone dry underneath
The Mica Jacket from Marmot is a super-light shell jacket, fully waterproof, fully windproof and made from 100% Nylon Ripstop at a weight of 2.2oz per yard. The waterproof barrier is Marmot's own MemBrain® Strata™, which is a laminate made from a 2.5 layer construction. In real terms this means that Marmot stick a honeycomb looking pattern on to the inside of the laminate instead of using a free hanging mesh. This honeycomb is designed to protect the laminate from abrasion but at the same time increase breathability and decrease weight. It has fully taped seams, a hood, velcro cuffs and two pockets.
It is a lightweight jacket, no frills, coming in at 185g. It's not a full on winter climbing shell, but is built for running, cragging and general outdoor use.
What does the fabric feel like? Firstly it feels quite thin, it is after all a super-light jacket. It is slightly different to some other light weight jackets I have used, the fabric doesn't have that rustly, papery feel, it is more sort of well, soft. I've worn it in pouring rain and it has kept the water out. It also seems very breathable, and I have used it as a windproof on multi-pitch routes at Gogarth when the sky has been blue but the breeze has been biting. It's small enough to carry on routes easily, and also to carry on mountain marathons and other such perverse events.
I have had the jacket for around two months and have worn it several times as both a waterproof and a windproof, for both climbing and running, as well as the obligatory dog walking.
The fit is good, I'm quite slim and the draw cords brought the jacket nicely around my waist. It sat under a harness quite well and gave a good range of movement when climbing. I was slightly concerned about how durable the fabric would be for scratching against rock, as it is very light weight. I think for hard use a degree of care is required, and consequently I am looking forward to seeing the release of the Super-Mica next year, which has some reinforcements in key areas. I haven't suffered any damage on my ordinary Mica jacket yet though and have found it up to the job as an emergency lightweight shell. If I knew I would be wearing it for multiple days on rough granite or similar rock, I would be tempted to go for a heavier jacket.
The hood has a velcro tab at the back for adjustment and drawcords on the front. It fits over a helmet but also is usable without. To save weight there is no wire brim, but a stiffened peak. If you want something more substantial you will need to move up the weighing scales.
The twin pockets on the front were well positioned and the water resistant zips worked well, though they seemed quite small.
Super light jacket. Does what it is supposed to. Great for running and mountain marathons. Good emergency shell top for cragging. Not a rough-tough winter gnarling jacket.
Marmot Mica Jacket
What Marmot say:
The winner of several prestigious design awards, it couldn't be any lighter and still be called a jacket. Supremely detailed and pro-minded, The Mica is made for traveling light in tough conditions. The Mica is 100% seam taped, waterproof, and highly breathable, thanks to MemBrain® Strata™ fabric. It also features an attached adjustable hood and Velcro® cuffs, a water resistant front zipper, and it packs neatly into its own pocket.
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