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Heather Swift in the Marmot Vapor Trail Hoody
UKC Gear, May 2012
© Jack Geldard
This soft shell is a lively little number whose blurb includes trail running, climbing and snow sports. A big mix to take on!
Start at the start, what does this hoody have?
Next, put it on
So far so good...
The Vapor Trail hoody has been really well cut for an active figure, it fitted both me (5 foot 1 inch) and my friend (a slim 5 foot 10 inches) equally well over the shoulders and neatly down the body, with or without a fleece underneath.
Except for when I had my avalanche transceiver on the Vapor Trail did not give me a 'pouch' in front: excellent. More impressive was the fact that the sleeves and back fitted us both; though yes, the sleeves are a little long for me.
Heather Swift skiing off piste on the Grands Montets in the Marmot Vapor Trail Hoody
UKC Gear, May 2012
© Jack Geldard
So how did this soft shell perform?
I took it climbing, piste skiing, ski-touring, and also had more than the odd wander through town. The 'start at the start' tick list held its ground, with a few things in particular standing out.
The M2 soft shell fabric really resisted the wind well as I was being blasted on the way down from the top of Grandes Montets, and has equally successfully repelled showers of snow and rain the various times I have been caught out. Climbing in it was a total pleasure: complete arm movement and it didn't ride up my back. I have to say it again, fantastic pattern cutting.
The pockets are well placed and sized. You can access them in a harness and they are adequate for necessities. This hoody is supposed to be for action on the hills, not carrying every other thing you own so there is no need for a large number of massive pockets.
Price wise, at £130 the Vapor Trail sits fairly high in the market for a lightweight soft shell, competing with the likes of Mammut, Patagonia, the North Face and Haglofs. The excellent cutting, M2 softshell fabric and general versatility bear out the price tag, and it has the technical features you would expect. Marmot are offering plenty for your pounds with this hoody.
Was it the perfect soft shell?
I had a few minor criticisms. Firstly I was somewhat surprised when I put it on to find the hemline very tight on my hips so I couldn't use the drawstring at all. Check it out before you buy! Secondly I did find the Vapor Trail a little warm when moving quickly and am not really convinced it is suitable for trail running, though moisture did escape well. Thirdly it would have been nice to have thumb loops to keep the sleeves in place.
Generally an all-round great soft shell: Very well cut, fairly priced, good looking and ready for some serious summer alpine shenanigans!
Heather Swift is a trad, sport and alpine climber based in Chamonix, France. She grew up close to the gritstone edges of Derbyshire, but has since moved onward and upward with mountaineering trips to South America, ascents of north faces in the Alps and regular bouldering and sport climbing missions to venues such as Fontainebleau, France and Finale, Italy. She also draws, plays the guitar and likes fashion.
UKC Articles and Gear Reviews by Heather Swift: