UKC

Marmot Mitre Peak - lightweight technical shell Review

A three-layer Gore-Tex Active shell with a climbing-oriented cut and feature set, the Mitre Peak is a stripped-down, lightweight option that will take you from technical summer alpine climbing, through to all seasons and uses in the UK - with the exception of full-on Scottish winter. While it's clearly aimed at mountaineers, we think it has good all-rounder credentials.

The Men's Mitre Peak, in the actual Peak  © UKC Gear
The Men's Mitre Peak, in the actual Peak
© UKC Gear

Weight

At just 329g in size Medium, the Mitre Peak is down at the lighter end of the waterproof spectrum, and with a three-layer Gore-Tex fabric, a generous length, decent pockets, and a helmet compatible hood, that's pretty impressive. It's not a waterproof beefy enough for the very foulest winter conditions, or the demands of Scottish winter mixed climbing, but it's light enough to carry with you practically anywhere else, while still being able to protect you from sideways rain on a Lake District fell walk.

Fit

The Mitre Peak comes in both men's and women's models. Marmot describe the fit as 'athletic' but whilst it's nowhere near the bulkiest or baggiest jacket on the market, it doesn't hug your body like some others. The fit seems more 'regular' than 'athletic', but that's not necessarily a negative, more down to personal preference and intended use. This jacket is certainly light enough to be used in the summer months, while in colder weather it's got space for bulky layers underneath.

Crucially, on me it passes the 'lift your arms up in the air' test to see if the hem rides up high. I've found there's plenty of room in the midriff so that you're not flashing your belly to everyone. As well as helping to keep the weather out during active use, this makes the Mitre Peak a viable option for wearing under a harness.

It passes the essential arm lift test... many shells don't  © UKC Gear
It passes the essential arm lift test... many shells don't
© UKC Gear

Fabric

Made from Gore-Tex Active, Gore's lightest and most breathable fabric, it's designed to be used on the move. Indeed, Gore-Tex Active is most frequently used on running and cycling garments, and it's not out of place here on a jacket that you're likely to use whilst frequently on the move, whether that's hillwalking, scrambling, or climbing.

It's also the first Gore-Tex fabric that I've found noticeably comfortable next to my skin. Don't get me wrong, it's not cotton, but it's far softer than Gore Pro fabric and this makes for a pleasant experience when wearing the Mitre Peak with just a t-shirt.

Gore's Soviet-era secrecy means that there isn't any public data on just how waterproof or breathable their fabrics are, but in terms of waterproofness, after six months of use as my main jacket, it's showing no signs of wetting out, and still noticeably beading. Historically speaking, and after countless tests of their fabrics by the UKC/UKH team, Gore fabrics certainly are the gold standard when it comes to keeping out the rain.

But although this is Gore-Tex Active, designed for maximum breathability during high aerobic output, I've not found the fabric to be as breathable as some other lightweight waterproofs. Carrying a heavy load up a steep hill will get you sweating when wearing pretty much anything, but in my experience there are more breathable options out there. The three-layer construction sandwiches the membrane between a backer and a face fabric, and we wonder if this influences the breathability.

A breathable jacket is pretty useful when carrying a heavy load  © UKC Gear
A breathable jacket is pretty useful when carrying a heavy load
© UKC Gear

In terms of durability, the Mitre Peak doesn't compromise on areas such as the shoulders and elbows. These high wear areas are reinforced with a higher denier fabric, meaning that abrasion when wearing a rucksack or for those scurrying up chimneys is far less likely. Whilst these reinforced zones are a welcome inclusion, particularly for rock climbing, it's fair to say that the Mitre Peak is not really designed for something like Scottish winter climbing, because it's fundamentally just a bit too lightweight. For that sort of rough treatment, you'll want something thicker. This also goes for use in foul winter weather, when a stiffer fabric provides more weather protection by better resisting flapping about in the wind (which creates air flow inside, compromising your insulation). This light shell does however work well as a hillwalking jacket in less stormy conditions, and it's good in the cold in the sense that there's room for multiple layers underneath.

The cuffs have a thick adjustment strap which comes in handy when wearing gloves.  © UKC Gear
The cuffs have a thick adjustment strap which comes in handy when wearing gloves.
© UKC Gear

Pit zips for quick ventilation are useful with a 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric  © UKC Gear
Pit zips for quick ventilation are useful with a 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric
© UKC Gear

Features

Simple functionality is the name of the game here - which is what you want in a lighter technical shell. The two external zipped pockets on the Mitre Peak are raised, so they remain accessible whilst wearing a harness or a rucksack hipbelt. They're large enough to easily fit something like a guidebook, or bulky winter gloves. The openings are wide and there's ample room to stuff an OS map inside.

There are pit zips for quick venting of heat which adds to the comfort inside the jacket. I have used these relatively frequently since, as we've said, the fabric doesn't seem as breathable as some lightweight jackets. One issue I've had with the pit zips is the lack of two zippers. To close them you pull upwards, but the lack of tension means that it can be really difficult to zip up without taking the jacket off, which is far from ideal.

The cuffs have a thick adjustment strap that's easy to use when wearing massive mitts. One potential downside is that it's a bit of a faff to fit the sleeves over bulky winter gloves. You'll definitely want to wear bigger ski gloves over the sleeves as opposed to under, but thinner gloves do fit under OK.

A decent sized helmet-compatible hood is great on a lightweight jacket  © UKC Gear
A decent sized helmet-compatible hood is great on a lightweight jacket
© UKC Gear

It's easily cinched to a normal size too  © UKC Gear
It's easily cinched to a normal size too
© UKC Gear

On a lighter weight jacket the functionality of the hood often seems to be compromised, but the Mitre Peak's fairly minimalist hood works well. It is sized generously enough to be helmet compatible, but can also be easily cinched tighter to the head for wearing it without. There is one toggle on the back of the hood that's hidden away and uses a simple push button toggle to tighten, and this can be operated fine in big gloves. There's a decent sized peak at the front and although there's no wire, a combination of the harder material and changing the volume of the hood means that there's little issue with wind.

Summary

The Mitre Peak is a versatile jacket that will happily take you through three seasons in the UK hills, keeping you happy in sideways rain. It's light and packable enough to carry with you to the crag too, for those inevitable moments when you get rained on whilst on a climbing day. It's definitely breathable for a Gore fabric, but I'd say that's still relative, and if you're looking to break into a canter then it may be worth searching out something even lighter. It's not really burly enough for something like Scottish winter climbing, or winter hillwalking in windier conditions, but for cold and wet winter days it works well on top of warm layers. Its price seems quite high, but is roughly par for the course for a 3-layer Gore-Tex jacket. There are many cheaper options on the market, but of course it's also possible to spend much, much more. In that sense the Mitre Peak represents a decent balance of several key factors, including weight, packability, functionality, cut, weather protection, and price.

Marmot say:

The Mitre Peak Jacket was made to move, from classic ascents to technical climbs. Lightweight and extremely breathable 3-layer GORE-TEX® Active fabric keeps pace with all alpine pursuits—no matter how steep the terrain or intense the weather. Carefully crafted articulation gives you the freedom to focus on your route. Details like heat-releasing PitZips, a single-pull helmet hood, and accessible pockets complete this waterproof shell jacket.

  • Sizes: S-XXL (men) XS-XL (women) 
  • Weight: 329g size M
  • Fabric: GORE-TEX Active® 100% Nylon Plain weave, GORE-TEX Products® 100% Nylon Ripstop
  • PitZips provide ventilation to regulate body temperature
  • Fixed helmet‐compatible hood with adjustable opening
  • Gusseted underarm with articulated elbows for increased mobility
  • Adjustable VELCRO® cuffs block drafts
  • Pack pockets

For more information Marmot website


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14 Nov, 2021

How durable was the DWR treatment of the face fabric? The DWR on my marmot gortex jacket was supposedly very environmentally friendly but failed very rapidly in wear areas resulting in wetting out.

15 Nov, 2021

Mine hasn’t started wetting out yet - I’m about 4/5 months in. What I’ve founded with modern waterproofs is that they require far more washing and treating. I wash other jackets in Tech Wash regularly and then occasionally reproof using a tumble drier.

15 Nov, 2021

Indeed, I've been intending to do mine for ages now. So much for the eco friendly credentials of the DWR coatings when you need to regularly treat them with other chemicals to keep the jacket working well.


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