Marmot Nano Jacket

© Toby Archer
Nano Jacket  © Marmot
Nano Jacket
UKC Gear
© Marmot

First and foremost, the Marmot Nano shell jacket is light.

And not just rather light, or quite light, but ridiculously light.

Nano Jacket- full articulation  © Toby Archer
Nano Jacket- full articulation
© Toby Archer

At 227 grams, it only weighs a bit more than a couple of quick-draws. If light weight is your priority, it is worth considering for that reason alone. To get down to such a miniscule weight you just get less jacket – but not in a bad way. Firstly Marmot have used Gore-tex Paclite, they have used micro-taping and lightweight water resistant zips, but that isn't enough. The jacket is also cut carefully to produce a slim, athletic shape with no unnecessary, baggy or flappy material. This makes fit important: the medium is a good size for me but I'm limited with what fits underneath – a base layer and a micro-fleece. With it being increasingly common to add a synthetic belay layers over our shells, this isn't a big issue but you may need to size up from your normal if you want to wear thicker layers underneath.

To get down to such a miniscule weight you just get less jacket – but not in a bad way

You can describe the jacket pretty quickly because it is so simple: Paclite Gore-tex, a full length waterproof zip, two chest pockets that also serve as extra venting, a peaked and wired hood, elasticated cuffs and very light drawcords at the hem and around the face. That's pretty much it. Paclite I find breathable enough for hiking in, but within about 15 minutes of cycling in it at an average speed on a cool day, I find that I begin building up sweat inside. This will go away again once I lower my exercise rate, but for my metabolism Paclite isn't breathable enough for cycling or jogging without getting damp. There are some holes stamped through the layer of Paclite that forms the back material of the pockets; this means that when the pockets are opened they can serve as pit-zips and allow extra ventilation but I'm not convinced this system is really enough to make much difference. Even cycling at some speed with the pockets open, it was hard to detect the extra ventilation from this arrangement. My feeling is the jacket is too slim a fit to allow the pockets to open enough to allow much air flow through. The cuffs are elasticated and can be pushed up your arms to allow more ventilation, although my preference is for velcro cuffs particularly if you are likely to be wearing the jacket with gloves on.

Nano Jacket-venting pockets  © Toby Archer
Nano Jacket-venting pockets
© Toby Archer

The hood is interesting and worthy of separate note. A number of UKC users have noted on the forums that many of the other ultra-light waterproofs have rather poor un-stiffened hoods that offer little protection from driving rain. The Nano goes the other way with hood that is both wired and uses a cleverly shaped piece of harder plastic in the brim to make a rigid peak whilst adding very little to the weight. This clever design produces a rather “British style” of hood, not the best for periphery vision but excellent protection in heavy weather. My concern about the hood is the sizing: you can wear it over a helmet but for me, the jacket is then pulled tight into my armpits. It is as if the hood is the right size in two dimensions, from ear to ear, and from forehead to the back of your head, but isn't high enough – meaning the rest of the jacket is pulled upwards. I've tried this with both a Petzl Meteor and CAMP Armour helmet and it happens with both. It will be amplified if you wear a cradle-style helmet such as an Ecrin Rock or Edelrid Ultralight, both of which tend to sit higher on the head than more modern hybrid and foam helmets. Trying to avoid climbing in heavy rain I very rarely wear a hood over my helmet, so this is one of those niggles I could live with. But just a little extra volume in the hood would for me turn the Nano from being a good ultralight alpine climbing shell to an excellent one, and if you are thinking of buying it specifically for that purpose, it would be worth trying one on first with your normal helmet to see if this issue bothers you, or consider buying a size up.

Nano Jacket- hood  © Toby Archer
Nano Jacket- hood
© Toby Archer


The Nano is, in some ways, quite a specialist bit of kit. Most importantly it is very, very light and compact – making it the perfect waterproof not to wear. But when you do have to wear it, it works well and, with its wired hood, provides more protection than some other super-light shells. The materials and components being so light, will not last forever, although having said this I still regularly use my Arcteryx Paclite shell that I've had for nearly six years and it still does its job. The Nano clearly won't be as tough as some other shells, but then those kind of shells tend to weigh twice or even three times as much. If your priority is weight, then the Nano is well worth a look; just check how the hood fits if you think you will be wearing it regularly over your helmet.

Price: £160
Weight: 227 grams

Nano Jacket  © Marmot
Nano Jacket
UKC Gear
© Marmot

What Marmot say:

Marmot's UltraLight offering in GORE-TEX® Paclite® is an evolved solution for long treks in spotty weather. 100% seam taped with an elastic draw cord hem and water resistant zippers throughout, the Nano is guaranteed to keep you dry without weighing you down. Pack pockets feature laser-drilled pocket backing that enhances breathability.

  • 100% Seam Taped For Full Waterproofness
  • Angel-Wing Movement™ Allows Full Range of Motion in Arms so Jacket Doesn't Ride Up
  • Asymmetric Cuffs
  • Attached Adjustable Hood Reduces Volume and is Secured with a Velcro Hood Tab
  • Elastic Draw Cord Hem For Adjustability in Serious Weather
  • GORE-TEX® Paclite®: Guaranteed to Keep You Dry Gore-Tex Pac-Lite: Guaranteed to Keep You Dry
  • Integrated Laser-Drilled Pocket Backing for Enhanced Breathability
  • Pack Pockets™ with Water-resistant Zippers Pack Pockets with Water-resistant Zippers
  • Reflective Logos
  • Water Resistant Front Zipper WR Front Zipper

For more information visit the Marmot site

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12 Jul, 2009
for additional information on Marmot's Nano jacket and UK retailers stocking this jacket click on the following link:
22 Jul, 2009
In reply to Toby How does it compare to Marmot's much cheaper Precip jacket ? especially as a jacket carried more for emergency use rather than when expecting to be out in heavy rain all day
25 Jul, 2009
Hey Doug, You have posted an excellent question with regards to how the Nano and Precip jackets compare. The Precip Jacket is a good multi purpose value for money jacket which is ideal for emergency use just in case you get caught out. The Nano Jacket is a significant jump up in performance when compared to the Precip Jacket and would be something worth looking at for fast and light mountaineering requirements. The Nano uses Gore's Paclite fabric as the main waterproof membrane so you would notice a much better breathability and long term performance when compared to the Precip Jacket. The Nano also has a much more fitted cut which allows for good range of movement and is not affected by the use of a harness or rucksack hip belt. The Nano's hood also fearures a wired brim (which the Precip Jacket doesn’t) so you to shape the peak of the hood to deflect a strong side winds or driving rain coming in sideways. Marmot’s Chamonix based athlete Will Sim has been giving some excellent feed back on the performance of the Nano jacket he has been using over the past 4 months on a number of alpine routes. I personally recommend the Nano jacket for summer alpine use or long rock routes in North Wales or Scotland where you want something light, small packing but still dependable if the weather turns nasty. If you need any further advise about this product or any other styles in Marmot’s range then please feel free to call the Marmot UK office on 015395 63616.
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