Free 2-Day Shipping on Orders Over $50
micweb

micweb

micweb's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Climbing

micweb

micwebwrote a review of on October 9, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: L

Marmot has two "classics" that have been around well-over a decade: the Windshirt, and the Windvest. Both are thin - maybe ultrathin - tight-weave shells with underwear-weight "base layer" material as a lining. I've been collecting/hoarding/using these things for years - they don't wear out, unless you are REALLY rough on them, and they are so darn good that when they go on sale once a year or so, I usually grab another one.

There are some minor differences over the years: the original vest was, indeed, called the Windvest or Wind Vest, and now it's the Strider; the original had no handwarmer pockets, then open, unzippered pockets, and now the Strider has twin, full, open-from-the bottom handwarmer zipper pockets; the original had a shallow zippered vest pocket that was horizontal, then a side-entry vertical vest pocket along the main-zipper seam (still zippered) that was bigger, now an angular vest pocket, still zippered. And oh yeah, for a few seasons, Marmot left the mid-back unlined - just the front, sides, and shoulder yoke were lined.

Most significantly, the weight fattened up to 8-10 ounces for Medium at one point, but now it's back down to 6 ounces plus change - much more packable.

THIS EXCELS for fast and light hiking and travel. Basically, IT IS AS WARM AS 200 POLARTEC, but lighter, packs down smaller, and is wind and rain (mostly) proof.

The toughest choice you need to make is: are you a vest person? or a jacket person? For travel on a cold plane, the vest is probably enough. For cold mornings or evenings in camp, go with the jacket. I've hikes in autumn rains with nothing more than the jacket and a hat to keep the rain off my face - body heat from hiking keeps the jacket lining dry, the nylon surface wets out eventually but keeps most of the rain out and hence the lining dry, and me dry too.

NEITHER or enough if there's snow on the ground. You need down for that. BUT if you aren't expecting rain, one size up on a jacket and it will fit over a thin down jacket underneath.

Ray Jardine and other ultra light hikers swear by "wind shirts" as one of the fundamentals in a layering system. This adds a very thin insulating layer to an unlined windshirt, and has the greatest longevity in the marketplace of any I know.

(2)

 

micweb

micwebwrote a review of on August 7, 2009

5 5

This is what I would call an "unconstructed" bag since it has no padding or thick materials to give it structure.

That's actually a plus, if you like to move fast and light. Black Diamond designed it for lugging rope and gear to a climb, not for hauling up with you.

This is essentially a duffel with backpack straps, and that makes it work very good for soft goods (like gym gear - judo or jiu jitsu) or for travel.

Since it doesn't have compartments to help me organize, I use mine in travel as a checked piece to hold my jiu jitsu gear and any extra clothing I might want. (My emergency clothing and toiletries, netbook, knickknacks go in my carry-on bag.)

It's easy to throw this simple duffel into the trunk of a taxi where I arrive, and if I have to carry it myself I use the shoulder straps. Since there is no padding on this bag, you leave fragile stuff out of it or wrap in in clothing.

At first I wondered why the backpack straps don't have a stow-away slot like on a convertible travel backpack. But then I realized that would add weight, bulk, and expense (a convertible travel backpack costs a lot more). Now I like the design just the way it is.

And oh yeah if you leave the rope tarp at home, you can flatten this duffel down to nothing and stow it in another bag to use for over-flow (souvenirs etc.) when you come home.

BTW sometimesI use the rope tarp as a clean place to stand if I am changing into my jiu jitsu uniform on a dirty floor.

(0)

 

0 Comments

micweb

micwebwrote a review of on December 21, 2008

5 5

This pack is best suited to lightweight hiking where you don't need a bear canister and don't need to carry more than 2-4 quarts of water (water is heavy).

My Jam has been ideal for trekking between the tent cabins on the High Sierra Camp loop at Yosemite.

It's not so big it's clumsy, hot, or heavy, but I can still carry a warm synthetic fill sleeping quilt so I don't have to use the fairly nasty blankets provided by the camps, and there is also enough room room for a puff jacket or thermal fleece for cold evenings and mornings at camp.

Best of all, since I don't need some of the stuff that regular hiker needs (like tent or tarp, cooking gear, food) I don't have to "stuff" my quilt or jacket which extends their life.

I also like being able to use either a hydration bladder with tube, or external water bottle.

The outside pouch provides some basic organizing, but this isn't a pack with a million secret pockets. The main compartment, two side slash pockets, and front pocket are plenty, though.

I consider my self a lightweight hiker, and this bag is more than ample for my summer hikes with "comfort" clothing (I like to stay toasty), snacks, and emergency overnight gear. But this pack is also a favorite of ultralight hikers with 1 pound bags, alcohol stoves, and other stripped down, streamlined gear.

It kills me when I see hikers on the High Sierra Camp circuit weight themselves down with much heavier packs for the light duty hiking required for the High Sierra Camp circuit. On the other hand I'm flabbergasted by those who just carry a daypack and look miserably cold because they didn't bring a really warm sleeping bag or really warm jackets, etc. The Jam strikes the happy middle ground, bigger than an oversized daypack, much lighter than most backpacks you see on the trails.

This review is based on ownership and extensive use of the first generation Jam, and inspection of the second generation model (the Jam2 offered here). I will purchase the Jam2 in summer of 2009 since I like the improved shoulder straps with Brock foam much more than the first generation straps (no padding to speak of).

Also the compression straps on the new model add a lot more versatility - without compression straps (lacking on the old model) I pretty much need to fill the pack or my gear will sag or shift around.

Generally, though, the Jam2 is an evolutionary and not revolutionary upgrade over the original Jam.

(0)

 

0 Comments

micweb

micwebwrote a review of on July 23, 2008

5 5

Isn't that everyone's real question - why is it priced so high? Well, because it uses the best available materials - it has high water repellency and dries fast if the rain was really hard and long, it's impeccably made, and, yes, it DOES breathe unlike its many, many cheaper competitors. And I'm not talking about sleezy knockoffs, I mean it is much better than anything to date from the other Big Name outdoor companies.

This and some silkweight or lightweight base layer will get you through most of the summer in most parts of the Sierras (well plus something warm for nighttime, either an R2 or something light and puffy).

(0)

 

0 Comments

micweb

micwebwrote a review of on May 23, 2006

5 5

The original Windshirt from Marmot had shirt style tails - split at the sides; no pockets; a slightly lighter lining; and a slightly lighter shell fabric. In short, it could be worn without base layer, as a classic windshirt in cold weather; it could be worn over a base layer as a midlayer; or it could be worn as a sort of jacket over a heavier base layer. But those shirt style tails and the light glossy shell fabric made it look out of place in a cafe. And the lack of pockets, either for junk or for handwarming, also placed it a notch below a true jacket (on the other hand, as a windshirt weighing only 10 ounces it was superb).

Time passes. The current generation Windshirt is still light and useful on hikes, but can also double for light city wear. It is still thin, too thin for standing at a snowy bus stop, but it is just right for an urban hike in cool to downright cold weather (your hiking keeps you warm).

It has a straight hem now, like a jacket; pockets; a slightly thicker lining; and a slightly more substantial shell fabric with a nice "hand".

It's STILL much lighter and easier to stuff in a carryon travel bag than a Land's End Squall (which has a heavy supplex shell, heavy Polartec 200 lining). I find myself using this current generation Marmot Driclime Windshirt as a lightweight casual jacket, especially for travel, but it's still technical enough for hiking (mesh instead of shell at the armpits and other touches like that) on real trails or doing serious city walking. It's grown a little heavier, about 4 or 5 ounces more, but it's still lighter than its competition.

Marmot continues to innovate. The new generation isn't so much a replacement as a rethinking. Enjoy!

(0)

 

0 Comments