The Marmot Featherless Jacket is the most affordable jacket in this category, coming in at well under $200. It did well against the wind and layered well, and at just over 12 ounces, fits squarely in the middle of the test in regard to portability. The 3M insulation doesn’t feel like down or pack as well, but warms true to the 700-fill power down it’s looking to emulate. Breathability and fit issues may be worth tolerating for those cost-conscious buyers looking for a fairly technical insulator that can be used as an everyday option in town or the backcountry.
Marmot worked with 3M to offer a line of jackets with its Thinsulate Recycled Featherless synthetic insulation. It’s designed to remain warm when wet and pack like traditional down, in this case emulating 700-fill power down. The jacket’s primary tester said the Featherless doesn’t feel like down upon physical inspection, but certainly looks and packs the part.
The shell is made of a recycled, double 1.1-ounce mini-ripstop nylon, making it light and comfortable, and one of the tougher shells in the test.
The Marmot Featherless performs surprisingly well against what its tester called, “A sneaker wind event” in late February in the central Rockies and while lapping a few runs in Aspen. The drawcord hems helped compress a light jacket and two long-sleeved baselayers under it, essentially sealing out wind and drifting snow.
The 700-fill comparison was spot on, according to its primary tester, who works closely with technical fabrics for the outdoor industry. The 3M insulation stayed true to its word after the jacket experienced a drenching during a sunny but cold spring fly fishing foray in the Truckee River. After a squeeze and 30 minutes of sun, the jacket was dry, but stayed warm throughout. Overall, despite internal moisture build-up on several occasions, the jacket dries very quickly when left to hang in the sun, or when simply shook out.
The Marmot Featherless served as the primary insulator during a sunny but 11ºF day in southern Colorado. The jacket kept its tester warm all day, but did suffer slightly from previously mentioned breathability issues.
The elastic cuffs had a hard time remaining in place throughout testing, causing the tester to adjust glove selection to prevent snow and cold from running up the sleeves.
The drawcord hem managed to impress, and during daily commutes and general outdoor activity, the Marmot Featherless became a go-to option. It also performed well as an exterior layer in cold spring rain and in providing added wind protection under a light hardshell.
While the sleeve length became the primary concern, overall the Marmot Featherless was a tad bulky on our 5’10’’, 160 lb. tester. While it layered well, the regular fit held an excess of room through the midsection, and it lifted on the torso during athletic movements. Nevertheless, these issues didn’t overwhelm the general comfort and feel of the jacket, and it was often worn out for casual events and cold days in the truck.
The Marmot Featherless Jacket (without a hood) is relatively light on features. It can be combined with other Marmot shells via the company’s “Zippin” functionality. There are two handwarmer pockets, and internal stuff pocket, and a drawcord hem that at times gave way even after tensioning. The cuffs are elasticized, but its tester noted they showed signs of stretch after a heavy winter of use.