Review of Marmot Shadow Jacket
By Matt Smith
Lightweight alpine shells have become even more important with the evolution of the soft shell jacket. The need for additional insulation is diminishing as many soft shells can withstand all but the most torrential conditions. The Shadow jacket is a perfect companion for just such a soft shell.
I tested the Shadow all winter long in a variety of conditions ranging from blizzard accompanied by strong winds, to January downpours along the Wasatch. I experimented with using the Shadow over a variety of layers you might be wearing when the clouds decide to break.
I found the Shadow was an excellent companion piece for use with a wind shirt and semi-barrier soft shell. The sleeves were a little narrow through the forearm when I pulled the Shadow on over a belay jacket on a particularly nasty day, though the rest of the jacket fit fine.
The trim fit eliminated a lot of bulk common on other shells. The water proof pit zips are easily accesible with large grips, and do a good job ventilating the core, particularly when underlying layers have breathable panels along the sides of the torso. I was pleased to find the pit zips didn't extend so far down the torso as to be uncomfortable when the jacket is worn with a pack (waistbelt). The proprietary MemBrain 3L fabric seemed to breathe as well as many name brand fabrics I have worn in the past.
Summary: The Shadow alpine shell is very light, extremely comfortable, and very packable. At $300, it represents a significant investment, but if your weight, volume and staying dry are high on your list, you should definitely consider the Shadow.
For more information contact:
Marmot Mountain Ltd.
2321 Circadian Way
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
Matt Smith is the canyoneering specialist at GearReview.com, and dislikes having fish in his sleeping bag.