BIG AGNES WOMEN'S MARVINE JACKET
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
May 24, 2015
kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
Canon City, Colorado, USA
5' 4" (1.60 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado.
Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.
|Manufacturer: Big Agnes, Inc.|
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.bigagnes.com
MSRP: US $179.95
Listed Weight: 11 oz (312 g) Women's Medium
Measured Weight: 13 oz (369 g) Women's Medium
Colors Available: Crimson/Orchid & Cool Gray/Turquoise
Color Reviewed: Crimson/Orchid
Sizes Available: Extra Small to Extra Large
Size Reviewed: Medium
* Materials: 60g Pinneco Core™ synthetic insulation, 100% recycled polyester shell
* Fill weight size Medium - 4.6oz/ 131g
* Front zipper includes draft flap and a zipper garage at chin
* Two zippered front handwarmer pockets with zipper garages
* Textured zipper pulls
* Two large interior mesh pockets at hem
* Interior chest pocket used for a stuff sack
* Hem can be adjusted via a barrel locked drawcord
* Elasticized cuffs have thumb holes
* Made in China
|Day Hike on Cooper Mountain, Fremont County, Colorado|
FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE
Over the winter months, I continued to backpack/hike and snowshoe as much as possible. I spent most of my time in the south central region of Colorado that I call home. Mostly, I hiked in the mountains of Fremont County, including the Wet, Fremont and Cooper Mountain ranges. This area's terrain runs the gamut of evergreen forests, to grassy plains to high desert rock and dirt/mud (as the moisture or lack thereof dictates).
I also spent some time snowshoeing in the Wasatch Mountains in Utah and a wonderful week in the snow in Twin Lakes, Colorado, snowshoeing in and around the Colorado Trail. These two areas are environmentally similar to my usual haunts but had way, way more snow.
It's been a strange year for weather, so early on, winter was mild but snowy; then it became very bitter cold and snowy, to mild temperatures, to downright warm. All this in the time span of November 2014 to May 2015. As I write this, it's late May 2015 and it's been raining almost every day for the past two weeks and I'm back to wearing long-sleeved base layers along with wind and rain jackets! Wacky Weather!
|Stuffed Jacket vs. Liter Water Bottle||Over these 5 months, I estimate I've covered 55 miles (90 km) backpacking/hiking/snowshoeing and walking in the Big Agnes Marvine Jacket.|
I have probably worn the Big Agnes Marvine Jacket more than any other jacket/outerwear this 2014-2015 winter and 2015 spring season. When I wasn't wearing it as a top layer, I most likely had it on under a hard shell as a mid-layer. In the very lowest temperatures - as low as -20 F (-29 C) - I encountered, I would wear it with a wool base layer, a lightweight synthetic or down vest and then under a hard shell. But mostly I wore it with a wool base layer and that's it.
I found the jacket to be properly sized per the website size chart. I generally wear a women's medium in most clothing and the Marvine is no exception.
The cut of the Marvine is contoured and not bulky so it would fit under my "athletic-fit" hard shell, but yet it is still roomy enough for me to wear even with my heaviest base layer and down or synthetic vest. It looks very neat and tidy and can easily be worn in town as well as in the wilderness. I wear it just as often shopping as I do trail blazing.
Another thing I really like about the Marvine's fit is the drop tailed back. This is great when it's cold out to keep my rear protected from the elements and to keep that ole North Wind from blowing up the hem and chilling my core. And while the Marvine isn't advertised as being a dead-of-winter jacket, it worked very well for me throughout the winter.
One area I sometimes have trouble with when wearing winter jackets is the sleeves. With many jackets, the sleeves are too narrow when worn with multiple layers and my range of motion is compromised greatly. Not so with the Marvine. I never once felt constricted and the thumb holes were perfect for keeping the cuffs down where they belonged so I didn't get drafts up the sleeves. This enabled me to pull on my gloves or mittens over the cuffs, securing the cuffs under the gloves/mittens. This is particularly important since the cuffs are rather tightly formed with elastic and there is no way I'm going to be able to get a pair of gloves or mittens under them except for my thinnest glove liners.
Even though I looked it up, I'm not sure I really understand why the Marvine's Pinneco Core™ insulation is a big deal or how it is so different from other insulations, but I am sure I understand how well I was kept warm without sweating while wearing the jacket! The strong 20 mph/32 kmph winds we encountered (at worst) seemed to go right around me - though I know I had to struggle against them at times. I never felt any cold spots in the jacket either.
I didn't experience backpacking/hiking/snowshoeing in any really heavy precipitation, though I was caught in a couple of light snow and light rain showers while walking the dog. So I can't make any claims about how the Marvine would handle a major downpour. It did handle the light stuff well though and even when the outer shell of the jacket was pretty well wet through, I was still dry. The jacket dried out in a matter of an hour or so but that might say more about how dry our climate is than about the jacket itself.
I'm not a hood fan, so I'm just as happy that the Marvine does not have an attached hood as if it did. Unless it is "blizzarding" as my youngest grandson would say, I don't use a hood. But the jacket does have a very nice standup collar to snuggle into and my chin is protected from the zipper by a flap of material Big Agnes calls a "zipper garage".
A total of five pockets are sewn into the Marvine jacket - three interior and two exterior. The exterior pockets are good-size and I can easily tuck in my Canon Powershot A520 digital camera, lip balm, an energy bar or gel along with some tissues and when not on my hands, my glove liners/light gloves. The zippers operate smoothly and have textured ends on the pulls which I found easy to grip even with my gloves on. Two of the interior pockets are located at the front hem and are mesh. This is good material to be used here as it helps keep the Marvine more breathable in my experience.
The third pocket is a chest pocket that can be used as a stuff sack. I like using the stuff sack pocket as a space-saving convenient packing option. I plan on using that a lot this summer when I backpack above treeline and need a just-in-case shell for protection from the wind and possible errant afternoon storm. The stuffed jacket can (and has been) used as a decent-sized, though rather hard, backpacking pillow.
Even though I'm generally a klutzy hiker, I haven't snagged or torn the Marvine over these last 5 months. In fact, I haven't even spilled a cup of cocoa on it yet (knock on wood)! So, I haven't had to wash the jacket and it still looks quite good. If the rain stops today, I might even brave the mud and take the Marvine out for a hike to our mailbox. (We haven't been able to get down our washed out road for a couple of days now!) I could use a little fresh air!
1.) Stellar weight to warmth ratio.
2.) Slim but very comfortable silhouette.
3.) Well-placed and sized pockets.
4.) Drawcord hem for a custom fit.
1.) Slightly tight, but stretchy cuffs don't allow me to wear gloves underneath the cuffs.
I've worn the Big Agnes Marvine Jacket for several months now in all sorts of weather conditions during this crazy weather winter/spring of 2014-2015. I quite simply love it! I love it so much that I gave away my previous go-to jacket to my daughter-in-law. It's a versatile piece of outerwear that I can wear with various combinations of layers in almost any weather. I'm quite pleased with the functionality and I'm just as happy with the look of it as well. This is one great jacket!
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.
I heartily recommend the Marvine Jacket as a staple in anyone's outdoor wardrobe. It certainly is in mine!
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
Read more gear reviews by Kathleen Waters