Marmot Cat Track Jacket Review
A stylish jacket that gets you second looks in the high-country will ultimately end up tossed aside if you’re constantly asking yourself: “what were the designers thinking? Do they even play in high alpine environments?” The Marmot Cat Track Jacket will leave you convinced that the designers spend more time playing in powder and ducking into tight tree runs than they do in the office. From the BOA system on the hood, to the powder skirt around the bottom and everything in between, Marmot really got it right with this one. Getting the fit right and putting the right pockets in the right places is one of the things that make a jacket great. But a great snow-sports jacket has to be burley too. It’s both lightweight and nearly indestructible. Trees happen. And this jacket is up to the challenge as it takes more than a couple of rogue pine branches to hurt it.
With 50mph gusts and heavy precipitation at 10,000 feet in Breckenridge, the Cat Track Jacket was plenty warm and dry with nothing more than a puffy down middle layer. Even after heavy aerobic activity, I was surprised at how dry this jacket kept me. Marmot’s claim that the jacket is highly breathable is most definitely accurate. And gale force winds aren’t going to blow through it. After comparing the new Cat Track to previous models, it’s obvious that Marmot’s redesigned pocket structure is perfect. There is a place for everything. And speaking of perfect, the zippers work as expected; flawlessly every time. Even while wearing gloves, the pit zips open easily from either end. They run about ten inches from arm to rib cage and provide an adjustable air-flow to keep you comfortable and dry.
The fleece-like lining around the collar feels much better than traditional lining material if it brushes your neck. And the integrated and detachable hood is truly a game-changer. When cinched down over a helmet with the BOA dial adjustment system, it keeps out the wind gusts while sitting on a chairlift without obstructing your field of vision. Something no other hood has ever done effectively for me. Even the hood fit perfectly. At 5’7 and 150lbs, I found the fit to be spot on. And though other jackets fit perfectly too, Marmot’s stretch fabric make this jacket far more wearable than competitors’ jackets. It moves with you all day long.
Fortunately, the only feature that went untested, is the padded elbow protection. I can’t evaluate its impact absorption abilities, but I can say the removable pads feel nice and add to the burley factor. I looked long and hard for something to dislike about this jacket and finally gave up. If you want a jacket that will hold up in all conditions and perform as well as you do, the only question to ask is: “which color?”
Review by Aaron Sylvester