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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2013

Gear Review: Marmot Nabu Softshell

The waterproof Marmot Nabu bridges the gap between softshell and hardshell.

by: Ted Alvarez and Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

Marmot Nabu (Courtesy)
Marmot Nabu (Courtesy)

Stay dry and warm with these shell options
“This is one of the few softshells I would actually take backpacking,” says our Grand Canyon tester. “Most softshells aren’t totally weatherproof and are heavy for their functionality—but the Nabu can substitute for a hardshell in cool to cold weather with no compromises.” That combination of airiness and protection kept testers comfortable in everything from windstorms in Montana to autumn downpours in Utah to snowy, subfreezing conditions in Arizona. The secret sauce is a new formulation of NeoShell that Polartec developed with Marmot: a stretchy, waterproof/breathable softshell backed with a silkweight, wicking, gridded liner (the grid leaves more room for air, adding extra insulation and enhancing breathability).

Testers reported the combo delivered unhindered mobility, a touch of warmth, and a cozy next-to-skin effect: “No plastic bag feel here.” (Caveat: The liner tends to stick to fleecy baselayers at the armpits and sleeves.) “When the skies opened, this shell protected me like a personal picnic shelter,” says one tester who wore the seam-taped Nabu in Utah’s Zion, Capitol Reef, and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Gripes: The extended neck on the “scuba-style” hood choked testers when the jacket was fully zipped, the hood brim crept forward to interfere with upward vision, and it’s heavy for warm-weather use. $325; 1 lb. 5 oz.;

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