Marmot Crux

This hardshell is a souped-up version of the lightweight and breathable Essence, a 2014 Editors’ Choice Award-winner, with better coverage and durability.
Price $275.00

Breathability

Marmot’s 2.5-layer NanoPro Membrain employs an air-permeable membrane with millions of heat-venting micropores. Sure, we got sweaty while climbing in the Pacific Northwest in mild, humid weather, but not enough to be uncomfortable. Mesh-backed pockets effectively pinch-hit as vents.

Features

Marmot added polyurethane patches on the shoulders and hips to increase abrasion resistance. We also like the helmet-compatible-yet-close-cinching hood and the generously long sleeves that work well with gloves and kept our baselayers dry. Another upgrade: the addition of two hand pockets.

Fit

Trim but not restrictive, the slightly stretchy Crux accommodates a light puffy underneath. But when worn with just a baselayer, it doesn’t feel like a sail.

Protection

It proved weathertight on Colorado mountain passes, in all-day drenchers in the Mt. Hood Wilderness, and while hanging from a rope deep inside a dripping North Cascades crevasse during rescue training. Minor gripe: A few of us wished for adjustable cuffs to better seal out wind.

Packability

The superlight, 20-denier nylon (a slightly tougher fabric than the Essence’s) crunches to grapefruit size.