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Marmot Men's Hyperlight Down Jacket Review

In the winter in Colorado’s mountains three things are true: It will be cold, it will be windy, and will definitely be windy.

By: Eric Schuette + Save to a List

Because of these extreme conditions I have high expectations and specific needs for jackets when trudging through the snow in the dark for a sunrise or staying out late catching the last light hitting the peaks. I was sent the new Marmot Hyperlight Down Jacket to get an idea of how it would respond in those types of conditions.

It is insulated with a combination of lofty 800-fill goose down and Marmot’s Thermal R 80 gram synthetic insulation so it seemed like it would be plenty warm. This is a great combination to have in more intense environments as the natural down provides you with a high warmth-to-weight ratio while the synthetic fill ensures reliable warmth if it gets wet from blowing snow or rain. However, the Hyperlight uses snap closures vs a zipper and did not have a hood, which had me concerned about wind and functionality in extreme conditions. I spent the next few weeks taking it on various sunrise missions in the rocky mountains to really test it out and was very impressed.

Because of nervousness with the wind and the snap closures I planned to primarily use this jacket as a mid-layer. However, to really test it out I used it as an outer-layer on mornings that had winds gusting to 60-70 mph (per the national weather service, not my wild guess) with wind chills below zero. Even out on frozen lakes exposed to the full force of winter’s fury, I honestly did not notice any more wind getting through the Hyperlight than any other jacket I wear in the winter. To make matters better, I found I could operate the snaps with my heavy liners quite easily. 

Although much trickier with mittens on, heavy liners would work just fine to operate. As I stated above the snap closures were a little concerning upon receiving the jacket but performed very well in extreme conditions. The other concern I had about it being used as an outer layer was the lack of hood. However, I found the collar to be very effective keeping the blowing snow from entering the jacket. This was true in a variety of awkward positions laying on ice and around the entire collar. With its performance in pretty extreme conditions along with the completely recycled polyester ripstop fabric I could see this jacket working fine in the proper layering system as an outer layer.

In addition to the warmth and performance in extreme conditions, I also really appreciated the pockets. The pockets are Polartec® Alpha® Direct-lined, which essentially means it's like putting your hands in a warm bubble wrap. I'm a fan of this often little-thought-about area of the jacket. They also put in a zippered chest pocket, which works pretty much like one would expect. As far as sizing goes, it does run a little big. I usually go between a medium or small in jackets with most of my winter jackets a medium for layering. The Hyperlight ran a little big and although I tried a medium it didn’t fit right. A small fit much better, just keep that in mind while ordering.

Marmot mentions on their website that this jacket works well in both the mountains and down in town in the cold. After testing this jacket in some pretty intense situations I would have to agree. With a shirttail hem it looks at home hitting the local watering hole after an adventure as it does on the adventure. For the mountains, this jacket would work great as a very warm mid-layer or work well as an outer layer on all but the most extreme days. At only 12.4 ounces it’s easy to throw it in the pack and decide which you would prefer as you break tree line! It will certainly be an important part of my layering system for many seasons to come.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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