Marmot Red Star Jacket – Performance
At just under 400g, the Red Star kind of hits the target as a lightweight all-rounder. It feels tough enough to give real protection, but not so heavy that you resent carrying it about. It’s a proper mountain shell too with a helmet hood, pit-zips and all the technical trimmings.
Like fellow US jacket, the Black Diamond Helio Shell, the jacket has relatively generous fit that allows for plenty of under-shell insulation in colder conditions, but isn’t loose or flappy. A good call for larger proportioned walkers and climbers. No issues with hem or sleeve lift either.
Breathe Baby, Breathe!
On the move, we were impressed with the breathability of the NanoPro fabric. We tanked up the first long hill of the day expecting the familiar hot, prickly fug, but it never really happened. And if you do push past that point, easy to use, pack-friendly pit-zips and rollable sleeves give effective venting options.
Not quite as effective as Polartec NeoShell, but definitely better than most and a good illustration of just far own-brand fabrics have come over the past few years. It kept us dry in a variety of different rains as well, from drizzle through to full-on deluge stuff. All good.
The hood is mostly good. It has enough adjustability to give good protection with a bare head, with decent peripheral vision and movement with the head plus lower facial coverage too. The upper cheek bones are little exposed from the side though and, in classic North American style of old, the hood peak is quite floppy.
Not an issue when teamed with a helmet, where it does a similarly impressive, unrestrictive gig, but without one, you’ll maybe need to consider using a peaked cap if you want some more shelter from above. Marmot even produces its own version.
Our other minor quibble was with the pockets. The openings sit above belt level no problem, but the pocket bags are very deep and extend to below belt level. That means if you stash something, gloves, bars or whatever in the pockets then remove and refit a pack, the contents sit annoyingly under the pack waist-belt. Not a deal-breaker exactly, but potentially irritating.
Otherwise things work really well. The front zip has classic slick Vislon slickness to it and keeps the water out just fine. The pit-zips are fluid and smooth with glove-friendly pulls and the jacket’s long enough to give a little added notional crotch protection if you’re not wearing waterproof overtrousers.