Upgraded DriClime features Pertex Stretch fabric and up-to-date styling.
Just in is Marmot's new for 2012 Atomic Jacket, which is kind of an 'upgraded DriClime Jacket' with new Pertex Stretch fabric, more contemporary styling and hand-warmer pockets so you can, well, warm your hands really.
DriClime has been around for ages and was one of the earliest takes on combining a windproof outer fabric with a light micro-velour tricot inner - think micro micro-fleece - to give a combination of wind and rain resistance from the outer and a little insulation and wicking ability from the inner fabric. Brilliant in typical British damp and windy conditions.
Feel The Stretch
What makes the Atomic different is that Marmot has used a stretch version of Pertex Quantum windproof fabric and, to match it, a Stretch DriClime Bi-Component wicking lining so the whole jacket can stretch as one unit. To put it in perspective, it's not the most dramatic of stretches and it seems to be two way rather than multi-directional, but it's definitely there.
If you're wondering, the arms stretch lengthways and the torso expands, so you can get away with a really big lunch, maybe. Also new are twin hand-warmer pockets and mesh under-arm panels for additional cooling.
On top of that, styling is a little more contemporary with a short, 'athletic cut' and reflective flashes on the sleeves and under-arms.
Fit And Cut
What we can tell you so far is that for us at least, the fit isn't snug enough that the stretch in the fabric comes into play, though obviously that's all relative to your girth and lunch. That freedom of movement is good. And that the jacket is cut quite short, which is fine for fast-moving stuff, but less walking friendly.
Performance has been bang on for current cool, windy, wet, British spring conditions. The liner wicks brilliantly and the outer is windproof and water resistant enough to cope with medium-level rain showers quite happily. Amusingly, when the wind gets up or you're moving fast, you get a distinct sensation of cold air cutting through the under-arm mesh panels.
The Pertex fabric is decent enough when it comes to breathability, but not as effective as Rab's Vapour-Rise system, which uses a different type of Pertex fabric caleld Equilibrium which has better breathability and wicking, but offers slightly less weather protection. If we were choosing between the two, we'd say go Vapour-Rise if your priority is losing heat or Marmot if outright protection from wind matters more, but both share a surprising ability to cope with wind and rain and then double up as a lightweight mid layer if you do need a full waterproof jacket.
Other factors to consider are that although the hem is adjustable, the cuffs aren't and only roll-up a couple of inches on us - we'd prefer to be able to expose the entire fore-arm for cooling - and that at around 240 grammes, it's nice and light too.
So Far, So Good...
So far then, so good. We're not convinced there are any major performance gains over the non-stretch DriClime Windshirt for example, but it shares the same amazingly versatile performance and arguably looks a bit more modern with it. If the fit is closer on you than us, the stretch fabrics may be a plus as well and, of course, there are also those hand-warmer pockets which we haven't used so far.
We're back-to-backing it through the damp spring with Rab's new Vapour-Rise Lite Alpine and we'll report back fully on both soon. Price of the Atomic Jacket is £110.
More Marmot info at www.marmot.com.