Marmot Men's Avant Featherless Hoody Review

Toasty synthetic warmth for year-round mountain adventures!

Puffies are my favorite jackets and probably my favorite apparel! I own 4 different puffy jackets now, I wear them year-round, and if you see me in the wild there's a good chance I have one on. Warm puffy jackets keep me cozy from Colorado's cold summer mountain nights to Alaska's sub-zero tundra, especially when layered together! Their light weight and compressibility allow me to take all my camera gear and push farther into the backcountry. So when I was asked to test the Marmot Avant Featherless Hoody it wasn't really a question! I spent the past few weeks trying my new jacket out in all sorts of winter conditions on backcountry hut trips, alpine skiing, around town, and on cold dog park visits. 


I tested the Avant exclusively in my home state of Colorado up to elevations near 13,000 ft. in a range of weather from -5℉ (-20.6℃) and dumping snow to sunny and 55 ℉(12.8℃). During that time I really came to love the puffy for its warmth, durability, and ability to excel on each of my adventures. On hut trips I typically head out into the night with a big puffy jacket and pants to photograph starry skies over the cabin but on both of these trips I substituted larger puffy for the mid-weight Avant. Filled with synthetic insulation the equivalent to 700 fill power down it kept out the cold nicely while standing still at 5℉ (-15℃) when worn with puffy pants. Below that temperature I started to feel the cold unless I got moving to generate more heat. While skiing a full day at Copper Mountain I was almost perfect from the cold snowy morning to the sunny blue-bird afternoon; I briefly got hot when working harder in steep moguls and north facing back bowls. It's definitely too warm for me to wear when skinning uphill, but I'm usually only wearing a thin shell or base-layer at that point.

The 3M Thinsulate Featherless Insulation filling the jacket is made of 75% recycled material, stays warmer than down when wet, and is an animal-friendly alternative to down. Another advantage to this jacket is the insulation doesn't drift like down and the jacket baffles are weaved vs sewn meaning the seams are well...more seamless (and durable!). The tough 20D shell material is very wind resistant, sheds snow quite well, and survives the nails of jumping dogs. 


It has a slightly stretchy athletic fit to it that works well under my backcountry ski soft-shell but is a little tight under my rain shell. Like all synthetics it's not quite as compressible as down and doesn't perfectly mimic that "wearing air" feeling of down.


While I normally wear a size small I went with a medium for better layering underneath. I probably would have been happy with the small but the mediums long length is especially nice for skiing and fits all my helmets as well. It seems a small amount heavier than a comparable warmth down jacket but the difference is hard to tell. I chose a darker color to wear it as my "classy" puffy around town, and the minimal branding and complimentary color-toned zippers help with that. The pocket zippers work well but are standard coils which I've had mixed luck with on durability. I especially appreciate the large pockets for carrying camera accessories, lenses, gloves, and dog leashes. The chest pocket easily holds my iPhone 7+ and bluetooth earbuds without feeling stuffed or bulky. Unfortunately, it took a lot of work to get into its left-hand stuff-pocket and I worry repeated attempts would over compress the insulation; just like a synthetic sleeping bag, you shouldn't store it long that way. I'm happy they payed attention to the small details like cinchable waist bands with in-pocket pulls and secondary zipper pull for the stuff-pocket.

Overall I'm thrilled with the Marmot Avant. It's a tough and toasty mid-weight jacket that will become my go-to for most winter adventures!

PSA: Help the environment and fight climate change! Consider your requirements before every purchase and only buy what you need. Look at second-hand markets, repair what you have, and spend more if it means you'll be buying a product that lasts longer!

Published: January 27, 2019

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Jason HatfieldExplorer

Denver

Adventure and travel photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. I teach photography workshops and offer private guiding around the west. More at jasonjhatfield.com

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