If life after Gore-tex is Marmot’s Nabu Jacket, life is good. Yes, there’s still a place for Gore (it’s called Seattle), but for most other places and conditions, the Nabu, which is built with Polartec Neoshell, is it. On one winter hike, the steeper and faster I went the better, in as much sleet and icy fog as nature could toss my way, and I tried extra hard to overwork this coat’s attributes, but it never failed. Job one for Neoshell, much like Mountain Hardwear’s DryQ, is to be air permeable, so that it breathes more efficiently than Gore-Tex, which requires sweat to turn to vapor to escape.
When I was hiking, the Nabu never “wet out” or made base layers feel clammy or caused the down in my vest to clump — the dual chest pockets that double as vents just needed to be opened an inch or so for venting when I was really huffing up the trail. When I was skiing, it provided plenty of wind blocking so I didn’t get gill. There’s extra stretch in the shoulders and something called a “grid back” for extra breathability under a pack — it’s a lot more comfortable than the typical restrictive feel of too many waterproof-breathables.
The Nabu technically is a fall/winter 2014 product, but Marmot previewed it early because it’s such a versatile piece. Good move.