Marmot Urban Tech Winter 2014

It’s time for the second Webtogs First Look of 2014, and it’s not a single product but a whole product collection – Marmot Urban Tech.

As you may have gleaned from the name, the concept behind the Urban Tech line is that it brings outdoor tech to users in more urban environs, and in that at least, it’s a success. As a range, Marmot Urban Tech is not a new phenomenon, but there are a few new additions for winter 2014/15. It’ll also be a new addition to the Webtogs product collection should we decide to stock it over future seasons, so it’d be great to get some opinions on what people think of it

The Marmot Rep introduces Women’s Urban Tech

First out, unlike ‘lifestyle’ or ‘urban’ type products from other brands, the quality of fabrics, technologies and fills used in Urban Tech products is on a par with other active/performance Marmot products. For example, the down used in all down-filled Urbantech products is 700 fill power, compared to the typical 550 and 600 fill down used in lifestyle down products by the biggest player in the outdoor lifestyle market, The North Face, and a great deal better quality than any down you’ll find outside on the high street. Marmot use their Membrain waterproof fabric in selected Urbantech products too, a very effective waterproof technology found on a number of their best-selling outdoor shells, and more than adequate for urban downpours. Synthetic insulation comes in the form of their Thermal R in-house insulation technology, again deemed good enough for use in a whole range of Marmot’s outdoor clothing, gloves and sleeping bags.

Internal detailing of the Marmot Men’s Njord Jacket (below) demonstrating the quality of fabrics used

Internal detailing of the marmot Njord jacket

Build quality is exceptional, and it’s obvious as soon as you get your hands on any Urbantech jacket that Marmot have gone to great lengths to give the range a truly premium finish, rather than just a premium price point. Zips, poppers and buttons ooze sturdiness and attention to detail, and face and liner fabrics include a range of appealing textures and weaves. I don’t mean to discredit one of the nation’s favourite outdoor brands, but I really can’t put into words how much better quality Marmot Men’s Telford Jacket is, for example, than similarly-priced The North Face Gotham Jacket; or how big an improvement the Marmot Women’s Montreaux Coat is over its TNF near-equivalent, the Metropolis Parka. Just from looking at the spec. sheet, Marmot comes out on top in the case of both comparisons, but it’s the quality of the Urban Tech products that really sets them apart from the competition. It’s something that’s hard to convey that through writing, even with the aid of photos.

Marmot montreaux Coat stats

As the table (right) shows, the Marmot Montreaux has more features, better fabrics, better, and more fill than The North Face Metropolis, and all for £20 less? But then it doesn’t have a TNF Logo on it. Figures aside, the tangible quality of Marmot Urban Tech’s materials and finish sets it apart.


Marmot Women's Pip Skirt

Didn’t take any pictures of this down skirt – too busy laughing

Unfortunately, most of the people who buy lifestyle products from outdoor brands are more concerned with the logo on the chest/sleeve than with the quality of the finish and materials (no offense intended – I know there are lots of exceptions)… so as long as Marmot continue to sit comparatively quietly in the UK market, ticking over on a negligible marketing budget, it’s unlikely that Marmot’s Urbantech products are going to get the widespread recognition they deserve. But that shouldn’t stop you considering one if you’re looking for a high quality, high performance, and bearing that in mind, very reasonably-priced coat for wearing in the city. Admittedly there are a couple items in the line that look decidedly un-stylish, a down-insulated skirt for example (really!), but most of the others look great.

The Marmot Men’s Zurich Parka – this photo doesn’t do justice to quite how huge it is

The Marmot Zurich Parka

Stand-out items from Men’s Urban Tech for me, were the Zurich Parka and the Njord Jacket. The Zurich sits at the top of the range, an enormously warm down insulated, double-zipped, waterproof fortress of a jacket that would keep the wearer alive and still looking dapper in the teeth of a New York winter storm. Packed with a huge quantity of 700 fill down, and decked out with features like an internal zippered vest, knitted rib-lined collar and cuffs, and magnetic snaps on exterior pockets, the Zurich is an unashamedly luxury coat, with fabrics that would not look out of place in a high-end tailor’s window. The Zurich will come in at an RRP of £500. Expensive, yes, but worth it, I would argue.

Closer look at the double zip and knitted, ribbed collar of the Zurich

Collar detail of the Marmot Zurich Parka

The Njord, though not quite as heavily insulated as the Zurich, is still filled with a large quantity of 700 fill down, is waterproof, and contains many similar features, rib-knitted cuffs and collar included. This is exactly the sort of jacket that would look great over a suit for work appointments away from the office, or for more formal social occasions. Marmot Rep, Hugh, had a Njord Jacket on when myself and Kieth met him for dinner on the night prior to our meeting. We both agreed that it was ideal for the occasion. At £340 the Njord is not cheap, but does sit in McMurdo Parka territory. When you look at it like that, it starts to seem like much better value for money.

Internal detailing of the marmot Njord jacket

A look into the inside of the Marmot Men’s Njord jacket, showing neat pocket detailing

Out of the women’s Urbantech range, I found the Chelsea Coat and Montreaux coat to be the nicest, largely due to their fairly traditional yet elegant design. The Montreaux is a long, down-insulated jacket for cold weather wear, similar to, yet sturdier and more luxurious than a TNF Metropolis Parka (see comparison of stats in table up the page). The Chelsea is similar in length and style, yet protected by Marmot’s Membrain waterproof face fabric, its smaller down baffles visible only from the inside. The Montreaux and Chelsea are competitively priced at £230 and £280 respectively.

The Marmot Women's Montreaux Coat, winter 2014 colourway

The Marmot Women’s Montreaux Coat, winter 2014 colourway

The Marmot Women's Chelsea Coat

The Marmot Women’s Chelsea Coat

I know this post hasn’t been about the usual super-techy outdoor kit we often focus on, so if you’ve read this far, I salute you. To round up, in its field, Marmot Urban Tech is actually extremely good. It may not have the brand-appeal of The North Face or high street fashion giants, but in terms of the quality of its build and materials, it outclasses them all.