Marmot Alpha linned jacket

Discussion in 'Clothing & Footwear' started by slovhike, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. slovhike

    slovhike Thru Hiker

    Wonder if this alpha linned jaket from Marmot could be the gold standard (Rab Vapour rise, Buffalo pertex/pile, Marmot Driclime) killer? I love how breathable is Alpha as stand alone and the fact it can be used in similar fasion if windshirt is added but there are times when you would want one garmet to fit the need and work in wider temperature range?
    edh likes this.
  2. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    Not sure how Alpha 60 compares to Direct but I’ve been very happy with my Montane Hydrogen so far
    slovhike likes this.
  3. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    Alpha 60 looks like 90% mesh. Image from Ice Climbing Japan: clockwise from top left, four versions of Alpha: 60, 80, 100 and 120gm/m2. I would seriously question the ability of this jacket to go up against the "gold standard" mentioned.

    Last edited: May 28, 2020
    JKM and slovhike like this.
  4. craige

    craige Thru Hiker

    I thought I'd give the theory a try in October on a trip with my norrona alpha raw and MH Kor preshell (pertex quantum air, same fabric as the marmot 60) in heavy rain... I got very wet :hilarious:
    The dwr in the Kor kinda sucks, wets out very quickly. After half an hour I was wet, soon after I was drenched, and then the rain got even heavier :asshat: thankfully I was hiking fast enough to stay warm.
  5. tja

    tja Backpacker

    I’ve got a size L that weighs 283 grams a couple of weeks ago. The lining now looks more like the alpha 80 in the photo, I guess the “dots” get more fluffy with use. Not used it trekking yet but worn it with a t-shirt inside and outside running errands on bike and walking the dog at about 5C. Still wondering how the pertex shell will hold up to a backpack. The hood fits snugly, sleeves are long enough, it cuts the wind and keeps me warm enough when active. On sale at and (limited sizes, depending on colour), search for “alpha”.
    slovhike likes this.
  6. tja

    tja Backpacker

    Ah, it hadn’t even occurred to me to use the Marmot in real rain, without a rainshell it maybe stands up to heavy mist or a slight drizzle. Not a great believer in DWR against real rain.
  7. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    - exactly the principle Buffalo works on :angelic:
    slovhike likes this.
  8. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Buffalo Pile shirt is an entirely different beast to the Vapour-Rise & Dri-Clim.
    Buffalo do make a shirt/smock that is similar to the ones mentioned but it's not a Pile shirt like you mentioned.
    slovhike likes this.
  9. craige

    craige Thru Hiker

    I thought the pile was supposed stop you getting properly soaked? Similar to paramo but not quite as effective and warmer.
    slovhike likes this.
  10. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    You can get as wet in Buffalo as anything else - it is not waterproof - but if you keep active then the moisture will wick away and evapourate by body heat. The wicking is very effective :thumbsup:.
    In on/off rain (= UK weather :angelic:) - you dry off between showers and don't need a hard shell.
    If it's peeing down consistently then a hard shell is a good idea IMHO.

    Tracksterman had an incident where he fell thru' a snow bridge and got soaked in freezing water - he did a rapid hike to the nearest bothy ~15 mins away - by the time he got there his Buffalo was almost completely dry. Kind of "does what it says on the tin" :smuggrin:.

    Downside is the weight of Buffalo. If the same could be achieved at a lower weight then :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:.
    slovhike likes this.
  11. craige

    craige Thru Hiker

    Yeah, that's more or less what I had in my head. The alpha/kor combo does NOT work like that. Ok for light showers but not heavy ones. It definitely doesn't wick the moisture out like I thought it might, even before the rain was really heavy. To be fair though, hiking from loch Coruisk to Sligachan, mostly in the dark with swollen rivers and truly torrential rain... I don't think there is much that would've kept me mostly dry. I must've looked like I'd come out of a bath.

    See, that's really impressive and really the kind of thing I hoped for. Unfortunately alpha and kir isn't the answer. Maybe something like pertex equilibrium would help?

    Weight and (excessive) warmth is why I wouldn't buy a buffalo shirt for 3 season use.
    cathyjc likes this.
  12. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    But you were warm whilst moving :thumbsup:, and that is of primary concern in such very wet circumstances.
  13. Foxster

    Foxster Section Hiker

    Well, yes, but you have to stop at some point and being wet and cold is miserable then and no matter how wicking an item is its still going to be well damp.

    Surely it's better just not to get soaked in the first place and have some kinda shell?
  14. craige

    craige Thru Hiker

    Well, yes. But I am generally a very warm person. It was ~ 6°C and I was wearing shorts and tshirt with norrona and Kor on top. My mate had fleece and rainshell with heavy gloves and was close to hypothermia when we got to Sligachan.
    Agreed, I can stay warm fairly easily, as I said to Cathy. Someone only slightly colder than my buddy would've been in real trouble, or if we hadn't gone to a campsite with warm shower he might've been.

    I did have a shell, I was experimenting... knew I would be fine and by the time I realised it wasn't working as well as I thought I was soaking anyway and when it got even heavier I thought "what's the point".
    cathyjc likes this.
  15. Padstowe

    Padstowe Thru Hiker

    Buffalo Tec-lite & active-lite are more akin to vapour rise imo, Rab C used to be a designer with buffalo before he launched Rab after all.
    I have both a special 6 & an active lite shirt, two completely different beasts. I'd have no problem wearing the S6 all day in the rain & chuck on a insulation jacket at stops, wouldn't do the same with the active-lite.
    The outer on the active-lite also seems to pile much more easier than pertex, wish I had of got a tec-lite now but they are nearly double the price than they where when I got mine. :(
    edit: I also have a Rab flux vapour rise pull on which is used more than the active-lite these days. May just chuck the active-lite over to a work top as I did with a crappy icebreaker top I got years back.
  16. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Yes, better not to get wet - I would put a hardshell on if I thought the rain was going to be persistent.
    But you cannot always plan for this - see Tracksterman incident above.

    And yes, you have to stop - at which point you, hopefully, have reached camp/shelter and it's time to change into dry stuff.
  17. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    There was a long thread on bpl discussing fleece/windproof combos that if you were generating enough heat would leave you drier than a wpb jacket with its limited breathability. The fleece the fabric expert recommend was one of the polartec grid types, my montane allez is pretty close and wicks very well. The windproof to work had to meet a spec of 300mm HH and 30cfm breathability. I believe there are currently no ultralight windproof s that meet that spec. I bought a MH kor preshell as it seemed the closest to the specs I could find. The dwr on my very lightly used is excellent, but apparently the dwr has little to no effect on HH which seems to be down to the weave.
    I too hoped alpha would work under a windshield but perhaps a grid is the thing to use.
    cathyjc likes this.
  18. Lempo

    Lempo Thru Hiker

    EE Copperfield 7D is 35cfm.
  19. craige

    craige Thru Hiker

    Which I also have (unused). I'll maybe need to try it with my haglofs LIM powerstrech hoodie.
  20. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    I have an old Golite windshirt that weighs 90g in XL. Is this out of date tech or is it breathable enough to pair up with something like the haglofs LIM powerstretch hoodie to work?
  21. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    That thread I think gave some DIY ways to guestimate HH and CFM, I think HH was if you can put a mug of water into the fabric and give it a squeeze without more than a few weeps coming through your >300mm, the cfm was comparing it to blowing through coffee filters or something. My decathlon windproof is >300mm but as with a lot of them<<30cfm.
    Quantum air I think is ~20 CFM and my preshell passes the two cup test.
    I've yet to test it with an allez under it.
    Rog Tallbloke likes this.
  22. Cali

    Cali Backpacker

    Alpha Direct combos are mostly about the face fabric choice. I have three (Marmot Alpha 60, Strafe Alpha Direct Insulator, OR Ascendant).

    The Ascendent is 95g alpha paired with Pertex Microlight. Microlight has very low air permeability. Great for wind resistance, but not breathable. Under exertion I get significant puddling in the chest pocket and upper arms. Strafe, on the other hand, is 90g alpha paired with a highly breathable (Recon Air) face fabric. It's my favorite due to warmth for weight and high breathability. The Marmot 60 also uses a breathable face (Quantum Air) and works especially well in moderately cool temps.

    None of these, however, are really intended as rain jackets. They will all handle drizzly conditions, but will need a WPB shell over with any real rain. I often use as midlayer in cool, rainy weather, outer in dry or drizzly weather.

    I like the Marmot Alpha 60 enough that I recently picked up a second on sale for $70. Find it to be a versatile piece in a layering system.

    Haven't tried an alpha raw piece with wind shell yet. Wanted to try Macpac Nitro with my BD Alpine Start, but they don't ship to USA.
  23. Gordon

    Gordon Trail Blazer

    I have a number of lightweight windshirts, but still like the Buffalo Curbar at 276 grms - pertex equilibrium: very breathable and superb venting by side zips. Looking forward to pairing this with the Nitro - which is on it's way. Also want to try it + the Nitro + Aether smock: may well be too warm.
    cathyjc likes this.
  24. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I've had my eye on a Curbar. I would be interested in how it works out in combo.
    Gordon likes this.
  25. slovhike

    slovhike Thru Hiker

    Thanks @Cali Its a shame most companies use not as breathable shell fabric killing the idea of Alpha. True there are different wind/temp. conditons thus so many variables. But I dont see the point claiming Alpha breaths and you kill that with "plastic bag".

    What I was trying to provoke a discussion if alpha linned garments (windshirts) are new direction of Pertex/pile or Micropile shelled jackets which as per Andy here ( are the true softshells.

    @Chiseller I reckon Pertex/pile or Micropile/Pertex (pertex used here as generic name for any windresistant breathable fabrics used as shell) work on the same priciple. Body heat pushing the sweat away from the skin with pile/micropile helping do disperse water particles over wider area and thus speed the evaporation. With Alpha which is even more breathable as fabric itself and the pile it has I was thinking the Alpha/Pertex would work even the true softshell above is developing with "latest" fabric in the industry?

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