Being from Seattle, we get asked for rain jacket recommendations a lot, and often steer people to the Marmot PreCip. The reasons for this are fairly simple: the jacket punches well above its $100 price with quality waterproofing, a versatile feature set, and a comfortable, lightweight construction. For daily use, hiking, bike commuting, and just about any other subalpine adventuring, the PreCip is a great choice. Below we break down the Marmot PreCip’s water and wind protection, breathability, weight and packability, durability, fit and sizing, and more. To see how it stacks up to the competition, see our article on the best rain jackets.
As a rain and wind blocker, the Marmot PreCip is a leader in its price range. The jacket is built with a 2.5-layer NanoPro waterproof and breathable shell, which has provided us with solid protection in drenching rain, gusty winds, and even occasional snowfall. To keep moisture from pooling on the jacket and soaking into the outer layer, the PreCip also includes a DWR coating. As we’ve experienced, these coatings can vary in quality, but the jacket has shed Seattle drizzle and mountain rain for multiple seasons. After a little under a year of use, we reapplied the DWR and it has continued to work nearly flawlessly.
Moving beyond the shell fabric, the jacket has other nice touches for keeping the elements at bay. The collar and adjustable hood offer good coverage for the chin, forehead, and sides of the head, although we’d prefer a moldable bill on the hood for even more security in wind (we cover this in more detail in the Features section below). The cuffs secure easily with a Velcro tab for a snug seal, a large flap with Velcro hook and loop closures protects the main zipper, and an additional storm flap on the interior of the zipper provides a second layer of defense against driving rain. Through extended use, we’ve found the PreCip is plenty tough in moderate weather and stacks up very well among competitors like the Patagonia Torrentshell and The North Face Venture 2.
At $100, the PreCip is on the cheaper end of the rain jacket spectrum, so it’s important to understand what you’re giving up. To start, you don’t get high-end touches like water-resistant zippers, although the storm flaps do their job. Secondly, in heavy downpours, the DWR and thin construction can’t keep up and the jacket will start to absorb some moisture into the top layer of the fabric. This doesn’t mean the shell is leaking, but if you’re wearing short sleeves, your arms will feel the cold and wet sensation of the material being pinned up against your skin. These are nitpicks, however, and more a consequence of the lightweight and value-oriented design. Overall, the PreCip is a great defender against nearly all types of rain, wind, and snow—just don’t expect it to perform like a $400 hardshell.
We’ll start by saying that 2.5-layer jackets aren’t renowned for their breathability, and the PreCip is no exception. When you’re working up a sweat, the jacket can feel wet and clammy against your skin. But Marmot has done a great job with its design to maximize your opportunities to stay cool with a smart feature set. To start, the jacket has pit zips for quickly dumping heat. And they’re reasonably protected under the arms, so you’re unlikely to let in rain unless the conditions are very rough. Additionally, the hand pockets, which are protected by small flaps over the zippers, are made of mesh to release even more heat. On the whole, the PreCip can’t touch the breathability of a more expensive 3-layer design, but its creative build gives you a host of options to stay as comfortable as possible while on the go.
The Marmot PreCip feels very light in hand, and the numbers back it up. On our scale, a men’s medium weighs a feathery 10.3 ounces. That’s about an ounce less than its main competition: the Patagonia Torrentshell is 11.3 ounces and The North Face Venture 2 is 11.1 ounces. Among the larger multi-sport and everyday rain shell category, the PreCip stacks up well. Pricier and thicker Gore-Tex Paclite options like the Outdoor Research Foray and Marmot Minimalist may offer better overall weather protection, but the PreCip undercuts them by a significant 5 ounces. And you can shave weight with ultralight designs like the Marmot Essence (6.3 oz.) and Outdoor Research Helium II (6.4 oz.), but you compromise on durability and features like pit zips and pockets. For everyone from backpackers to commuters and travelers, we think the PreCip hits a nice balance in terms of weight.
Not only is the jacket lightweight for carrying in a backpack or suitcase, but with its compact stuff size, it’s easy to squeeze into your bag. The PreCip compresses into its left hand pocket, which includes a two-sided zipper for storage. Depending on how you manipulate the stuff pocket while stowing it away, it’s about the size of a large grapefruit. This puts it on par with the Torrentshell and Venture above, and easily undercuts the Gore-Tex Paclite options. We hesitate recommending the jacket for climbers, however, because the mesh stuff pocket can be torn on rock while attached to a harness. Otherwise, we have no complaints about the Marmot in terms of packability.
The PreCip isn’t built to last a lifetime, but among its lightweight peers, the jacket holds up well. The shell fabric still looks practically new even after numerous backpacking trips, bike commutes, and lots of daily use. And the zippers have been faultless: the large teeth on the center YKK zip is super smooth, and the same goes for the smaller, coil design for the hand pockets. It’s still a lightweight piece so you’ll want to be wary around sharp equipment, but we’ve found the PreCip impressively tough considering its weight and price.
It’s important to note that lightweight jackets like the Marmot PreCip, Patagonia Torrentshell, and The North Face Venture 2 won’t last as long as a more expensive rain jacket or hardshell. The interior coating of its 2.5-layer construction will deteriorate and start to flake after extended use (often after many years). More, as we touched on above, the PreCip’s mesh hand pockets aren’t very resistant to tears. And a final area of concern is the center flap over the main zipper. After a couple of years, the Velcro securing the flap doesn’t hold on all that well anymore. But we still think it’s the superior design at this price point compared with the unsecured flaps used on the Torrentshell and even cheaper Velcro design on the Venture.
Features: Hood and Pockets
As we covered above, the PreCip comes with a quality and very adjustable hood. The design is a little unique: unlike most models that combine the hood and collar into a single piece, the hood of the PreCip is separate and connects to the jacket at the base of the collar. As a result, you can put the hood on and take it off even when it’s zipped all the way up. The hood itself can be adjusted with a Velcro tab at the back and two pull cords on either side at the front. We do prefer hoods that have a toggle cord at the back for securing around the bill, such as what Marmot includes with their pricier Minimalist jacket, but otherwise it’s a solid build. And a final design touch: the hood can be stowed and secured under the collar when not in use.
Lightweight jackets have simple feature sets, and the PreCip is no different. You only get two hand pockets, but they are nicely sized and can store small items if needed. The mesh construction doesn’t make them particularly durable, however, so we wouldn’t recommend storing valuables or objects that may tear through the fabric. Travelers that prefer a chest pocket for securing personal items may be disappointed, but it’s likely only a small compromise for most users.
Matching its versatile design and feature set, the PreCip has a nice, regular fit. We ordered our usual medium size and found that it was comfortable, if not a little roomy, when wearing a thin baselayer. Mobility still was excellent, and we had no issues when adding a lightweight down jacket or fleece jacket underneath. The hem cinches with a single drawcord at the right side, which can bunch up the hem a little in that direction if pulled tight. We consider this a fine tradeoff given the weight of the jacket, however, and don’t think it takes away from its everyday appeal.
What We Like
- Excellent mix of price, weather protection, and weight.
- The versatile design: all the features you need in an everyday rain jacket, plus the pit zips and small stuffed size make it great for hiking and backpacking.
- Quality hood design with plenty of adjustability, and you can stow the hood away under the collar when not in use.
What We Don’t
- Heavy rainfall can make the liner can feel clammy, but this is true of nearly all 2.5-layer rain jackets.
- Velcro used for protecting the main zipper feels a little cheap and can lose its stickiness over time.
- Interior coating will eventually start to break down (typically after many years of use).
|Marmot PreCip||$100||10.3 oz.||Hiking/daily use||2.5L NanoPro||Yes||Yes|
|Patagonia Torrentshell||$129||11.3 oz.||Hiking/daily use||2.5L H2No||Yes||Yes|
|The North Face Venture 2||$99||11.1 oz.||Hiking/daily use||2.5L Dryvent||Yes||Yes|
|Marmot Minimalist||$189||15.1 oz.||Hiking/daily use||2.5L Gore-Tex||Yes||No|
|Outdoor Research Foray||$215||15.1 oz.||Hiking/daily use||2.5L Gore-Tex||Yes||Yes|
As we touched on above, the Marmot PreCip is an easy jacket to recommend due to its excellent combination of price and performance. As a result, it’s a very popular choice in the rainy Pacific Northwest. But it’s certainly not alone—right up there in terms of popularity is Patagonia’s Torrentshell. The two jackets have a lot of common: 2.5-layer constructions, similar levels of weather protection, pit zips, and two hand pockets. Fit-wise, the Torrentshell isn’t as roomy in the torso as the PreCip, but we have no issues wearing various thicknesses of mid and baselayers under either jacket (for more information, see our Torrentshell review). Both can fend off a rainstorm well, but we prefer the PreCip’s larger storm flap over the center zipper (the 2-flap design of the Patagonia isn’t held in place with Velcro). More, the PreCip is the better ventilator with its mesh hand pockets providing a nice compliment to the pit zips. The clincher for us is price: the Torrentshell costs $29 more, but unless you prefer its fit, we give the clear edge to the PreCip.
The North Face Venture 2 is another long-time competitor of the PreCip. As with the Torrentshell, the jacket is a good option for everyday use, travel, and outdoor activities like hiking and backpacking. It weighs about the same as the PreCip and includes features like an adjustable hood, two hand pockets, and pit zips. Our issue with the Venture is that it feels cheap. Both jackets cost $100, but the PreCip just doesn’t have the same entry-level feel. The Venture’s main zipper isn’t as smooth, the Velcro feels cut-rate, and the bulky fit doesn’t offer as good of mobility. Overall, unless you can get a screaming deal on the Venture 2, we find the PreCip to be the superior $100 jacket.
If you’re in need of more durability and weather protection, you may want to consider a Gore-Tex Paclite design like the Marmot Minimalist or Outdoor Research Foray. These shells have more substantial face fabrics, and as a consequence won’t get pinned against your skin as easily in heavy rain. More, they won’t break down as quickly as the budget-friendly Marmot. The downsides are that the Minimalist and Foray are about twice the cost of the PreCip, weigh an additional 5 ounces, and don’t pack down nearly as small. If you want a thicker build or are making a long-term investment, we certainly wouldn’t blame you for choosing either the Minimalist or Foray. But for daily wear and activities like hiking and backpacking, the PreCip is hard to beat.