I got turned onto the Marmot DriClime Catalyst Jacket last year when I was winter backpacking in the White Mountains. Several very experienced hikers on our trip had the DriClime Catalyst and they raved about it. So when I saw it on sale a few months ago, I snatched it up.
My plan is to mainly use the Catalyst Jacket for winter hiking and backpacking, so I can replace two other garments, my Gore-tex rain shell and a Polarguard vest which I cobbled together last year to serve the same purpose. The problem with that system was that I sweated underneath it when I had to wear a pack and snowshoe at the same time, which is most of the time, in these parts.
Whenever you carry a backpack in winter, sweat accumulates on your back under your pack. What you need is a layering system that will wick that moisture away from your skin because you burn extra calories to evaporate moisture if it is touching your body. That’s one reason why you get so run down in winter during active sports.
What I like best about the DriClime Catalyst Jacket is it’s wicking liner, which is a thin, gossamer material that lines the entire jacket, including the arms and collar. It’s soft to the touch, but very porous, so it can transport sweat to the outer layer of the jacket where it can evaporate.
I tested the jacket’s wicking capabilities this past weekend by carrying a full pack on a 10 mile hike for 6 hours and 2,750 ft of elevation gain in 40 F temperatures, dropping to freezing above treeline. I stopped frequently to check whether the inside of the jacket’s lining felt wet and was amazed that it wasn’t.
Weight-wise the jacket is 14.9 oz in an XL, saving me a few ounces of gear weight and a little backpack space. In addition to the liner, it has a good DWR to keep me dry in light rain and mist, two lined zippered pockets, a lined collar, and a zippered chest pocket large enough to store a hat or map.The external fabric is polyester with stretchy panels along the side of the jacket, along the underside of the arms, and up the sides of the back. These help eliminate extra fabric and make the jacked more form-fitting for active use, but don’t make it a tight fit. At most, I will wear two Capilene 1 jerseys under it, and since these are thin, I still have plenty of space and freedom of movement.
For $110, I feel that this jacket is a good buy and I’m looking forward to living in it this winter.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
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