How my Marmot Precip and Membrain waterproof breathable jackets failed

I’ve been a loyal customer of Marmot’s waterpoof, breathable rain jackets for several years. I’m on my third (or fourth?) Marmot rain jacket currently and my wife and daughter have them as well. Everything wears out eventually. Here’s what happened to our most recent ones.

Here’s a photo of the wife’s Precip jacket that’s a few years old (4 years?). There’s significant waterproofing failure around the collar. The waterproof backing is starting to back off elsewhere on the jacket as well.
Marmot Precip jacket failing at the collar

My first Marmot Precip jacket started failing in a similar way, while the exterior jacket would otherwise have plenty of life in it.

So, I tried stepping up to a jacket with the “Marmot Membrain” material, but after a few years, the waterproofing on it stated to failure in the way around the collar, as you see in the next photo. It’s also started to leak a bit the elbows some at this point as well. This jacket is also maybe 4 years old.

How my Marmot Membrain jacket started to fail.
How my Marmot Membrain jacket started to fail.

About a year ago I bought my current rain jacket, the “Marmot Artemis”. It uses the “NanoPro Membrain”. So far there are no significant signs of wear. Also notice that it’s a simpler design that removes the failure-prone collar design.

Inside of Marmot Artemis jacket, about 1 year old

    No collar seen here, no visible wear.

Here’s what I’ve learned about buying a waterproof breathable jacket from my experience:

  • Paying more for a waterproof breathable jacket may be a better value in the end, by providing a product that not only performs better, but is also more durable.
  • It’s just the waterproof/breathable material that determines durability, but also the design.
  • Simpler designs  may end up being worth paying more, as the simplicity may contribute to durability.

I’m tired of the waterproofing layer wearing out well in advance of the rest of the jacket. If I’m not happy with the durability of NanoPro Membrain, I may try a Gore-Tex jacket next, based on it’s reputation for durability. The added cost up front would be offset by the life of the jacket.

I’m also changing my approach to extend the life of these jackets. First, I’m wearing them less frequently when I primarily need a wind-blocking layer. For heavier wind-blocking, I’ll wear my old Marmot Membrain jacket, since the failed waterproofing doesn’t matter for this use. For lighter wind-blocking and light rain I now wear a Patagonia Houdini pullover.  At just 3 oz in weight, it’s surprisingly effective as an outer layer for bike commuting. It also packs so small in its own pocket that is easy to bring along in a handlebar bag as a “bail out jacket” if the weather changes.

  • PeterMike

    Hi, thank you for review, can you tell something about your jacket with NanoPro after 2+ more years how membrain last?

    I’ve bought pants for biking with this membrain but it was few months ago and they are still like new.

    • markstos

      The NanoPro Membrain Jacket is still showing little signs of wear. However, I wear this kind of jacket less than I used to. I’m now more inclined to wear my Patagonia Houdini jacket when I mostly want a wind breaker with light rain protection that’s quick drying. Recently I rode my bike the better part of a 100 mile ride in the rain with temps between 50 and 60F. I was carrying my waterproof/breathable jacket, but I think I would have overheated and sweated in it staying dry more than I wanted. I wore a long sleeve merino wool shirt instead, which did a great job keeping me comfortable in the rain and being warm-when-wet. I’m currently on a 2 week summer bike trip with my family with temps that range from 70F lows to 90+F highs. I didn’t bring my rain jacket (just the Houdini) and my family sent theirs home mid-trip. At these temperatures, getting wet would be welcome, and our cycling outfits would dry out fast anyway.

      I still use the waterproof/breathable jacket for cooler temps and when I need to show up at a function not just comfortable, but dry.

      • PeterMike

        Thank you for reply, i have few tshirts with merino wool they are great! but I have not yet tested them on bike, have to try 🙂
        Have a good vacations with your family.