As winter tried to hang onto its last bits of wind and snow in some parts of the country, the SNEWS® editors took Marmot's Reyna women's jacket out into some of the elements. Part of the company's M1 series, the soft shell jacket is made of Polartec Windbloc fabric made for such winter-chasing-spring conditions.
The jacket straddles the line of winter and spring functionality -- good as a layering piece when the Fahrenheit drops or on its own for warmer conditions like spring bluebird ski days. It fit our testers well and had a feminine cut that hugged the body, helping to hold body heat and keep the core warm. The sleeves were a bit baggy, but didn't prove to be a detriment. It's cut longer in the back to offer extra protection and keep backsides drier.
Rain just rolled off the outer fabric, barely beading up before it almost immediately went away, and snow also dissipated quickly off the outer shell. Additionally, our women testers reported that the fabric was extremely stretchy, offering a wide range of motion.
The Reyna has adjustable Velcro cuffs that can be loosened or tightened as needed. On colder days, when trying to keep snow and wind from sneaking between the cuff and gloves, one tester said she cinched the cuffs down and tucked them into her gloves for a seal. When it was warmer, she could loosen the cuffs to their full opening for additional venting.
The jacket comes with an attached hood that's said to be helmet-compatible. When one tester was caught in a snowstorm and rushed to cover her head, she found that the hood covered her eyes and nose, blocking visibility – not exactly ideal with skiing. Luckily, the hood has a Velcro adjustment tab on the back that can be repositioned with one hand, and she was able to get the hood brim to sit higher to the forehead. It then fit well over the ski helmet and didn't cause the jacket to bunch up. But, when she tried to zip up the collar above the chin with the helmet on, it made the jacket uncomfortably tight on the face, and it didn't zip up the entire way anyway.
The jacket has two outer hand-warmer pockets lined with fleece and one inner zippered pocket, mainly to hold smaller items so then can't accommodate larger stuff like ski goggles. The two outer pockets were placed higher and slanted to not interfere with pack straps and a hip belt. The Reyna also has underarm pit zips for venting and an elastic draw cord hem for adjustability.
One fault our testers found was with the jacket’s reputed wind resistance and claim to offer the "highest level of warmth and thermal protection" in cold conditions. As the solo outer piece with a base layer underneath, one tester said it didn't hold up on particularly windy, cold days. She could feel the wind making its way through the jacket. Another tester also commented the jacket didn’t hold off the chill wind while hiking in blustery weather. On warmer days, it performed much better and our testers didn't overheat during strenuous activity. One tester reported when she wore a shell over the Reyna it functioned much better on colder days.
Our tests revealed that the Reyna jacket leans more toward being breathable than windproof, so it’s best used in moderate, more spring-like conditions that are not extremely cold and windy. You’ll need to keep a close watch on the forecast and pack an additional shell if a cold blast could be headed your way. Marmot should also take another look at the hood design, because our tester’s inability to zip up the jacket fully while wearing a helmet was a real concern.
SNEWS® Rating: 3.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $230