Eventhough I haven’t, sadly, been able to try out my down clothes in real winter conditions, I’ll put up here some of my observasions on them.
First of all – as usual in this kind of postings is – some words that Marmot has to say about these:
Our warmest baffled down protection makes the 8000M Parka the one to choose for guaranteed warmth in bitter weather on the world’s highest peaks.
Could be true, haven’t tried out myself… yet 😉
Then some features by Marmot:
Both Parka and Pants
- Marmot MemBrain® Waterproof/Breathable Fabric
- 800 Fill Power Goose Down (minimum fill)
- Baffled Construction
- Stuff and Storage Sack Included
Reinforced Shoulders and Elbows
Elastic Draw Cord Waist and Hem
Gripper Elastic Powder Skirt
Adjustable Velcro®/Elastic Cuffs
Zippered Handwarmer Pockets
Attached Hood with Drawcord Hood Muff
Down-Filled Draft Tube
Reinforced Seat and Knees
Waist Closure w/Snap
Lycra® Front and Back Panel with Adjustable Suspenders
Full Side Zips
2 Interior Velcro® Closure Pockets
Insulated Draft Tube
Insulated Kidney Panel
Ok… the feature set sees quite nice. How about weight then? On the Marmot website the 8000m Parka is said weight 1389g and the 8000m Pants somewhat less at 935g. Well, checking this is quite easy, just toss them on the scales and read the measure. I just did that and got 1258g for the Parka and 976g for the Pants. Don’t know what that over 100g difference on the jackets weight means. Does it have less down in it or what? I just sent Marmot a message about this. I’ll let you know later what they answered. I believe the pants are ok as they weighted more than said on the specs so my nuts won’t be freezing then 😀
Enough for now about the boring figures. Let’s have a look at the looks of them. Surprisingly, you can get the Parka in colour bonfire/fire and also as black, but for the Pants your only option is the bonfire/fire. I do not quite follow the logics in this. Why would someone want to have a black jacket with orange pants? Wouldn’t look too nice, would it? The other way around – with black pants and orange jacket – it would make much more sense. I know someone could buy only the Parka, but still. Well… maybe Marmot know better what looks nice and what not. I have received some disgracing comments on my fashion taste from the wife of yours truly. Or should I say tastless when it comes into fashion?
The Marmot 8000m Parka has attached hood, which means you cannot detached it. Some could say this is a con, but I think it is on the plus side. First of all, if you have a detachable hood, it also means that you can loose it. Just take it off for a while and – bang – wind catches it and it is hundreds of meters off in mere seconds. Or you can just forget it somewhere… worst of all you could forget it at home, just when you would need it most. I really don’t think that an attached hood will make you any more cumbersome than you are ever when wearing these nor does it limit your movements in any way. Probably in the situations where you need these kind of clothings you don’t really need to do your best yoga poses at any rate.
One important thing you want from a jacket are pockets. Where else would you put your hands when it gets nippy cold. The Marmot 8000m Parka features two large external pockets on bottom of the jacket and two almost equally large inside pockets one on each side.
On winter trips or at high altitude you have to keep yourself very well hydrated or you’ll soon render yourself useless and later senseless. As it will be freaking cold anywhere you would take these pieces of down clothing, you don’t want to drink any ice chilled mocha, but want instead nice and warm liquid to warm you also from the inside. No matter how good and warm these pieces of winter luxury are they won’t do any good for you unless you keep yourself warm first. This is where the big pockets come into play. All four of these pockets are large enough shove in a Thermos or a water bottle like I have in the above pictures. I think the pockets are that large that you could put even two bottles into one pocket with bit of a tug. I wouldn’t want walk around carrying all those 8 bottless and 8 kilos of liquid anywhere, though. But you could 🙂
Small but important part are also the bells’n’whistles which would here incorporate into zip and cord pulls. On Marmot 8000m Parka and Pants these are not any flimsy second rate zips, instead you get some sturdy, free flowing zips that you won’t break easily. The coarse toothing on the zips makes them durable indeed and they lock solidly shut. The zip pullers are also nicely large so that you can grab them even with gloves on. The Parka front zip and upper pullers on Pant side zips also have a small pull cord attached by default, but the other zips don’t. You might want to put cords also into these other zip pullers as even though they are large, but they aren’t that large that you wouldn’t need to use a bit of focusing when fumbling with them with your gigantic expedition gloves on. The Marmot Pant side zip is opened only from bottom to top, so you’ll have to pull the lower zip puller up to open up the sides. This is actually bit weird considering that only the top puller has the cord attached. If you just want to take the pants off by opening the side zips, you don’t actually use the corded zip puller at all. I would put a cord also into the bottom puller as this will be the one you use either when you need to put the pants on or take them off by using the side zips – and when you want to do that you most probably have either crampons or skis on and that means you are in some very cold outside place and don’t want to take your gloves off and freeze your fingers too just put on an extra pants. Well… this is not a real problem, really, as you can easily attach a small pull cord into any of those zip pullers if you feel like it. I just think the pants should be default either open from the bottom (preferrable) or the pull cord should on the bottom zip puller (or both).
On the sides of the hood you have two cord pullers/lockers. These are probably not the best ones out there but they do their job. I personally haven’t ever really liked these kind of cord pullers, especially if the cord is bungee type of super elastic cord – it just screams out “I’m going to snap any moment now” and that would really, really suck when you would like to tug that hood just a little bit more tighter in the hell-freezes-over storm.
Both of the Marmot Parka and Pants have two cuffs each (would you believe?). The Marmot Parka sleeve cuffs are tightened by a velcro strap which is quite a common sight it this kind off applications. The cuff is also crinkled with elastic cord. The under strap (or how would you call it?) goes far enought to allow tightening the cuff firmly for even someone like me with really skinny wrists. Sometimes this really is a problem as the elastic inside the cuff (or with no elastic) does not pull the cuff tight enough and you will have to pull the velcro strap all the way to the max or even beyound. This will lead into very loose connection and very probable cuff coming loose situation. The Marmot Pant leg cuff is on the otherhand closed with a popper in combination with the elastic cord inside the cuff, which is probably better than the velcro as you could easily kick the velcro open with your crampon or something. Also the small flap that you snap close gives a nice landing place for the leg side zip puller. You remember the side zips where pulled from down to up to open, so this little feature also prevents the zips from starting to open by accident.
There is also one on the upper end of the side zipper so you don’t have worry that the zip will start to run neither from the top. The upper zip puller is also featured with a pull cord fashioned with Marmot text as the others.
On the Marmot 8000m Pants you have fixed suspenders that will keep the pants upright even in the worst conditions and situations. The high rising back cover will help to keep the snow away. That combined with the snow rim (you can see it at bottom of the jacket in third picture where the Parka is wide open) should keep you snow free even if you choose buttslide the slopes on your way down. One thing of critisism here is needed though. I would have liked to see the suspension straps replaceable, but now they are stiched closed. You’ll just have to hope you won’t break the buckles on the straps or you’ll have to send the pants for fixing unless you have yourself the talent to sew the straps back into one piece. Ok… it is not a big feat to learn compared to things you need to know if your’re going to climb Everest or such in these 😉
The overall quality of the products seems quite high. The fabrics seem durable and stitching nicely dense. The fabrics found on major parts of the Parka and on the front side of the Pants are thinner material and the backside and knees of the Pants and shoulder area of the Parka are thicker, not so slippery material as these are the key points which will endure the most strain.
At some point you will come into situation where you’ll have to pack the things up. You can’t wear these all the time no matter how good they look on you. Both of these come with two packing sacks – one for long term storage and one to use while on the road. The storage sack weights 130g and the travel sack about 70g, so these won’t make much diffrence on your carrying weight. When you start to stuff the Parka into the storage sack you just wonder in your little mind that how in the heck you are going to squash these into the travel sack which starts to look really, really tiny compared to this one. Luckily you are handling down clothing now and down does compress amazingly if you just give it a little push.
I was actually surprised how easily the Parka “glided” into travel sack, but it did take some time to push all the excess air out from depth of the down filling. Even after you had stuffed it all into that small sack, you could even squeeze it some more to ram into some small hole inside your backpack. Still it gives me a bit of headache to think I’ll have to do that in a itty-bitty tent some where high up in the mountains. The Pants stuff a notch easier just because they have a bit smaller volume than the Parka.
First of all I’m 174cm tall and currently weight about 67-68kg and the size I have is M for both the Parka and the Pants. For me I think the fit is quite good, if not perfect but pretty good. In these pictures I have one thick sweater suit on and top of that my Arcteryx shell jacket and pants and with those it was quite good eventually. First I thought, damn, these are pretty tight now, but after walking a bit I think they settled some and the fit was better. Anything smaller would be definetly too small. Any larger would provide a bit more space for layers inside, but the arms and legs would become way too long for me and the suit would become even more cumbersome. Also if you have a too large down suit, you will need to spend more heat to heat up the inside of the suit. On the otherhand, if the suit is too small, the down will compress and it will pass through more heat from inside. So, neither too big or too small is good as it usually goes with any clothing. Too big you can stuff with extra layers though, but too much or too thick layers aren’t a good thing either.
Overall the fit feels quite trim. If your measures are near the next size border I would suggest you take that, especially if your plans are to use multiple layers underneath. The thigh section was probably the most snug area and the shoulder and upper arm area then the most spacious. This could also mean I have too fat thighs and too little upper body strength 🙂 The hood is also quite snug when tested with climbing helmet and shell jacket hood on, but the hood on the Parka does cover all of these quite nicely – tightly though – and if I managed to even ram my dreadlocks somewhere inside it shouldn’t be too bad. I didn’t personally try out beforehand these exact sizes and bought these sort of like pig in a poke. I did, however, try out about a year ago the large size of the Parka and that was way too big. The pants I hadn’t tried out at all, but did I take good measurements from my body against the Marmot provided sizing tables and I’m generally quite average when it comes to clothing and size M is never too far off.
Here were my findings on the Marmot 8000m Parka and Pant without actually using these anywhere. I’m sure I could dig even more out of these, but I’ve already spent too much time on writing this post and I think I’ll have to leave the rest to wait until I have some proper hands on experience with these. Still, I hope these provide some much sought after information for anyone interested. I sure wold have wanted to read something like this when I was searhing for options. I’ll try also to post more about the gear I’m going to use on these following two trips and hopefully I’ll manage to do it in more frequent matter than one post every month, and thats if you’re lucky.