My old raincoat was some $10 piece of garbage that was scarcely better than wearing a trash bag, so for Christmas I asked for and received a Marmot Minimalist, mostly because it came so highly recommended from our readers, but also because there was a really good deal that brought it down to about $113.
From reading all of our readers’ comments, I expected a great fit, plenty of pockets, and premium, breathable Gore-TEX material. And indeed, that was all there (though it does run a little large, be warned). What I didn’t expect, and what has been my favorite feature thus far, is the hood. Specifically, the rigid, ballcap-type brim on the front of it.
Every other hood on every other coat I’ve ever owned has basically been a piece of fabric draped over my head. Some had drawstrings to pull tighter around my ears, sure, but none of them have ever had anything approaching “structure.” But the Minimalist has a roughly 2" wide awning on the top to keep rain off my face, and even off my glasses assuming it’s not too windy. About as thin as one of those cardboard USPS mailing envelopes, it’s still plenty flexible and doesn’t bother you when you aren’t using the hood, but it’s firm enough to give you a little extra protection from the rain. There’s no downside here, and I implore all raincoat manufacturers to adopt this feature henceforth.
To be clear, rigid brims are in no way unique to the Marmot Minimalist. The winner of that Co-Op, the Arctery’x Beta, has the same feature, as do many other premium raincoats. But it was new to me, and I’ll never buy another raincoat without it. And hoepfully, I won’t buy a new raincoat for a long time since this was over $100, but that’s another story.