I always have a problem when I know that I have a choice of two different products that are essentially very similar. When it comes to shopping for spring and summer waterproof jackets, this problem exists.
Here is a comparison of their features at a glance:
|#1. Outdoor Research Foray Jacket
Our Best Pick
– Double sided zipper
– Side vents
– Waterproof zipper
– Stuffable into pouch
|#2. Marmot Minimalist Jacket
– Single sided zipper
– No side vents
– Flap over zipper
– Not stuffable into pouch
Outdoor Research Foray Jacket video review
Marmot Minimalist Jacket video review
First, let’s see what makes them so similar:
Both jackets are great for spring and summer outdoor activities. They will protect you from even a hard rain, yet their Gore-Tex fabric is very breathable.
This is important for when you have changing weather conditions. You want to be comfortable, even when the environment around you is constantly changing.
Both jackets are very light, so you will hardly notice that you are wearing them. You can easily slip them in your backpack, without adding much weight to your load.
Both jackets have stiffened visor hoods that protect you from the rain better than unstiffened hoods.
Each jacket has a Napoleon pocket. This is a pocket located on the left breast that has a vertical zipper.
Both jackets have cinch-cords that allow you to tighten the waist around you.
The two jackets have cuffs with velcro that allows you to tighten the sleeves around your wrists.
The difference between the two jackets has only to do with their zippers. The Outdoor Research Foray has a dual-sided zipper that lets you open and close it from either direction.
It also has side vent zippers that let you open the jacket all the way to the bottom hem. This allows even greater breathability when you want it.
The Marmot Minimalist has flaps that cover the zippers and make them waterproof.
Criticism of the Outdoor Research Foray
Some websites did not see the real utility of the side vents on the jacket. Other websites referred to this as a unique and very useful feature.
The claim of these sites is that the vents allow you to use it like a poncho. A poncho lets you get mostly waterproof coverage while allowing you to dump excess heat through the venting.
Another criticism of the Foray is that while it is at the same time water-proof yet breathable, it feels a little clammy against the skin sometimes.
Apparently, the cinch cord only covers the back of the hem. It is designed this way because of the way the side vents work. This gives the jacket a slightly odd fit because the back looks bunched up while the front is entirely smooth.
Criticism of the Marmot Minimalist
One criticism of the Minimalist is that the main zipper isn’t water resistant. Instead, it has a flap that covers the zipper. Unlike the Foray, it doesn’t have a stuff sack. The Foray has a pocket that you you can stuff the jacket into for easy carrying.
On the other hand, the Minimalist is said to feel less clammy on the skin than many other jackets. This feature of breathability is very important. The breathability contributes a lot to how the jacket feels.
Also, another advantage of the Marmot is that the manufacturer recently lowered the retail price of the jacket.
With respect to the the zipper not being waterproof, there was some dispute as to which jacket resists the water better at the zipper line.
One website claimed that the flap on the Marmot was better and one claimed that a waterproof zipper like on the Foray was better. I guess that this feature needs to be tested to see which functions better.
One thing I am not clear about is whether or not both jackets have zippers at the arm pits. The Marmot Minimalist definitely has them because it was mentioned in one review on the internet.
I am not sure about the Foray with respect to this. It would seem that this is a very important feature for breathability.
So, what is the verdict with regard to which jacket is better? Since both jackets are so similar, I would have to say that it is somewhat of a toss-up.
However, to me, the breathability is probably the most important feature in a jacket. No one likes to get stuck in high humidity under a clammy coat.
This being the case, I would prefer the Outdoor Research Foray Jacket. The side vents would seem to offer better ventilation while the design of the jacket still is essentially waterproof.
This one difference seems to be the only real difference between the jackets that makes a difference. Since they are also both around the same price, I recommend the Outdoor Research Foray.
See Outdoor Research Foray Customer Reviews