This is a textbook insulated gilet from Marmot. Its most noticeable feature is its incredible warmth, which comes from 800 fill power goose down. Yet despite the excellent insulation the jacket isn’t too puffy, it packs down very small, and it weighs just 272g in a size M.
The Jena Vest has an ultra-light, water-resistant shell that has been treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR), so although you don’t want to be out wearing it in prolonged rain, for the odd shower it will be OK. The jacket has a high, insulated collar so you get warmth right the way up the neck and there’s a tab to stop the zip from rubbing on the chin. There’s also a large baffle behind the main zip to keep draughts out here, and the zip has a toggle on the end to make it easier to use. You can adjust the hem to improve the jacket’s fit or to keep out seriously bad weather, and the ends of the hem adjusters tuck away in the handwarmer pockets.
There are two very large zip-up handwarmer pockets with toggles on the zips to make them easy to use when you’re wearing gloves. Then there’s an internal chest pocket for any valuables; the vest can be stuffed away into this pocket too, although it’s a bit of a challenge to get it in – I wouldn’t want to do be doing it in cold, fiddly conditions. Once stuffed away though it’s one of the smallest on test, and there’s a small hook so you can clip it to something.
I like the jacket’s nice, simple looks and it comes in a wide selection of colours so you’re bound to find one that you like. I also like the jacket’s fit – a slim profile while still allowing you to get a couple of layers underneath it – although it is a little tight at the waist on me. That won’t be the same for everyone though, so just try it on before you buy it.
A bit of background research on Marmot revealed that the first products the company made were down – a vest, a sweater and a coat in the founders’ university dorm room – and they’re clearly still good at it.
Marmot Jena Vest Verdict
A great gilet for the coldest conditions.