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Marmot - Nabu Jacket

posted Sep 3, 2013, 4:44 AM by GoOut Project

The Nabu Jacket by Marmot has been among the first garments made of Polartec NeoShell, an innovative breathable and weather-protective fabric, strongly advertised as "liberating" from the usual saunas caused by water-proof membranes. At Go Out Project we couldn't miss the chance to test the true performances of the Nabu out there. 


The Nabu Jacket is made of NeoShell, the new breathable and weather-protective fabric from Polartec.
The Nabu features: 
  • Fully taped seams
  • Large hood (helmet-compatible)
  • Reverse-coil zippers
  • Chest pocket (smart-phone/mp3 player compatible)
  • Internal zippered pocket
  • Hand-warmer pockets
Weight: 590g

Our Test

We tested the Nabu Jacket for 3 months, mainly for hiking, climbing, and mountain biking, in a wide range of temperatures and in extremely varying weather conditions: from dry and warm sunny days to heavy rain and snowy conditions.

Outdoor activities: hiking, climbing, and mountain biking.


The first feeling you have when you wear the Nabu jacket is that of great comfort and great protection. You also immediately notice that the fabric is softer and more comfortable than that of other hard shells.

The Nabu is quite "warm". It is well suited for quite a large range of activities and weather conditions, but performs better in colder temperatures. It functions at its best in combination with a baselayer alone, but it can be combined with multiple layers, as long as these are not too thick, because the room is limited especially around the elbows.

Weighting approximately 600g, it's definitely not the lightest weather-protective shell on the market. The trade off, here, is a bit unbalanced toward toughness and durability. 

Quite bulky and not packing in a very small volume, this is not the extra jacket you want to carry in your backpack in case of sudden showers, but more a single, protective jacket that you want to be wearing all the time, when there is no need to switch between layers. 

Fit & Cut
Overall, the jacket has a very good fit with good body proportions. The hood is very well designed and functions always well, also when wearing a helmet. The length on the waist is optimal, allowing a harness to be worn on top of it and preventing "ride-up effect" when climbing. Some more room on the sleeves, around elbows and wrists, would have enhanced freedom of motion and ease of use with gloves on. 

Freedom of Movement
Thanks to the quite soft and slightly stretchable fabric, the Nabu always guarantees good freedom of movement, appreciable especially when climbing. Some extra mm around elbows and wrists would have been helpful.

On the one hand, Nabu's fabric is thick, therefore offering some degree of insulation in colder conditions. On the other hand, the lining is soft and porous allowing a minimal level of moisture wicking capability when sweating. This helps widening the comfort-range of temperatures.

In high-intensity activities, like faster hiking or mountain biking, is when the highly praised breathability of the NeoShell fabric becomes more noticeable. It's not like you'll magically stop sweating, but the time by which you'll reach a level of discomfort is typically longer than that of a Gore-tex Pro jacket, for example. 

Rain Resistance
In several occasions, we tested the jacket under heavy rain for several hours and it always kept us perfectly dry. As it often happens, the parts of the jacket that are most exposed to the wear, such as shoulders and sleeves, tended to loose the DWR coating. Reactivation of the DWR is necessary after a few months.

Wind Resistance
Protection from wind is superlative.

Tear Resistance
A bomb-proof jacket. Abrasion on the rock during climbing or whacks on branches when riding in the woods are of no harm.

The tough material used on the outer side of the fabric is very protective, making it an almost bomb-proof jacket. After our test we didn't notice any sign of wear or weakening of the fabric or any other part, like cords or zippers.

 Versatility   7/10
 Lightness   6/10
 Packability   6/10
 Fit & Cut   7/10
 Freedom of Movement   8/10
 Thermoregulation   9/10
 Breathability   8/10
 Rain Resistance   9/10
 Wind Resistance 10/10
 Tear Resistance 10/10
 Durability   9/10
 Total Score  8.1/10

+ Good weather protection
+ Good thermoregulation
+ Good comfort
+ Tough, durable outer fabric

- Sleeve fit/cut can be improved
- DWR treatment weakens quickly


The Nabu is an almost bomb-proof, very durable jacket, which offers great protection without compromising comfort and freedom of movement. It doesn't fear the elements and it is an ideal weather-protective jacket to wear in situations in which it's not easy to switch between layers. The more you'll use it and the more you'll appreciate it, especially during long hikes on the mountains, if the weather turns bad. It's probably also very well suited for backcountry skiing and freeride. 
A functional and durable jacket that is going to be your trustworthy companion of many adventures out there. 

Marmot - Nabu Jacket