Finding the perfect winter jacket can be a gruelling task. Especially when you find several you like, but which are so similar that you simply cannot decide which one to get. So, we decided to help.
Marmot is a high end brand that makes some excellent winter jackets. We’re comparing their two best sellers here – the Montreaux vs. the Montreal. Both are warm winter parkas, but which one is better than the other?
Keep reading to find out!
Before I start comparing every little detail of these two jackets, let me just explain briefly their basic specs.
As you can see from the table above, both of them are made from the same materials, which includes insulation. The Montreaux is the longer jacket, so naturally, it is also heavier. But not by a lot; some 100 grams more is pretty great for six extra inches of material.
Are there any other differences, apart from the length? Let’s find out!
These two jackets look quite similar, so you probably won’t decide which one to get just based on their style. They have the same quilted exterior, and they are both regular fit parkas. The shoulders on these Marmot jackets are dropped, the waist is straight and the hem is loose.
This means that you will be able to wear thicker layers underneath the parkas. The main difference between these two jackets is actually their length. The Montreaux is a knee-length parka, which is great for really cold weather. The Montreal is a mid-thigh jacket, so it won’t do much in terms of keeping your legs warm as much as your torso.
None of the features of these jackets are important if you can’t get them in your size. And I have both good and bad news about that.
The good news is that the jackets are available in the same six sizes, ranging from XS to XXL. The bad news is that they are not available in petite or plus sizes, so not everyone can expect to find their size.
These are regular fit jackets, so your usual size should fit fine, right? Wrong. I made that mistake, and I had to go through all the hassle of returning the jacket, only to find out that it sold out in the size that I actually needed.
I am broad-shouldered, normally wear a medium in jackets, and both the Montreaux and the Montreal were too tight for me. Mind you, I also have rather wide hips, and these fit perfectly in that area. But, they are rather tight in the torso, so definitely go for a size up if you have broad shoulders or large breasts. And if you plan to wear anything thicker than a t-shirt underneath these jackets.
These two Marmot jackets are made from the exact same materials. Their exteriors are made from 100% polyester with DWR coating. The hoods, on the other hand, are made from 69% acrylic and 31% faux fur.
Even their interiors are the same; the upper half of the jackets are lined with fleece, in order to keep you toasty warm. There’s no such lining on the lower half of these two Marmot jackets, but there is some fleece around your neck. I swear by this feature, since I’m one of those people that forgets to wear a scarf, and the fleece does an amazing job at keeping my bare neck warm in really cold weather.
So, what does all of that mean? It means that both jackets are warm, and have excellent water resistance, which I will talk about a bit later. Polyester is a very popular material for outdoor gear, and it is used in everything from jackets to tents.
It doesn’t have the best water resistance, but that doesn’t matter here because both jackets have DWR coating – Durable Water Repellent.
In addition to that, polyester is also a very durable material. Maybe it’s not as durable as nylon, but that doesn’t matter too much in this case, since I doubt that you plan to torture this jacket just to see how fast you can destroy it. Nylon is the preferred material for backpacks, sleeping bags, tents and suitcases – items that are constantly exposed to rough conditions and that need a strong material that will prolong their life. And that doesn’t apply to everyday parkas.
Both jackets are insulated with 700 fill power duck down with Down Defender. You can find out more about the properties of down insulation, but for now suffice it to say that both jackets are very warm and suitable even for extreme colds.
However, they are not as warm as jackets that are insulated with goose down. Here’s the thing – clusters of duck down are smaller than clusters of goose down. This means that you need more duck than goose down, to insulate the exact same space. In addition to that, goose down is better at trapping heat and keeping you warm in extreme colds.
But, goose down is also pricier than duck down, and many companies opt for the cheaper option. Which is fine for cheaper jackets, but not the best thing for jackets that are well over $250.
If you want a higher quality jacket, I suggest you check out some options from The North Face. They use goose down in all of their products, and their jackets are priced similarly to these two.
The Montreaux and Montreal do have a feature that almost makes up for the use of the cheaper insulation. They use Down Defender insulation, which is duck down treated for water resistance. Each cluster of down in the jackets is coated with DWR, and is able to stay dry 10 times as long as untreated down. In addition to that, it also dries 30% faster than untreated down and is able to retain 150% more loft in slightly damp conditions.
Why does this matter? Because clusters of duck down keep you warm by trapping heat. But when your jacket gets wet, the clusters bunch up and pretty much stop working. That’s where the DWR coating comes in; it ensures that the jackets will perform great even in wet conditions. This brings me to my next point.
Since both of these jackets are made from the same materials and feature the same insulation, it’s safe to say that they perform the same in various weather conditions. Both their exterior and insulation are water resistant, meaning that they will perform great in rain and snow.
They will keep you warm and dry, which is exactly what a good jacket should do. In addition to that, they both have pretty good wind resistance. Neither jacket is entirely windproof – they’re missing adjustable external cuffs, hem and a storm flap. However, both jackets do have stretchy internal cuffs that are lined with micro-fleece. This will keep out the draft from the sleeves, and really helps with their wind resistance.
There are four pockets total on both jackets. Two are external, fleece-lined hand-warming pockets that don’t feature any sort of closure And the other two pockets are internal; one is a drop in pocket for items you like to have easily accessible, and the other is a zippered pocket for safekeeping.
Four pockets is a decent amount, but not the best I’ve ever seen. If you want to have more storage space in your jacket, I suggest you check out some options from Fjallraven. One of their jackets even has 15 pockets, which should be more than enough for all your necessary gear.
Both of these jackets are available in several different colors. Actually, some of the colors they come in are exactly the same.
The Montreaux jacket is currently available in six different colors, while the Montreal comes in five. The colors of the Montreaux are very vivid and shiny. I really don’t like the shiny black option, because it reminds me too much of a trash bag. But it is up to your personal preference, not mine. And the important thing is that there is a total of eleven different colors to choose from!
In case you were hoping to get a packable jacket, I’m afraid I have to disappoint you. Yes, these become much smaller when you try to fold them down and compress them, but not small enough that you can comfortably carry them everywhere. They are great options for travel, but only if you’re going to wear them, and not try to pack them in your suitcase.
Disappointed these aren’t great for travel? Don’t be. Go check out our post on the best packable jackets, and find the perfect option for your travels!
There are some things that I haven’t mentioned, like the two-way zipper. It is designed to prevent bunching, and give you some extra freedom of movement in case you need it. Which makes these jackets a suitable option even for light hiking, ice skating, running and similar outdoor adventures. But the zipper is a bit difficult to start, so just be gentle with it when you first receive your jacket.
Another feature of these jackets I haven’t mentioned yet is the removable hood. It comes with a detachable faux fur ruff, so there are several ways you can wear both these jackets.
Since these two Marmot jackets are extremely similar, you’d expect them to also be priced similarly. And you’re right; officially, the Montreaux is only just more expensive than the Montreal. Unofficially, some size and color combinations of these jackets are heavily discounted (on Amazon), and can be bought for less than $200.
The Montreaux parka is discounted in all sizes except Large and XX-Large in the Arctic navy color, with the XS version being just a little over $150. That’s half the price of the same coat in the same color, but in the size Large.
The Montreal jacket is not discounted as heavily, but there are some options that are cheaper than others.
My point is, check out the prices of each color available in your preferred size, in order to get the best deal possible. Does it really matter that you’re getting Arctic Navy instead of Midnight Navy if you’re saving a lot of money?
Well, we examined these two jackets in detail, and concluded that they’re pretty much the same. The main difference between the two is the length; the Montreaux is six inches longer than the Montreal.
If you want the extra warmth and protection of the knee-length parka, then go for the Montreaux. The 700 fill power duck down inside the jacket will keep you warm in freezing colds, and even if you get the jacket wet, thanks to the DWR coating on the outside and on the down insulation. And the two-way zipper will let you adjust just how much freedom of movement you want. So, even though you’re getting a knee-length parka, you don’t have to worry about it restricting your movement and not being suitable for outdoor activities.
Get the Marmot Montreal if you prefer to wear shorter jackets. It’s just as warm as the Montreaux, has the same number of pockets and is made from the same materials. It’s just six inches shorter, which means that it ends around your mid-thigh. This is great if you prefer to have more freedom of movement, or just generally don’t like really long jackets.
Both of these jackets by Marmot are excellent options for cold winter weather. Head over to Amazon to see their prices, and hopefully find a great deal on your size.
Check out our related posts, if you want to see some more great jackets suitable for really cold weather!