The New Marathon Shell Gets Everything Right - Philadelphia Inquirer

Apr 11th 2016

Travel Gadget Guru: Ultimate Direction Marathon Shell Windbreaker

Protective apparel had better be more functional than fashionable if it's to travel with me. In the case of the ever-useful windbreaker, that means lightweight, efficiently insulated for serious chill resistance, but also breathable, and equipped with at least one sturdy zippered pocket for my cellphone and other small essentials. I want a bright color, too, for maximum visibility outdoors and in my luggage. The designers at Ultimate Direction, an athletic-gear manufacturer, happily take the same view. The company's new Marathon Shell windbreaker is a featherweight (about 3 ounces) nylon tough guy that gets everything right, including distinct men's and women's styles. Surprisingly soft for a swath of water-resistant nylon, the windbreaker has a protective high neck, an integrated back vent that helps air flow and cooling, ergonomic shoulder construction that supports range of motion, and a vertically zippered chest pocket that can hold your cell and credit cards or small documents. Self-bound seams improve durability and keep air from getting in. The men's Marathon comes in a fire-orange color and has a two-way half-zip front. The women's version, in a yellow tint, has a full-zip front. The chest pocket on both models converts into a built-in stuff sack, with a strap that clips to a waist pack (or just stash the whole thing in your pocket). Packed up, the windbreaker is so diminutive you'll hardly know it's there - until you need it.

Ultimate Direction Marathon Shell windbreaker is $99.95 in men's or women's styles and sizes at