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TEST CALL - Who's Got Moxie?

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  • richardglyon
    OK, testers, another attractive jacket for you to battle over – this time a double duty piece that you can use as insulation or an outer layer.
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 3, 2008
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      OK, testers, another attractive jacket for you to battle over – this
      time a double duty piece that you can use as insulation or an outer
      layer. BackpackGearTest.org and Merrell bring you the Rove Tech Fall
      2008 (for men, nothing to do with Karl) and the Moxie Fall 2008 (for
      women). Details are here:

      Mens
      http://www.merrell.com/Product/NZGP/Mens-Apparel/Jackets/Mens/Rove-
      Tech-Fall-08.aspx
      Womens
      http://www.merrell.com/Product/NZGP/Womens-
      Apparel/Jackets/Womens/Moxie-Fall-08.aspx

      US Shipping included; will cross-ship if tester is willing to
      reimburse the cost.
      Newbie limit applies.
      Rick Allnut is the Mod.
      Please include Merrell Rove Tech or Moxie, as applicable, in the
      subject line of your application.
      Test closes at midnight PST (GMT-8) on Tuesday, November 11.
      Start applying now.
    • Greg
      Hey Richard, An application to start your pile. Thanks! Greg M ______________________________________ Application to Test: Merrell Rove Tech Date: 11/04/2008
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 4, 2008
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        Hey Richard,

        An application to start your pile. Thanks!

        Greg M

        ______________________________________

        Application to Test: Merrell Rove Tech
        Date: 11/04/2008

        Please accept my amended application to test the Merrell Rove Tech
        jacket. I have read the BGT By-Laws (v. 0609) including Chapter 5 and
        will comply with all testing requirements. My signed tester agreement
        is on file, acknowledged by Chuck Carnes on April 16, 2008.


        Personal Information:
        Name: Greg McDonald
        Age: 21
        Height: 6' 0" (1.83 m)
        Weight: 225 lb (102.00 kg)
        Chest Size: 46 in (117 cm)
        Jacket Size: XL
        Desired Color: Black
        E-Mail: gdm320 AT yahoo DOT com
        Location: Boynton Beach, Florida, United States


        Backpacking Background:
        I have been camping for 16 years, 11 of them have included hiking in
        the backcountry. I earned the rank of Eagle Scout and completed a
        10-day, 100+ mile (160+ km) trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch in the
        mountains of New Mexico. The majority of my hikes are between 1 and 3
        nights, mostly on the Florida Trail. I consider myself a lightweight
        but comfortably equipped hiker with a loaded pack including food and
        water between 25 and 30 lb (11 and 14 kg).


        Testing Locations, Conditions, and Activities:
        · Myakka State Park, Ocala National Forest, Lake Okeechobee, and The
        Florida Trail (Florida, United States) – Approximately Sea Level
        elevation with very little variation, a few hundred feet at the most.
        The fall and winter months are unpredictable with average temperatures
        between 40 and 70 Fahrenheit (4 and 21 Celsius) during the likely
        course of the testing period. Of course, rain is extremely common and
        can range between a weekend-long drizzle to a half hour raging
        monsoon, monthly rainfall totals for November through February range
        between 2.5 and 4.0 in (6 and 10 cm).
        · Appalachian Trail (North & South Carolina, United States) – Likely
        elevations ranging between 1450 and 3800 ft (450 and 1200 m) with
        temperatures varying by elevation, average daytime temperatures are
        between 20 and 60 Fahrenheit (-7 and 16 Celsius) and lows between 20
        and 60 Fahrenheit (-7 and 16 Celsius) during the fall through and
        winter months, but colder temperatures are much more common in the
        higher elevations. Precipitation and snow also varies by elevation;
        with the higher elevations becoming increasingly wet but the entire
        region is prone to drastic weather changes and rapidly developing storms.
        · Tentative Location: San Jacinto Mountains – I have consulted with
        Ray about possible locations in the San Jacinto Mountain Range with my
        father in the early part of the new-year. Average temperatures range
        between 25 and 55 Fahrenheit (-4 and 13 Celsius) and snowfall in the
        4.5 in (11 cm) range. Data I could find regarding elevations in the
        mountains range between 5,000 and 10,000 ft (1500 and 3000 m)
        depending on the activities we decide on.
        · Tentative Location: Southern Maine – My other possible winter
        location uses my family's vacation home in southern Maine as a base.
        If I choose this location, I will be looking at colder temperatures
        but lower elevations. This trip would likely take me through the Folly
        Pond Loop in Portsmouth, ME – an 8.5 mi (14 km) loop through the low
        terrain around an inland lake. This would range between sea level and
        350 ft (105 m) and would see likely temperature lows between 10 and 30
        Fahrenheit (-12 to -1 Celsius) and highs of 30 and 50 Fahrenheit (-1
        to 10 Celsius) with average precipitation around 4 in (10 cm).
        Note: It is important to note that based on time commitments to work
        and studies in college, not to mention financial obligations, I will
        likely only be taking on one of the above tentative trips. Either way,
        I expect a minimum of 2 to 3 nights and 3 to 4 days in the backcountry
        on either of the trips. One of these trips will be in addition to my
        planned hiking on the Appalachian Trail in the Carolinas.


        Testing Strategy:
        · Comfort – How comfortable is the jacket? Is the polyester microfiber
        soft? Is the jacket comfortable against my skin? Is the jacket lined
        with a different material? Is there an interior flap that covers the
        zipper on the inside to keep the main zipper from chaffing? Are the
        internal body cuffs comfortable on my wrists? Do the cuffs help cut
        down the cold air draft?
        · Temperature Range – What functional temperature range does the 100 g
        of body insulation and 60 g of sleeve insulation allow? What are the
        extreme temperature ranges for the jacket? At what point to I become
        uncomfortably hot or chilly?
        · Cut – How is the cut of the jacket? Are the sleeves an appropriate
        length for me? Is the neck large enough around so I can comfortably
        zip it all the way up? Does the waist line of the jacket come down far
        enough to provide coverage of my waist when sitting and standing? Is
        there a draw cord on the waist hem? How easily can I move around in
        the jacket? Are the elbow areas easy to bend or do they bunch up? Are
        they articulated at all?
        · Pockets – The Merrell website seems to say there are a total of 4
        pockets on the Rove Tech, a "zip secure chest pocket", two zip secure
        lower hand pockets, and an internal media pocket. Are the hand pockets
        lined to serve as hand warmers? How large are they? Are they easy to
        access with my pack on? How large is the chest pocket? What sorts of
        things can I store in it? Can I easily access the chest pocket with my
        pack on? Is the internal media pocket easily accessible? How big is
        it? If I put a few items in it will it interfere with my pack straps?
        · Quality of Construction and Materials – How well is the jacket put
        together? Are the seams double stitched? Is the stitching complete and
        well done? The main zipper actually appears to be a little light to
        save weight, but is it still effective? Can it handle the stress as
        the primary zipper? As for the design, do the zippers tend to hang up
        anywhere? If so, does this cause any damage to the shell? Are there
        any obvious weak spots on the design? Is the PrimaLoft One insulation
        an appropriate choice for this jacket?
        · Degree of Weatherproof – Merrell says that the jacket is both wind
        and water resistant. What does this claim really mean? To what extent
        is the jacket water resistant? Does the jacket cut out the wind? At
        what point does the weather resistance start to suffer?
        · Use in Layers – How effective is the jacket in layers? Can it be
        used as an insulation and outer layer?
        · Packability – How packable is the Rove Tech? What are the packed
        dimensions of the jacket? What is the weight as delivered?
        · Care – What are the care instructions for the jacket? Is it easy to
        clean in the field if necessary in case of a spill or accident? How
        easy is it to take care of?
        · Style – Will I be fashionable on the trail or will I look like a
        trail bum at all times?
        · Durability – How is the long-term durability of the jacket? How well
        does it hold up to the rough and tumble of he outdoors? Will it pull,
        tear, run, or stain? Will the colors fade? Will any parts of the
        jacket stretch out? Will the zippers hold up?


        Other Uses:
        When appropriate, I will wear the jacket around town as a casual
        jacket. This use is purely to put additional time in the jacket to
        gauge long-term durability and possibly temperature range if I
        encounter more mild weather on the trail during the testing period.


        Work Load:
        My test load is getting lighter by the week. I have two LTRs that will
        be getting wrapped up in the next week or so. With the exception of
        the Gregory Z25, my remaining tests are relatively small and simple.
        Multiple ongoing tests have never been a problem as I am used to and
        prefer and active test load.
        1. TrailDog Wicking T-Shirt (LTR due, uploaded and awaiting edit.)
        2. Scarpa Kailash GTX Boots (LTR due November 11)
        3. Gerber Omnivore (FR Stage)
        4. Nalgene 32 oz. Wide Mouth Bottle (FR Stage)
        5. Clif Bar Berry Shot Bloks (Awaiting Shipment)
        6. Gregory Z25 Day Pack (Awaiting Shipment)
        · Owner Review: L.L. Bean Stowaway Daypack (Edits and Reposts in
        progress.)

        Pending Applications:
        1. Osprey Kestrel 48
        2. Merrell Atlas Fleece

        My reviews are available here:
        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/tester_reviews/gdm320
        All of my reports are up to date and have been on time and complete.

        I would like to thank the involved call managers, monitors,
        moderators, and Merrell for your careful consideration of my
        application to test the Merrell Rove Tech jacket. I look forward to
        the selections.
      • thebootfitters
        DATE: November 5, 2008 TIME: 00:30 PST Please accept my application to test the Merrell Rove Tech men s jacket. I have read Chapter Five of the
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 5, 2008
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          DATE: November 5, 2008
          TIME: 00:30 PST

          Please accept my application to test the Merrell Rove Tech men's
          jacket. I have read Chapter Five of the BackpackGearTest Survival
          Guide, version 0609 (most recently on October 1, 2008), and I will
          follow all requirements and deadlines. My signed tester agreement is
          on file.


          TESTER BIO
          -----------

          NAME: Christopher Nicolai
          EMAIL: thebootfitters at yahoo dot com
          AGE: 33
          LOCATION: Seattle, Washington & Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
          GENDER: M
          HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
          WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.40 kg)


          Backpacking Background:
          I have been backpacking for 10+ years in locales from Chile to
          Alaska. I have experienced temps from -30 F (-34 C) to 100 F (38
          C), heavy precipitation in virtually all forms, and winds exceeding
          75 mph (120 km/h) - in everything from desert to rainforest to
          glaciated peaks.

          Most of my trips are 1-4 nights climbing/backpacking <15 miles/day
          (<24km/day) in the Pacific Northwest mountains or canoeing in
          Northern Minnesota. I prefer to pack a tarp and minimal gear (<20
          lbs / <9 kg) for backpacking, but may carry twice that on alpine
          climbs or winter trips to accommodate suitable gear and shelter.



          SUMMARY
          -----------------
          I currently have a light Primaloft jacket similar to this that has
          been yearning for retirement, as it is showing signs of heavy usage.
          My current jacket has been my go-to jacket the past few years for all
          my lightweight insulation needs – which includes trips year-round
          when in the mountains. I ski and spend a lot of time outdoors in the
          cold environs of Minnesota winters, and a light layer of insulation
          works well for such semi-active use in cold temperatures. I also do
          a lot of skiing and snowshoeing trips in the Cascade Mountains, and a
          light Primaloft jacket is a handy piece of insurance against the cold
          for day trips (or even overnight trips when going fast and light or
          when the mercury isn't expected to dip too low.

          The bottom line is that this jacket would see a lot of use during the
          testing period (and likely beyond) if I am one of the selected
          testers.



          FIELD INFORMATION
          ------------------
          I intend to test the jacket during the anticipated outings listed
          below. Temperatures may range anywhere from -50 F (-46 C) to above
          the freezing point and at elevations ranging anywhere from just a few
          hundred feet (or meters) above sea level in northern Minnesota to
          over 10,000 ft (6,100 M). I am likely to encounter some form of
          precipitation during most outings.

          I will carry the jacket in my pack for use during rest breaks or in
          camp during all of my winter treks. I will use the jacket as a
          single insulation piece as well as in conjunction with other layered
          pieces of insulation if the temperatures warrant doing so. When the
          temperatures are sufficiently cold or when my activity level is
          sufficiently low, I will use the jacket for insulation while active.

          Anticipated Outings:
          * Multiple day-trips hiking/snowshoeing up peaks or on trails in the
          Cascade or Olympic mountain ranges of Washington state
          * At least two day-trips ice-climbing in Minnesota (will plan to use
          the jacket as a belay parka if temperatures allow)
          * At least one cold-weather rock climbing trip at a crag in either
          Minnesota or Washington
          * At least one overnight snowshoe trip in the Cascade or Olympic
          mountain ranges of Washington state
          * At least one multi-day snowshoe trip in the Boundary Waters of
          Northern Minnesota
          * At least one multi-day attempt to summit Mount Rainier (or other
          significant Cascade volcano) – weather permitting. (I didn't get a
          winter attempt on a big volcano last year, so I'm really hoping I can
          make it happen this year.)
          * At least three backcountry ski trips in the Pacific Northwest (and
          a possible trip to the Chugach Range in Alaska)
          * At least a three days of skiing inbounds in Minnesota (for
          downhill, there really isn't any other kind in Minnesota!), during
          which the temperatures are often cold enough to warrant wearing the
          jacket while skiing.
          * At least eight days of skiing inbounds in the Pacific Northwest.
          (I picked up a season pass this year, so I'll be motivated to get my
          money's worth!) While temperatures may not be cold enough to wear
          the jacket while skiing, I typically carry a small pack and will have
          the jacket with me for emergencies or for rest breaks on the hill.
          * I'll also plan to wear the jacket on cooler days around town. I
          walk about a mile each day between the bus stops and my
          destinations. This will give me an opportunity to test the water-
          resistance of the exterior fabric in the near-constant drizzle of
          Seattle winters.


          TEST STRATEGY
          ---------------------------
          My primary concerns with a lightweight insulation piece are perceived
          fit and perceived warmth. Below are aspects of the garment for which
          I would specifically note or test the performance.

          1) Quality of construction -- Noting the consistency of stitching,
          loose threads, etc.

          2) Durability – Is the microfiber polyester fabric strong enough to
          withstand encounters with backcountry trees? Do any high-use areas
          (i.e. elbows) wear thing over time? How does it withstand laundering
          (per the manufacturer's recommendations)?

          3) Fit – Does the cut of the jacket allow ample room for base layers
          underneath without being too boxy or bulky? Is it well-proportioned
          such that all components fit consistently? Or is it tight in some
          areas and loose in others? Are the sleeves an appropriate length for
          my arms? Do the wrist cuffs secure adequately without being too
          tight?

          4) Features – Are the hand pockets positioned for convenient access?
          How much will the chest pocket hold? Is the media pocket
          conveniently placed? (I will use this while in conjunction with my
          iPod around town.) Is the lighter weight insulation in the arms
          noticeable? Does it make the it easier to move without sacrificing
          core warmth?

          4) Performance – How well does the wind and water-resistant exterior
          fabric really resist wind and water? How does it handle heavy, wet
          snow? How about constant drizzle? If the insulation does get wet,
          will it dry quickly? Though there are many, many variables that
          affect my perceived warmth… to what kinds of temperatures can I
          comfortably wear the jacket? What is my perceived trade-off between
          weight and warmth? (Including the lack of a hood.) Does the jacket
          hold significant moisture? Does it transfer moisture effectively?







          PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN REPORTS
          ---------------------------
          http://www.backpackgeartest.org/tester_reviews/thebootfitter


          CURRENT TESTS
          ---------------------------
          Brooks-Range Sharktooth Mini Pro Shovel – FR due January 2009


          PENDING APPLICATIONS
          ---------------------------
          None


          OTHER INVOLVEMENT WITH BGT
          ---------------------------
          Monitor (currently at one test max) and Representative at Outdoor
          Retailer shows

          Thank you for your consideration!

          Christopher Nicolai
          aka TheBootfitter


          END OF APPLICATION
        • thebootfitters
          Awaiting for me when I got home from the airport last night was my Merrell Rove Tech jacket. I even wore it to work today on a chilly, sub-freezing Seattle
          Message 4 of 9 , Dec 16, 2008
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            Awaiting for me when I got home from the airport last night was my
            Merrell Rove Tech jacket. I even wore it to work today on a chilly,
            sub-freezing Seattle day. (Nothing like the sub-zero day I woke up to
            yesterday in Minneapolis, though!)

            IR to follow soon!
          • thebootfitters
            Please see below for a link to my Initial Report in the test folder: http://tinyurl.com/754nnz And the text is copied below for convenience. Thanks for taking
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 5, 2009
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              Please see below for a link to my Initial Report in the test folder:

              http://tinyurl.com/754nnz

              And the text is copied below for convenience. Thanks for taking a
              look!

              ~Christopher




              MERRELL ROVE TECH JACKET
              TEST SERIES BY CHRISTOPHER NICOLAI
              IR
              January 05, 2009

              TESTER INFORMATION

              NAME: Christopher Nicolai
              EMAIL: thebootfitters at yahoo dot com
              AGE: 34
              LOCATION: Seattle, Washington & Minneapolis, Minne
              GENDER: M
              HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
              WEIGHT: 172 lb (78.00 kg)

              I have been backpacking for 10+ years in locales from Chile to
              Alaska. I have experienced temps from -30 F (-34 C) to 100 F (38
              C), heavy precipitation in virtually all forms, and winds exceeding
              75 mph (120 km/h) - in everything from desert to rainforest to
              glaciated peaks. Most of my trips are 1-4 nights
              climbing/backpacking less than 15 miles/day (24 km/day) in the
              Pacific Northwest mountains or canoeing in Northern Minnesota. I
              prefer to pack a tarp and minimal gear -- less than 20 lbs (9 kg) --
              for backpacking, but may carry twice that on alpine climbs or winter
              trips to accommodate suitable gear and shelter.


              INITIAL REPORT

              PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

              Manufacturer: Merrell
              Year of Manufacture: 2008
              Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE -
              "http://www.merrell.com" LINK TEXT = "http://www.merrell.com">>
              MSRP: $129 US
              Listed Weight: N/A
              Measured Weight: 1 lb 4.1 oz (570 g)
              Size: Men's Large
              Color: Brick Red
              Country of Manufacture: China
              Warranty: "Merrell warrants all products against manufacturer
              defects. Please note this warranty does not include normal wear and
              tear and product misuse. " (From the Merrell website)
              Care Instructions: Machine wash cold; do not bleach; tumble dry low;
              cool iron; do not dry clean

              PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

              <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1" IMAGE CAPTION = "The Merrell
              Rove Tech Jacket (Fall 2008)">>

              The Merrell Rove Tech jacket is a simple full zip, hoodless jacket
              insulated with PrimaLoft One polyester insulation. It has 100 grams
              of insulation in the body of the jacket and 60 grams of insulation in
              the sleeves. The outer shell and inner lining are both 100%
              polyester. The outer shell has a DWR (durable water repellant)
              treatment to make it wind and water resistant.



              INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

              My initial impressions of the Merrell Rove Tech jacket are mixed.

              Things I like:
              ------------------------------
              * Warmth
              * Water-resistance (i.e. that it can be worn as an outer layer in
              light rain/snow)
              * Some of the details, such as the cuffs, the placement and size of
              the zippered pockets, and the cinch collar at the bottom of the jacket

              Things I don't like:
              ------------------------------
              * Roomy, boxy fit
              * Bulk & weight
              * Some of the details, such as the zippers (which have been getting
              stuck) and the attachment of the arms to the body of the jacket
              (which restricts the motion of my arms)

              TRYING IT OUT

              I have already worn this jacket without additional insulation or
              outer shell protection in some cold, windy, rainy, and snowy
              conditions. While many factors contribute to perceived warmth, I
              have found it to be sufficiently warm during light activity in calm
              conditions even down to 0 F (-18 C). The outer shell has repelled
              brisk winds while skiing with only a hint of lost heat, and it has
              shed light rain and snow for multiple hours outdoors with only slight
              wetting of the fabric (which dried quickly from body heat once
              sheltered from the precipitation).

              I really like the design of the sleeve cuffs! They have an inner,
              ribbed cuff that fits securely around the wrist and an outer
              insulated cuff that can fit over the top of gloves or mittens to keep
              out wind and snow. True, the double layer adds a marginal amount of
              weight and bulk, but this is a feature that I've come to appreciate
              while skiing and playing in powdery snow.

              <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 2" IMAGE CAPTION = "The sleeve
              cuffs">>

              The pockets are not generously sized, but they are sufficient, in my
              estimation. The hand pockets easily accommodate a soft shell liner
              glove or fleece mitten. The chest pockets accommodate a small pair
              of foldable earmuffs or a small cell phone, keys and a wallet.

              <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 3" IMAGE CAPTION = "Pockets">>

              I ordered a men's size large, since that is typically the size that
              fits me best from most manufacturers in jackets and shirts. (I could
              not find any specific sizing details on the Merrell website.) The
              size large is likely the best fit for me, since the length of the
              sleeves and the jacket seem about right. However, the cut of the
              jacket is a bit roomy -- even boxy -- in my opinion. This may work
              well for some body types, but it feels like too much excess material
              for my slender frame.

              This roomy cut leads to a jacket that is heavier than it needs to be,
              in my opinion. All of the materials are lightweight, but the extra
              material to fill out the wider cut of the jacket lead to some extra
              weight. When rolling up or stuffing the jacket with little
              compression, it is roughly the size of a football (American). With
              compression, it can be stuffed to about the size of a one liter (one
              quart) water bottle.

              I have had some issues with the zippers getting stuck in the
              lightweight fabric. It hasn't been difficult to get them unstuck,
              but it has been a minor nuisance dealing with them in colder
              temperatures.

              The arms of this jacket are sewn onto the nearly circular opening of
              the main body of the jacket -- as if the main body were a vest and
              arms were attached as an afterthought. The result is that there is
              restricted free motion of the arms. When I raise my arms above my
              head, the bottom of the jacket lifts above my waist. This is
              somewhat mitigated by the convenient cinch collar at the bottom of
              the jacket that can be tighted with one hand, but still does not feel
              quite right.

              <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 4" IMAGE CAPTION = "Arm
              attachment">>

              Upon inspecting the jacket closely to write this review, I just
              noticed loose threads and a small hole in the interior chest pocket.
              While this is easily repairable and only a minor inconvenience, it
              makes me cautious about the long term durability of the jacket --
              especially considering my intended extensive use of the jacket.

              <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 5" IMAGE CAPTION = "Loose
              threads & hole">>

              Finally, while this is primarily a matter of preference, I have found
              that I miss having a hood on my insulated jacket. The top opening of
              the jacket does not fit securely around my neck and allows
              precipitation to enter and some warm air to escape. I will still use
              this jacket more than the minimum number of uses, but because of
              this, I may end up using a hooded jacket during some outings on which
              I prioritize greater heat retention.

              SUMMARY

              Overall, I like the jacket and am glad to have the experience of
              trying it out. However, after having used it for a few weeks, I
              don't believe it is a jacket that I would seek out to purchase.
              Between the fit issues, the questionable durability, and the weight &
              bulk without a hood, it is not striking me as an ideal jacket for
              outdoor recreation. Rather, it strikes me as a great jacket for
              lighter-duty use around town where mobility, lightness of weight, and
              durability are not as critical.

              Many thanks to BackpackGearTest and Merrell for allowing me to test
              this item. This concludes my initial report. Please check back in a
              couple months for my field report.



              This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
              Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
            • thebootfitters
              Brian, I am pleased to submit my Field Report for your editing pleasure. It s late and I m tired, but I think (hope) I have already addressed all the simple
              Message 6 of 9 , Apr 1, 2009
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                Brian,

                I am pleased to submit my Field Report for your editing pleasure. It's late and I'm tired, but I think (hope) I have already addressed all the simple issues like spelling and punctuation. We'll see, I guess. :-)

                As a side note, there are a couple pictures that I would like to include with this report (such as of the faded care instructions tag and the repaired seam for reference). However, my company is cracking down on the use of any non-secure USB devices with company laptops. And outside of the office, I don't have a way to retrieve emailed photos on the machine. I'll figure out a solution eventually. In the meantime, this report may have to go photo-less.

                Link to report in test folder: http://tinyurl.com/cwpf85

                Text is found below.

                Thanks!

                ~Christopher


                MERRELL ROVE TECH JACKET
                TEST SERIES BY CHRISTOPHER NICOLAI
                FR
                March 31, 2009


                <a name="FRPT">FIELD REPORT</a>

                THE SHORT STORY

                I have to say that I have really grown to appreciate this jacket! While I still feel it is not the minimalist type of jacket that I might prefer for taking into the backcountry (with the headphone cord port and all), it has become my everyday jacket on cool to cold days around town. And it has proven itself to be warm and comfortable during light activity even in temperatures well below 0 F (-18 C). I had the small section of ripped seam repaired via Merrell customer service, and the jacket has held up admirably to a fair amount of use and abuse. The only real signs of wear are some soiled areas around the cuffs and collar (and a small tear in the fabric on the outside of the sleeve that was caused by user error).

                I still don't care for the boxy fit of the jacket, nor the cut of the sleeves that make them too short on my wrists when raising or stretching my arms. But I have received more than one complement from friends, indicating that they liked the look of the jacket. I suppose that counts for something.

                FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

                What locations and conditions has the jacket experienced? Can I address instead what it hasn't experienced? Until recently, when the city temperatures have started to climb to 40-50 F (5-10 C) or warmer, I wore it virtually every time I left the house -- whether for skiing, for hiking, for snowshoeing, or simply for going to work and running errands. For the rest of the season, it will likely be relegated to use as insulation during rest breaks unless the temperatures drop again.

                * I have worn the jacket too many days to count while walking to and from my bus stops in an urban setting in Seattle, Washington on cool or cold days. Temperatures have ranged mostly between 25 F and 45 F (-4 C and 7 C). I have experienced precipitation in the form of light to moderate rains and snow on many of these days.

                * I spend approximately 20% of my time in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and have also used the jacket on a regular basis in the urban environment there. Temperatures have ranged mostly between -10 F and 35 F (-23 C and 2 C) during my time in Minneapolis. I have experienced snow falling during some of my visits.

                * I used the jacket while skiing on at least ten occasions and sledding on four other occasions, either in the Cascade Mountain Range in Central Washington or in Southern Minnesota. Temperatures during these outings have ranged between 10 F and 35 F (-12 C and 2 C). Snow has fallen intermittently during some of these outings. Winds have gusted as high as 25 mph (40 km/h) on some occasions.

                * I have used the jacket on two snowshoe outings in Minnesota, including a multi-day excursion into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Northern Minnesota. Temperatures have ranged between -20 F and 10 F (-29 C and -9 C). Light snow has fallen during some periods of these outings. Winds gusted as high as 15 mph (24 km/h) on some occasions.

                * I have used the jacket on two day hikes into the Cascade Mountain Range in Central Washington, with temperatures ranging between 10 F and 32 F (-12 C and 0 C). Snow fell intermittently during one of these outings, and wind was a significant factor as well -- gusting as high as 30 mph (48 km/h).

                * I wore the jacket as a belay parka while ice climbing with a partner near Saint Paul, Minnesota. The temperature was approximately 20 F (-7 C). There was very little wind, and the skies were overcast.


                PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

                For the most part, the jacket has performed admirably during the past couple months.

                WIND / WATER RESISTANCE
                It has shed light precipitation -- both around town and on the trail -- quite well. With enough exposure, the exterior of the jacket began to wet out, but even after experiencing a few hours of lightly falling moist snow while skiing, I did not feel any moisture penetrating the jacket. It had also shed wind fairly well. I haven't noticed perceptible heat loss from wind until the wind speeds start to exceed 15-20 mph (24-32 km/h). Only on overnight trips or when the precipitation has been heavy have I felt the need to wear a shell over this jacket for protection from snow and rain. I have also found that when the jacket does get wet, both the insulation and the shell have dried pretty quickly.

                WARMTH
                As alluded to above, I have found the jacket to be sufficiently warm for me even down to approximately -10 F (-23 C), provided that I am maintaining a light activity level -- such as an easy hiking pace with very little weight, or easy snow shoveling. If my activity level increased above these levels, even at these low temperatures, the jacket became too warm and I had to open the front to vent or take it off. In warmer temperatures, even above freezing, I have appreciated the jacket as instant warmth during rest breaks while hiking or snowshoeing. On these occasions, I missed having a hood, but I discovered other times while skiing that I prefer to not have a hood. I have not noticed the lighter weight insulation in the arms of the jacket to detract from the overall warmth experience.

                DURABILITY
                The jacket has survived many brushes against rock while hiking and encounters with low hanging sharp branches. Nothing in the field has caused the jacket any harm. (Only when I left a building in a hurry once did the sleeve of the jacket get caught on the door hinge and it ripped. The repair process and customer service experience are summarized below.) I have laundered the jacket once since receiving it -- per the product care instructions tag. The writing on the tag showing the care instructions is fading significantly, but is still readable.

                FEATURES
                The pockets are well positioned for easy access and are large enough to accommodate a lot of glove and mitten bulk. I am not a fan of listening to music while in the outdoor environment, so I have not used the cable opening in the interior chest pocket. I absolutely love the cuffs on this jacket. While they most certainly add some weight, the design of these cuffs is great for keeping out snow and keeping warmth in. My perception after laundering the jacket once is that the zippers have a little greater tendency to get stuck. It seems that the hand of the outer face fabric has softened slightly, and is now more likely to fold over the zipper while in action and get stuck. I have found this to be the case both for the main zipper as well as the pocket zippers.

                CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE

                As indicated in the initial report, I noticed a small section of seam that had ripped in the interior chest pocket of the jacket. I found a toll-free number on the Merrell website to call for customer service. I was placed on hold by an automated system for approximately 15 minutes before a live representative answered the phone.

                Brenda was very pleasant to deal with, and I explained the situation to her. She suggested that I had two potential options. I could send the product back to Merrell for replacement of a similar product. Since they no longer made this specific model, I would have to pick a comparable jacket to replace it, which wasn't really a viable option in my situation. Or, I could take the jacket to an establishment that offers sewing repairs and mail or fax a copy of my receipt to Merrell. Brenda indicated that I would then receive reimbursement from Merrell for the cost of the repair (up to USD$25).

                I managed to find a dry cleaner establishment in my neighborhood that did sewing repair work. They did a fine job of repairing the blown seam. I delayed sending the receipt to Merrell, so I have not yet received word back from them, but expect to do so soon. I will update how this experience ended during the final report in a couple months.

                SUMMARY

                This concludes my field report. Please check back in a couple months for the exciting conclusion and the long-term report.

                Many thanks to both Merrell and BackpackGearTest for allowing me to test the Rove Tech Jacket!



                This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
                Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
              • Brian Tannehill
                I ll edit shortly. In the meantime check out picasa on google. Could transfer pics that way. Brian
                Message 7 of 9 , Apr 1, 2009
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                  I'll edit shortly. In the meantime check out picasa on google. Could
                  transfer pics that way.

                  Brian

                  On Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 1:29 AM, thebootfitters <thebootfitters@...> wrote:
                  > Brian,
                  >
                  > I am pleased to submit my Field Report for your editing pleasure.  It's late and I'm tired, but I think (hope) I have already addressed all the simple issues like spelling and punctuation.  We'll see, I guess.  :-)
                  >
                  > As a side note, there are a couple pictures that I would like to include with this report (such as of the faded care instructions tag and the repaired seam for reference).  However, my company is cracking down on the use of any non-secure USB devices with company laptops.  And outside of the office, I don't have a way to retrieve emailed photos on the machine.  I'll figure out a solution eventually.  In the meantime, this report may have to go photo-less.
                  >
                • thebootfitters
                  Brian, I am pleased to submit my LTR for the Merrell Rove Tech Jacket. I welcome any edits you may have. Tiny URL is below. Text is farther below. Thanks!
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jun 2, 2009
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                    Brian,

                    I am pleased to submit my LTR for the Merrell Rove Tech Jacket. I welcome any edits you may have. Tiny URL is below. Text is farther below. Thanks!

                    ~Christopher

                    http://tinyurl.com/oac7da



                    MERRELL ROVE TECH JACKET
                    TEST SERIES BY CHRISTOPHER NICOLAI
                    LTR
                    June 02, 2009

                    LONG-TERM REPORT

                    CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE (cont.)

                    I am pleased to report that within two weeks of sending a copy of my receipt to repair the jacket, I received a check for the amount of the receipt from Wolverine, the parent company of Merrell. I feel that Merrell handled this issue fairly and promptly. It's good to know that they follow through with their guarantee!

                    LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

                    With warm temperatures during most of my day trip outings, I only found two additional occasions to use the jacket since the field report.

                    * On a day hike into the Cascade Mountain Range in Central Washington. Temperatures started out at about 60 F (16 C), but toward the end of the hike, the winds increased, snow started to fall, and the temperature dropped considerably. Elevations ranged between 1,500 ft (450 M) and 4,500 ft (1,370 M).

                    * On a four-night canoeing trip into the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota. Temperatures reached as high as 70 F (21 C) during the day, but dipped below 40 F (4 C) at night. Winds were generally very light, but a cool breeze blew in every once in awhile that prompted me to don the jacket. No precipitation fell during the times I was wearing the jacket.

                    PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

                    The jacket continued to perform admirably during these final outings of the testing period. Below are a few noteworthy observations:

                    * The sleeve of the jacket got caught in a door in the urban environment and suffered a small tear in the sleeve near the cuff. Though the fabric continued to snag on things during use, I did not notice the size of the tear increasing. Note that I plan to repair this tear before further use after the test period has ended.

                    * Toward the end of the testing period, the DWR seemed to be wearing off such that the jacket wetted out more quickly than when I first received the jacket. Granted, I had laundered the jacket once without reapplying any DWR treatment.

                    * I tried out the headphone port with my iPod Touch, which fit snugly inside the stretchy mesh pocket inside the interior chest pocket. The port worked well and posed no trouble while slipping the headphone cord inside the jacket, but the loose threads snagged on the jack when I attempted to pull the cord back out through the port. The cord didn't snag on subsequent uses, but there were still some loose threads dangling.

                    * I found the fabric of the jacket to accumulate stains from the mixture of dirt, sweat, fire charcoal, etc. to which it was subjected. The stains accumulated particularly around the cuffs and around the neck of the jacket. Standard laundering according to the care tag (not using any stain products) did not remove the offending stains. While this is not a big deal to me when I use the jacket most of my outings, it does make the jacket a bit grungy-looking for everyday wear.



                    SUMMARY & CONTINUED USE

                    Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by this jacket. The jacket provided nearly instant warmth on many occasions when needed on several outings. I am still not a fan of the boxy fit, but after a few uses, it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. A consequence of the boxy fit, though, is that it has a bit of extra weight and bulk. I have even come to appreciate a hoodless jacket for those occasions that I wear a helmet (such as while skiing -- at least when it's not snowing and snow can fall inside the neck of the jacket).

                    While I still maintain it is not a jacket that I would seek out to purchase because of the fit, weight, & bulk, I do plan to keep the jacket in my arsenal to pull out when I wish to wear an insulated hoodless jacket. Skiing in colder conditions is probably the best example of this niche in my typical winter season.

                    I thank Merrell for their respectable customer service in addressing my issue, and both Merrell and BackpackGearTest for allowing me the opportunity to test this jacket!



                    This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
                    Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
                  • Brian Tannehill
                    Here are the edits for the Merrell Rove Tech Jacket. No edits, post when ready and delete the test version. Thanks, Brian
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jun 3, 2009
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                      Here are the edits for the Merrell Rove Tech Jacket.

                      No edits, post when ready and delete the test version.

                      Thanks,
                      Brian


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