FR - Merrell Rove Jacket - Rick
- Tester - Rick Allnutt
Merrell Rove Jacket
The HTML version is here:
And the text of the Field report portion follows:
31 March 2009
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
20 December 2008 – Night at South Llano River State Park, Junction
Texas. Hammock camping. Low of about 45 F (7 C). A beautiful clear night
with lots of astronomy accomplished.
23 January 2009 – Garner State Park Texas. Testing gear and doing
astronomy at this dark sky site. Tested the gear in cold windy
conditions. Low of 30 F (-1 C). I had to wear the jacket under my
sleeping quilt to stay warm. It was that cold in the wind.
30 January 2009 – Cat’s Meow Star Field, Fredericksburg, TX. Cold night
doing astronomy in the Texas hill country. Clear skies, temperature
about 27 F (-3 C). Cold night with no other coat other than the Merrell
28 February 2009 - Another night of astronomy. Slept in the back of my
truck under the clear sky. Low temperature of 23 F (-5 C). Used the
Merrell jacket as insulation under an overcoat.
27-29 March 2009 - Another moonless weekend of astronomy - two nights.
Cold with high winds. Low temperature of 32 F (0 C).
For the astronomy nights listed, I was up most of the night looking at
stars and getting cold. I would take an couple hours of nap every couple
In addition to the 5 nights above, I also used the jacket for a number
of day hikes, and several trips to Ohio. I also wore it to work almost
every day during the period.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Jackets are about the easiest of all hiking equipment to give a full
test during a testing period. Not only are they necessary gear for all
hikes - from day hikes to long distance hikes - but they are useful
every day of the testing period. In keeping with that, I have worn this
jacket for approximately 100 days in the Field Testing period. That is a
lot of use. Most of the time, it has been my only outer insulation. But
on a couple of the sub-freezing astronomy nights, I wore the jacket as a
layer of insulation under an outer coat.
This Merrell jacket is well made. I have not had any issues with seams,
construction, or quality. Only two times has the zipper pull gotten
fouled by the flap next to the zipper. Both of those times were in the
dark and in awkward positions. And even then, it was easy to run the
zipper back down to get the "storm flap" out from under the zipper. In
neither case was the cloth damaged by the zipper pull.
I have walked in the jacket, slept in the jacket, and tested the water
resistant nature of the cloth in drizzle conditions. The jacket
insulates even when moist from perspiration. The surface of the cloth
sheds water pretty well for non-waterproof material. It eventually wets,
but even then it does not mat and it retains its insulation value - it
kept me warm. Most of my walking has been on trails, but some of it has
been off trail, doing some bush whacking. The material has been much
more resistant to this sort of abuse than I would have expected. For a
light and filmy sort of outer covering, it has not suffered any pulled
threads from Texas juniper or other vegetation.
The jacket packs at least as compactly as any other jacket, fleece, or
other insulation layer I have ever carried. It is lighter than most of
those layers. That makes it a good choice for just about every season of
camping. I have to have some insulation every month of the year when I
go camping in the mountains. This jacket fits the bill either as my only
insulation for three seasons, or as my under layer for the dead of
winter in the areas I walk.
I have used the jacket enough that I have found it necessary to wash it
several times. Each time I followed the instructions in the jacket
lining and washed it in a machine and let it hang dry. The color has
been "color fast", not bleeding onto other items. The durable water
resistant finish of the cloth may have suffered just a bit with repeated
Things I like thus far:
- The jacket is easy to wear, easy to carry, and keeps me warm.
- The quality of the sewing and construction is first rate.
Things I don't like:
Nothing at all. Really.
Please come on back in a couple months and see how the jacket did on my
Appalachian Trail hike in May.