Merrell LogoAfter slogging around all day in the backcountry, my jacket can get downright manky. No matter how breathable it may be, it’s not going to cut it for an immediate night on the town in Park City. But, if you’re like me, you don’t want to be bogged down by some heavy, bulky and uncomfortable jacket, sweatshirt or pants. You want something that can take you from downtown to middle-of-nowhere in style and comfort. And, should you happen to go for an impromptu hike or bike ride with the kids, you definitely don’t want to feel like your not dressed the part.

To meet the needs of the busy and adventurous, Merrell has launched an entirely new clothing line that’s built to be functional for all your outdoor pursuits–planned or unplanned–and still look stylish in all occasions. Browsing through the new Spring 2008 lineup at Outdoor Retailer, I was impressed with the overall quality and style of every piece in the line. I looked at every piece and thought to myself, “hey… that would look good in a business meeting and yet still be functional enough to chase the kids around at the park after work.” Not every piece is intended to be a crossover piece. They also offer lightweight aerobic-specific pieces as well.

One of the great trends they are following is the use of organic materials like merino wool, coconut fibers (Cocona) and copper fibers (Coppertec) woven into the fabrics–Cocona and Coppertec will be introduced in the Spring 2008 line. Sometimes, no matter how good we are at creating man-made materials, the natural fibers rise to the top as the most comfortable and durable. Plus, it’s great to use a renewable resource that’s more environmentally-friendly.

Since it’s not always socially-acceptable to be a mangy ski bum, here are a few highlights from the Fall/Winter 2007 product line:

Merrell Universal Shell

While it’s not going to be found as a trusted backcountry skiing parter, just know that with the Gore-tex Pro Shell 3-layer fabric, you could push this jacket up the skintrack and it wouldn’t let you down. This jacket is perfect for a soggy resort day, a winter hike, or just trudging through the snowy streets of Salt Lake City. All seams are sealed with 8mm tape, the hood is removable, all zippers are of the waterproof variety and pit-zips are there for ventilation. The Universal Shell packs technical and functional style to keep you warm and dry no matter where your next adventure may be.

Merrell Universal Gore-tex Shell Jacket

MSRP on the Universal Jacket is $400.

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Merrell Big Sky Jacket

The Big Sky jacket is big on style and function. Check out the bonded wool outer and fleece lining to provide the best of both worlds. I dig the style on this jacket and love that it is functional to boot. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, wool fabrics were the staple for wet winter adventures. The Big Sky taps into some old-school roots while still maintaining a level of high-tech functionality we can all enjoy. Other nice features are the Action-stretch pit panels and a soft chin guard that you’ll appreciate when fully zipped.

Merrell Big Sky Wool Fleece Jacket

MSRP on the Big Sky Jacket is $130.

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Merrell Rove Tech Vest

You’ve always got to have the vest option in the gear closet. Vests are a great layering piece or even as an outer layer to protect your core from the wind, but still provide the utmost in breathability. I’m still bummed that I lost my favorite vest somewhere between college apartments over 10 years ago. The Merrell Rove Tech vest sports PrimaLoft One insulation and a water-resistant outer shell. The fit is athletic to cut down on bulk and fit well under your jacket on cold nights. Looks like a cool, functional vest. I’ve posted some quick thoughts on this vest on and a thorough Rove Tech Vest review here.

Merrell Rove Tech Vest

MSRP on the Rove Tech Vest is $100 and it’s available online from Merrell and other fine outdoor retailers.

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About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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