With all the variety of jackets out there, the consumer has nearly infinite choices on fabrics, insulation, colors and styles. Each one fulfills a niche and has a target audience. When Merrell introduced their outerwear line in 2007, I was immediately impressed by the quality of fabrics and designs. Coming from a footwear manufacturer, it was really cool to see the fruits of their product design group and market research because I felt the overall package was genius.
As the Merrell apparel line has evolved and expanded, both new technologies and designs have been introduced to the market. One interesting example was the Gatherer Jacket, which is a translucent design that offers “stuffable” insulation pockets. Most recently, Merrell introduced their NADA line, which stands for Not Any Dye Applied. The new NADA line continues along the lines of sustainability that defines the Merrell line. I’ve been able to flog a few pieces in the line and over the past year, I’ve had the Merrell Rove Tech Jacket in for testing.
About the Merrell Rove Tech Jacket
Built as a lightweight, yet highly-insulative jacket, the Rove Tech is made for cold weather downtown or in the mountains. The lightweight nature of this jacket keeps things comfortable under many conditions and the PrimaLoft One™ insulation does an excellent job of providing warmth when needed. Here are a few specs:
- Shell: 100% polyester
- Insulation: PrimaLoft One
- Pockets: Two handwarmer pockets and two chest pockets (interior with MP3 player sleeve and exterior)
- Colors: Moss (Black) or Brick (Red)
- MSRP: $130
Merrell Rove Tech Jacket Review
The Merrell Rove Tech Jacket has been my “go-to” jacket for many cold-weather activities. The lightweight and compressible PrimaLoft insulation provides just the right amount of warmth without turning it into a sauna. Running around town, shoveling the driveway and heading to the ski resorts, this jacket has been awesome. As outerwear, the jacket is warm and comfortable with just a long-sleeve shirt underneath all the way down to the low 20’s. I remember one cold night on the town in Salt Lake City with just this jacket and a long-sleeve underneath and it kept me quite comfortable all night.
Breathability is pretty good with the Rove Tech Jacket… it’s still going to trap the sweat more than just a shell would, but it has proven to be much more efficient than some puffy down jackets at allowing perspiration to escape. It’s not the ideal for highly-aerobic activity, but it is better than down, I’ve found.
I liked how easily the lower hem cinched with a single pull. There are tiny rubber/plastic tabs that say to your digits “grab and pull” and they actually work. Many “one-pull” hems aren’t quite as user-friendly as these are. I’ve also appreciated the sleeve cuffs which feature a straight cut for style, but hide an inner woven cuff to keep the cold and snow out of your arms. It works great with gloves and keeps everything protected.
As an outer layer, this jacket is great, but as an insulative layer, however, the jacket isn’t my top choice. Under highly-aerobic activity, the jacket will trap a little more sweat and feel cold to the touch. Again, better than heavy insulation or down in my book, but not the ideal–especially when worn under a shell. I much prefer softshell fleece as an insulation layer if you’re going to be working up a sweat because it wicks the moisture away and still feels comfortable to the touch. Also, the nice cuffs work great when used as the outer layer, but it gets too bulky when trying to put gloves, the Rove Tech and a shell on top–especially if you’re wearing a watch.
Good Rove Tech
- PrimaLoft One insulation is lightweight and compressible
- Stays warm when wet
- Wears well and is comfortable
- Excellent warmth
- True “single-pull” hems
- Media pocket to house the iPod
Bad Rove Tech
- Sleeve cuffs make it cumbersome as a mid-layer
- Traps more sweat than softshell fleece
The Bottom Line on the Merrell Rove Tech Jacket
Around town and to the mountains, this jacket is phenomenal. I appreciate the comfort and subdued style. After using this PrimaLoft-insulated jacket, I much prefer it to natural down jackets if you’re going to be engaging in any type of physical activity. Synthetic insulation does a better job at breathing and keeping you warm when wet compared to natural fibers.