Merrell introduced their all-new clothing line in 2007. The goal with the line was to create outerwear that looked good, felt good and also worked well in all conditions–from the office to the backcountry. There are a few players in this market, but none of them have hit the market as hard and fast as Merrell’s new clothing line.
Not willing to compromise on quality, Merrell has selected to partner with some of the top fabrics in the industry to complement their own top-notch technologies. You’ll see Gore-Tex, PrimaLoft, Vibram, Polartec, Windstopper, Cocona and Schoeller alongside Merrell’s proprietary Slick Seam, Opti-Shell and Bio-Blend fabrics and technology. I’ve seen much of their clothing line first-hand and am very impressed with the style and function of the entire line.
About the Rove Tech Vest
The Merrell Rove Tech Vest can be used as both an outerwear or an insulating layer. On cool days, a long-sleeve shirt combined with the vest blocks the wind from your core and provides just enough warmth. On frigid days, the Rove Tech Vest can be worn on top of a lightweight fleece jacket, then under a shell to act like a little personal stove–trapping the warm air and insulating your core from the cold touch of your shell.
I’m a big fan of vests as a key insulating layer for any cold-weather activity. They really do keep you warm, but also allow your body to breathe and sweat to dissipate. If your jacket has pit zips–even better. Pit zips and vests offer the best of both worlds: 1) breathability and 2) warmth.
Some nice touches on the Rove Tech include: two lined handwarmer pockets, an upper front pocket, an interior pocket with headphone port and nice vibram zipper pulls, which make grabbing the zippers a cinch. Also noteworthy is the subtle branding details so as not to scream “look at me, I’m cool.” Here are the details on the Rove Tech from Merrell.com:
An insulated vest that’s warm and rain-resistant, light and thin, smooth and athletic. Soft-touch, water-resistant 100% polyester shell. Perfectly cut for close fit for a trim look and to fit under a jacket when you want to layer up. Warm, low-bulk PrimaLoft® One insulation. Interior security pocket. Vibram™ zipper pull.
The Bottom Line on the Rove Tech
As stated earlier, I dig vests. Not very often will you find me in the backcountry or at the resort without a vest as an insulating layer. The Rove tech is particularly killer because it uses PrimaLoft One, which is superior to natural down in its ability to keep you warm even when wet. Luckily, I didn’t fall into an icy cold river to test the warm when wet claim… I’ll just trust PrimaLoft on that one. I did, however, use the Rove Tech under varying conditions and found it to be comfortable to wear, but I was thankful for pit zips because it can get quite warm in a hurry.
The great thing about puffy vests is that it maintains a critical air gap between your body and the shell. With fleece, you won’t get nearly the warmth of a PrimaLoft insulated vest because you won’t have the same amount of trapped air between the insulating fibers.
On a 25-degree snowy resort day at Brighton Ski Resort, I found the Rove Tech perfect for keeping me warm on the ride up the Crest Express high-speed quad, but downright toasty by the time I made my way back to the bottom of the lift. I found the pit zips to be critical on my Mountain Hardwear jacket under more aerobic conditions. Again, a vest is killer for ventilation because it allows for much more airflow when your pit zips are open.
The only downer I’ve found with the Rove Tech (and I’ve been told this is being remedied) is the quality of the actual zipper. The darn thing is a pain to get started right. Once started, it zips up perfectly, but getting the ball rolling sometimes takes 5 seconds of fiddling. Other than that, the vest overall is stellar and I highly recommend it. It provides the perfect amount of warmth in all conditions and looks stylish alone over a long-sleeve button-up.