The North Face Meru Jacket Review
If you are an outdoor enthusiast that is looking for an ultra light-do-everything shell, then the Meru Jacket by The North Face might just be the jacket for you. The Meru incorporates GORE-TEX® PACLITE technology and many other note-worthy features to make this jacket one of my favorite pieces this spring. First and foremost, the Meru is a serious jacket that can be used for alpine backcountry pursuits when you need a lot of protection while not adding too much weight to your pack. The Meru is therefore more than your standard rain-shell and carries a higher price tag as a result, MSRP $229. The Meru is available in both men’s and women’s sizing and I will take a closer look at the women’s version in this review.
So what is GORE-TEX® PACLITE®? Well, simply put it is a 100% waterproof barrier that allows for breathability while shedding rain-snow-or sleet. PACLITE® is also durable with 100% ripstop nylon and touts that its’ 3 layer construction is 15% lighter than other 3 layers, weighing 1.1 oz/square yard. These little details are a bit overwhelming, but what is all means for you, the wearer, is that you have an extremely lightweight-compressable-waterproof shell that is durable and breathable.
I have been wearing the Meru Jacket by TNF for ski tours, fast hiking in fickle weather conditions, climbing, and as a wet-weather trail running jacket. The Meru’s athletic cut allows for full arm range of motion without riding up, while also accommodating varied layering. I have worn a micro-puff down, fleece midlayer, and baselayer under a size medium with ease. The alpine chest pockets are extremely handy while wearing a pack to easily stash items such as skins, gloves, etc. The jacket does not have pit zips, which I was a little bummed about at first. But the breathability of the jacket has been incredible when skinning uphill and the alpine pockets double as vents when opened up. Waist pockets are not always as handy due to the position of the pack waist belt, as a result, I have learned to love alpine pockets. The shoulders of the jacket show no sign of wear or tear despite occasional heavy loads and the ripstop nylon appears pretty tough thus far.
When the weather turns nasty, I found it easy to cinch down the adjustable hood with the external pulls. To get a better fit with the hood, there is also rear adjustments. I was not able to get a ski helmet under the hood, but a climbing one just fit. The brim on the hood is not overly large and is flexible when packed away. There are adjustable hem pull ties at each hip that can be quickly adjusted with one hand. We were a little concerned about this jacket being completely waterproof in the zipper area; there are reverse coil zippers to prevent water entry, however there is not a piece of laminate which we are used to seeing. With that said, we did not experience any leaking in some of the worst of storms and are interested to see how this feature plays out over the entire rainy season.
The North Face’s design and GORE-TEX’s® PACLITE® fabric combine excellently in the Meru Jacket to provide a light-weight storm shell that is ready to handle the elements.
• Performance fit
• Waterproof, breathable, seam sealed
• Fully adjustable hood with hidden cord locks and laminated hood brim
• Reverse-coil zips
• Two alpine pockets
• Chest pocket
• Core vents
• Non-abrasive molded cuff tabs
• Hideaway hem cinch-cord
• Summit Series® collection is harness and pack-compatible
• Fabric 30D 38 g/m² (1.1 oz/yd² ) GORE-TEX® Paclite®—100% nylon ripstop
• Avg Weight 380 g (12.8 oz)
• Length from Center Back 26 in.