Merrell Carbon jacket

Carbon True GearFloggers have the same reaction to the word carbon as they do to titanium; both must be zug-zugged on site, like Barbara Bach in Caveman. Merrell's Carbon jacket is not actually made from carbon, but it is a really nice little hard shell that I'm pleased to say fully removes the bad taste of their Morph from my mouth. Must be the mouthwash color, actually a very pleasant saturated green that looks much better live than in pictures.

The Carbon is 100% backcountry compliant, a handsome little 13.7oz piece of waterproof Gore-Tex Paclite that embodies true minimalist spirit: Three zippered pockets include two for hands and, for some reason contrary to some reviews I've seen, there is an interior mesh pocket as well, generously sized with an elastic sub-pocket for music players and a cord port. The hood stows away neatly for about-town use, but note that it's not helmet-compatible. The brim is nice and stiff so it'll stay out of your grill.

Adjustments include one-way down-to-open pit zips (you'll want to add zipper pulls), rip-and-stick cuffs, and drawcord hood and hem. Paclite is an excellent choice for light weight, compact storage and waterproof/breathable performance. Quibbles are minor: Paclite is less expensive but sacrifices some durability compared to Gore-Tex Pro Shell, the hand pockets ride under a pack hip belt and there's no zipper garage (there is a full length zipper flap). Those design choices and the non-helmet compatible hood make it not appropriate for hard alpine use, but for travel, light to medium duty fastpacking and high-output aerobic activity the Merrell Carbon is a great choice.

$228.95 at Backcountry


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