The North Face Meru Paclite Jacket
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $199
This jacket is very light, has high pockets for hiking with your hands elevated, and rolls up into a pretty small ball. The zipper is a little tough to get started and the hood tends to droop down in front of my eyes. Also, I cannot push the sleeves up to my elbows because they do not expand.
- Very light
- Rolls up nicely and fits in the glove compartment well.
- Has a bill on the hood.
- High pockets for elevating hands while hiking.
- Stays good and dry.
- Fits large to go over another layer.
- long enough to cover a knife or firearm on your belt in rain.
- Zipper is a little bit temperamental when starting.
- Hood does not roll up into a pocket.
- Sleeves won't push up to my elbows for cooling.
- No pit zips.
I bought this to fill my need for a higher-end rain shell. I have worn it while hiking in two separate heavy downpours, and so far I really like it. I use a heavier North Face jacket that is only water resistant beneath it for insulation when it rains on the trail.
The jacket is very light and I have no problem fitting it into my pack. When rolled up, I estimate its size to be a cylinder about 4 inches across and 7 inches long. I use a rubber band to keep it in check in the pack. I like the look and the color, and the bill on the hood managed to keep the rain out of my eyes and off of my neck.
I chose this jacket over a pricey Marmot because the Marmot had low pockets, and I prefer to keep my hand elevated while hiking. This jacket has the higher pockets. During a three-hour downpour I did not experience any water soaking through the seams or anywhere else. I have a XL, and I think it's a little on the big size, but it fits nicely over my insulation layer beneath.
One added bonus I did not expect: the length of the jacket kept my pistol and knife dry on my belt, which is handy. The zipper is two way and will let you unzip from the bottom for venting purposes.
I went through four of these jackets at R.E.I. to find the one with the "easiest starting" zipper. Since then, it seems to be getting a little tougher to get started, though I hope the parts that are causing the hangup will wear and get easier with more use. Supposedly there is a lifetime warranty, and I have a feeling I will find out if the zipper is covered at some point.
I would have liked to have a hood that rolled away when not in use, but it is so light that it doesn't drive me crazy. Also, my North Face insulation jacket that I wear beneath this one has the same cuff-velcro, and it's stretchy material will allow me to push my sleeves up to my elbows when I get too warm. The Meru will not, as it is not stretchy and I have beefy forearms. I'm considering having it altered to remedy this, and if I do, I will amend this report as to the results.
There are no pit-zips, but the elongated pockets are intended to vent when opened...and it seems to work. In hindsight, now that I have actually tried a prolonged hike in the rain, one might consider buying a rain shell with a teensy bit of insulation, as this jacket has pretty much none.
All in all, I'm glad I made this purchase despite the price. If I have problems with the zipper in the future and North Face takes care of it, I will be a happy camper. I recommend this for a rain shell.
Where to Buy
Here's what other sites are saying:
The North Face Meru PacLite men's jacket is highly compressible for easy packing, and designed with Gore-Tex(R) PacLite(R) for lightweight protection from the elements. Minimally featured Meru makes an excellent emergency shell. 2.5-layer Gore-Tex PacLite is engineered to be light, packable and more breathable than other 2- or 3-layer Gore-Tex fabrics. A waterproof membrane is laminated to the shell fabric and then covered by a thin, durable protective oil-resistant coating. Lack of need for a separate lining allows fabric to be light and compact; combines durable wind- and waterproofness with exceptional breathability. Fully adjustable hood features a laminated brim and hidden drawcord locks that allow good visibility in all directions. Smooth reverse coil zippers. Low-profile, adjustable cuff tabs and hidden hem drawcord. Core-venting pockets are strategically placed for accessibility when a pack is worn; they offer ventilation when your body temperature rises. The North Face Meru PacLite jacket is semifitted to enhance performance and minimize bulkiness.
- REI refers to the men's version
For those I-wish-I-had-my-jacket moments when you're traveling or on the trail, The North Face created the minimilistic Meru Paclite Jacket, a lightweight, waterproof and breathable emergency shell. Constructed with waterproof GORE-TEX and sealed seams, it sheds wet weather easily and provides plenty of pocket space with 2 hand pockets and a Napoleon chest pocket.
- Mountain Gear refers to the men's version
When you're high above the trailhead and a gusher of a storm comes out of nowhere, pull The North Face Meru Paclite Jacket out of your pocket and get waterproof in a zip. Gore-Tex made its waterproof breathable Paclite fabrics for activities where both space and weight are an issue, and where getting wet could mean more than just an uncomfortable afternoon. The North Face used this fabric in the Meru, which is shaped for your active lifestyle on the trail or on the ropes. Vents on the front make sure you don't get too steamy as you squish your way down the trail to the car, and the hood and hem adjust with drawcords to keep out the sideways rain.
- Backcountry.com refers to the men's version
The North Face Meru Paclite Jacket is an ultralight, highly compressible shell perfect for fast, alpine ascents, backpacking trips and for use and an emergency shell. Made from Gore-Tex Paclite material, the Meru Paclite Jacket is fully seam taped and provides a unbeatable weather protection. The Meru Paclite Jacket has minimal features to shave weight, however the Meru Paclite Jacket still boasts 3 pockets, core vents and a laminated hood brim while still tipping the scales at less than 16oz! The Meru Paclite Jacket features: Performance fit Fully adjustable hood with hidden cord locks and laminated hood brim Reverse coil zippers Two alpine pockets with core vents Napolean chest pocket Non-abraisive molded cuff tabs Hideaway hem cinch cord Meru Paclite Jacket specs: Gore-Tex Paclite construction Avg Weight: 14.1oz(400g)
- OMCgear refers to the men's version