Light Jacket Help (Outdoor Research or Merrell)

7:47 a.m. on November 6, 2012 (EST)
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I've found two jackets I like and trying to decide between the two.  Mostly just for light hiking and since I live in a city I wait around at some bus stops at times.  I'm hoping with another light layer underneath these will be satisfactory in the 40-20 degree range.  I live in Missouri if that helps at all.

One is 650-fill down and the other synthetic, PrimaLoft Synergy polyester

The synthetic is about twice the weight, I know down is lighter, but not sure if the warmth will be comparable for that much weight difference.

I like the style of both, and I know where I can get either for almost the same price.  I can't find any reviews on the Merrell, not sure if it is a newer item or what.

I'm new to buying these brands, before I always bought cheaper jackets and didn't really do my research.  So any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

It won't let me link the items, but here is their descriptions and an image comparison.

First is: Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Hoodie Jacket

Fabric type: Polyester / polyester blend

Shell fabric: Ripstop polyester

Shell lining fabric: Polyester taffeta

Windproof: No

Waterproof: No

Insulated: Yes

Insulation type: Down

Insulation: 650-fill down

Back length?: Hip-length

Back length? (in.): 29 inches

Average weight?: 1 pound Hood: Yes

Second is: Merrell Adventure Rest Ridgeland Hoodie Jacket

Fabric type: Polyester / polyester blend

Shell fabric: Polyester 

Shell lining fabric: Polyester 

Windproof: No

Waterproof: No

Insulated: Yes

Insulation type: Synthetic 

Insulation: PrimaLoft Synergy polyester fibers (50% recycled) 

3-in-1 jacket:  No

Hood: Yes

Back length?: Thigh-length 

Back length? (in.): 31 inches

Average weight?: 2 lbs. 3.2 oz. 


3:50 p.m. on November 6, 2012 (EST)
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848 forum posts

both jackets are pretty wimpy for 20 degree weather...but with an insulating layer you might get by. If  your not concerned about the weight i'd go with the primaloft jacket in case it gets wet...down is useless when it gets wet. of course if it's raining you would have to use a shell.

10:49 p.m. on November 6, 2012 (EST)
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For warmth, I'd take down. It's a lot warmer with 650-fill down (I wear a 400-fill down sweater with a shell at 20°F) and as you know the weight is quite a bit less. There are good reason why the more expensive down jackets still sell well. I notice that Merrell sells down coats too, but they charge $100 more for them than for the Prima-Loft versions. 

You'll also notice that the Transcendent is made with ripstop nylon rather than regular, so even as an UL model I'd expect it to last fairly well.  You mention wearing a light layer underneath - if you pair it up with a waterproof shell on top (necessary for both jackets if it rains) temps of 20-40°F shouldn't be a factor.

I do like OR's 'Infinite Guarantee', though. If the jacket ever fails, for any reason, you'll get a new one with no hassles.

Since part of the reason you want the jacket for is for wearing it around town, you are probably also considering the image it will project. Of the two, OR has a more technical rep, but it's probably not as well known to the average joe as Merrell. I don't mean to stereotype, but I'd take the Merrell for looking cool and the OR for backcountry hiking.

Just my opinion. Good for you for doing your research, though.

7:02 a.m. on November 7, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks for your feedback, now I'm leaning towards the down with a shell layer, as both of you mentioned.  If I need another outer layer anyway, I think I would like the lighter of the two insulates.

I'd heard good things about OR's products.  I like Merrell's shoes but don't know anything about their outerwear.  I think both look fine, so I'm not really concerned about the brand recognition so much. 

Could you recommend a good waterproof shell for the outer layer?  It doesn't have to be the same brand.

Thanks again.

8:52 a.m. on November 7, 2012 (EST)
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You can read my review on my OR Foray Jacket, but IMHO anything with Gore-Tex will keep you dry. I like the pit zips for venting on most of the OR products. Other people like eVent or other fabrics. I wasn't impressed with Pertex - it seems to rely on its DWR coating for dryness rather than the fabric.

12:01 p.m. on November 8, 2012 (EST)
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if you want a functional rain jacket without spending a lot of money, which is probably fine for light hiking and around town, look at Marmot's PreCip, LL Bean's trail model rain jacket, or something else that has a non-gore tex membrane.  they work fine, they allow some moisture to escape, and gore tex ends up costing a fair bit extra. 


8:27 p.m. on November 8, 2012 (EST)
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second the non goretex motion. my rain jacket works fine without it.

7:58 a.m. on November 9, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks everyone, looks like I have a little more comparison shopping to do before I decide.  

This is a very helpful forum.

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