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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Merrell Rove Tech & Moxie Jacket > Test Report by Jamie DeBenedetto
Moxie/Rove Tech Jacket
Reviewed by Jamie DeBenedetto
Reviewer's Information Back to contents
Product Information Back to contents
Description of Product
The Merrell Moxie is a light front zip winter jacket. Its outer shell is made of polyester treated with a DWR coating giving it a resistance to wind and water. The fill material is called Primaloft® One, which according to the hangtag has the following qualities:
The body of jacket is packed with 100 grams of this insulation while the sleeves only have 60 grams. The body and the sleeves are also lined with a different material, polyester for the body and nylon for the sleeves. Both the insulation difference and the lining are noticeable when touching the interior of the jacket.
The Moxie sports just a few features; two invisible zippered hand pockets, a chin guard over the zipper, a soft bit of material on the inside of the collar to protect the chin, and something a little unique, ribbed cuffs. These are soft and stretchy.
Made for women, the Moxie is cut with a slightly more feminine shape. The material draws in just a tad at the waist line and then flares out again over the hips. Aesthetically it's not a bad looking piece. It's stylish with a modern look. The espresso color is a nice earth tone but it reminds me a little of a UPS carriers jacket.
Arrival Condition and First Impressions Back to contents
The Merrell Moxie arrived in decent shape. I didn't find any major issues with the fabric or zippers. The only sewing blemishes I found were three little stray strings on the hem next to the main zipper. I did notice something a bit inconsistent with the image of the jacket on the manufacturer's webpage, however. The photograph on the website shows the Moxie as having what they call, "comfort ribbed cuffs", which stick out from the rest of the sleeve material. My jacket has these cuffs but they do not extend past the sleeve material at all. This gives the sleeve a very different look than what is pictured. This is illustrated in the picture below.
The website was disappointing in a few other areas as well. With regards to sizing, I could not find any information explaining how Merrell defines XS - XL. Ultimately I just guessed at the size and hoped for the best, which is not something I would have done had I been looking to buy this jacket. Unfortunately, my size estimate was incorrect, the women's XL I received doesn't fit my taller frame. I will be exchanging it for a men's Medium.
For the sake of other tall women reading this and considering the Moxie I think it's important to have a full understanding of why the XL doesn't fit me. It's not a matter of girth as I'm not overly chesty or round in the middle, it's the sleeve length and shoulder width that are giving me trouble. Standing still the Moxie's sleeves are not bad but as soon as I stretch my arms out, down, above my head, anything, the fabric at the shoulders constricts and the sleeves ride up. The picture at the left shows just how far the sleeves travel up my arms as I reach down for the stick. I've had this happen with other garments, especially blouses or dresses, but putting up with an imperfect fit for the sake of looks is one thing when I'm attending a wedding, it's just down right foolish when applied to an outdoor essential like a jacket. The product information accompanying the garment and on the website was also very slim. The total weight of the jacket was sadly omitted, as were helpful measurements like sleeve and torso length and torso/chest girth. The jacket did come with a hangtag explaining the PrimaLoft™ One insulation in a little more detail. Finally, and this is just a personal pet peeve, I really like to know up front in what country items are made. This heavily influences my purchase decisions so listing it with the other garment information saves me calling or emailing customer service.
Addendum as of Feb. 2009 Back to contents
Since the largest women's size didn't fit me, I traded in the espresso colored Moxie for a medium brick red Rove Tech, the men's version of the jacket. I have had the replacement jacket since Feb 4th, 2009. It arrived in the same good condition as the Moxie had and it fits reasonably well. It's trim through the torso but I'm okay with that type of cut. More importantly, the sleeves are just right. In addition to a name change, there are a few differences between the men and women's versions, these are listed below.
The Rove Tech has two extra pockets. One Napoleon style on the outside just left of the main zipper and one inside the jacket on the right side. The outside pocket is just a pocket, but the inside pocket has something special, a smaller, internal mesh compartment for IPods or other small music players and a built-in headphone port. The ribbed cuffs on the Rove Tech's sleeves, unlike the Moxie, do extend past the end of the sleeve. And finally, the Rove Tech has a draw cord waist. I don't recall whether or not the Moxie had this. I did not list it in my report so I'm assuming it didn't but I could very well have missed it.
Here are the Rove Tech's measurements as received:
Total Weight - 18.5 oz (524 g)
Due to the hustle and bustle of Christmas followed by the Winter Outdoor Retailers Show Merrell had a bit of a delay in getting the Rove Tech to me. Unfortunately, that means I missed out on testing the entire month of January, resulting in less field use than I would have liked. Fortunately, I do hike several times a week so that helped but in almost every instance the Rove Tech was only needed for short bursts of time. In total I have worn the Rove Tech 8 to 10 times for an estimated 15 hrs in the field and at least 40 other times for well over 100 hrs around town. This report will cover the two longest outings in the field, and a few other random findings through February and March.
February - Snow hiking in Payson, AZ ; Elevation 6,200ft (1,900 m); Weather was sunny with temps between 47 F (8 C) and 50 F (10 C).
I work in the outdoors and on this particular outing I was up on the Mogollon Rim hiking and playing in the snow with my clients. Because of the mild temperatures I was using the Rove Tech over just a t-shirt. It worked perfectly. I love the ribbed cuffs. They kept the snow out of the sleeves and covered the tops of my gloves better than any other jacket I currently own. Even when I was "attacked" by my rowdy bunch of hiking companions I was well protected. (picture at right).
I found all the jacket's zippers useable with gloved hands. I have had some problems with snagging the zipper on the fabric runner located to one side of each zipper. I'm assuming this strip of nylon material, the same as the jacket, is there to conceal the compartment but it tends to drop into the line of the zippers when zipping up. Despite this issue the Napoleon pocket in the front was super handy. I was wearing a front pack so the hand warmer pockets were blocked. I used the Napoleon pocket to hold my keys and cell phone so I could reach these very important items easily and keep them dry. I was pleased with the Rove Tech's performance, fit and features on this trip.
March - Day hike in the Tonto National Forest north of Scottsdale, AZ; Elevation 2,400 ft (730 m); Weather was sunny, windy and cool. The temperature when we began our hike was 38 F (3 C).
I was very happy I had brought the Rove Tech on this hike. The temperatures when we reached the trailhead were much colder than expected and once again I was only wearing a t-shirt under the jacket. Before the actual hike started we had several minutes of waiting, this served as a good opportunity to evaluate how well the jacket worked when I was inactive. Well it turns out 38 F (3 C) was a bit too low when I have only a cotton t-shirt underneath. It may have been a combination of the wind and the cold air but either way the results are the same. I felt chilled until we started hiking.
One area where the cold was most noticeably getting to me was the hand warmer pockets. They are not insulated, which leaves the wind resistant fabric as the only source of protection from the elements and it's not enough.
Later in the hike when I warmed up too much I tied the Rove Tech around my waist. Sometimes nylon is too slippery to work this way but it held. I eventually decided to roll it up and stow it in my pack because we were trekking through some dense brush. That brings up the matter of packability. My feelings are mixed right now. It's clear the PrimaLoft™ One insulation doesn't compresses as well as down, albeit I didn't have a stuff sack to cram it into or anything. And yet, it wasn't super bulky. The best way I can think to describe it is a comparison. Balled up, it was close to cantaloupe or honeydew melon size. I hope that helps.
Other Findings Back to contents
Apart from these outings I had opportunities to use the Rove Tech for a short stint in rain and on several windy days. For the most part, I'd say the wind and water resistant ripstop fabric provided pretty good protection. During the rain exposure, which involved three or four volleys of light to heavy rain totaling about 30 minutes, I found the water repellency fading around the base of the sleeve and pocket area. The rest of the jacket continued to bead water well. I assume the problem with the pockets and sleeves was a result of the higher number of times I touched the fabric in those spots. The pictures below and to the right illustrate the beading and the wetting through as well as I could photograph it.
Collective Use and Field Conditions over the Last Two Months
We pretty much skipped spring and jumped right into summer here in the lower deserts of Arizona and that means I have had very few opportunities to wear a jacket. Unfortunately, the Merrell Rove Tech has only been used around fifteen more times in these last two months of testing and of those only three were in the field. Adding that to my Field Report usage I have worn the jacket between eleven and thirteen times for an estimated total of 17 hours while either dayhiking or playing in the snow. Beyond that I'd say I have at minimum 125 hrs in the jacket off trail.
Weather conditions in April (I did not wear it in May) jumped around a bit. There were a few mornings around 50 F (10 C) where I needed the Rove Tech before setting out for the hike and/or while at rest. On all occasions I was hiking in the Sonoran Desert around Phoenix, AZ. Elevations in these desert mountain parks range from 1,500 ft (450 m) up to 2,100 ft (640 m).
Long Term Conclusions Back to contents
I don't feel I've worn the Merrell Rove Tech on enough outdoor adventures to really be sure of how well it would perform in varied weather conditions so I'm going to hold off on making a blanket statement like, "I love it or I hate it". What I will say is this:
Regarding fit I found the Rove Tech reasonably comfortable once I figured out the correct size for my body. The length of the jacket and the way the ribbed cuffs hugged my wrists, keeping cold air at bay, were the best points of the jacket's design. By contrast I think the slimmer torso cut could have been a bit more generous.
Functionally, I cannot speak to how well the PrimaLoft™ One insulation would retain its warmth once the outside fabric had been breached by water. I can say the jacket did fine in dry, mildly cool conditions, even with only a single t-shirt layer underneath. And it did keep me warm and dry during a short stint in intermittent rain. The difference in insulation between the body and sleeves was not noticeable, however, the lack of insulation on the outside of the hand "warmer" pockets was. Skimping on the insulation here doesn't make much sense to me, without it, the pockets are only good for storage. The two chest pockets on the other hand I liked. I used them both quite often to hold little things like my keys and lip balm. Very useful and workable even with gloved hands. I don't listen to music while hiking so I didn't use the media portion of the internal storage pocket so I won't comment.
The manufacturer claims the jacket compresses like down. I own a medium weight down jacket of similar size and fill and the Rove Tech falls a bit short but it's not too bad. It certainly compresses a whole heck of a lot better than a fleece I own that takes me down to nearly the same temperatures. After being compressed it does bounce back quickly and without lasting wrinkles. The inside insulation hasn't had any problems moving around either.
Final Thoughts Back to contents
This concludes my four month assessment of the Merrell Rove Tech Jacket. My thanks to Merrell and Backpackgeartest.org for the chance to be one of the testers. I will add an addendum to this report after next winter when I've had more time in the field with this jacket.
- Jamie J. DeBenedetto - 2009
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