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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Merrell Raven-Falconry Tri-Therm Jacket > Test Report by Gail Staisil

Merrell
Falconry Tri-Therm Jacket

Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan


Page Contents:

Initial Report:
October 11, 2010
The author in the Pigeon River Country State Forest
Tester Information

Name:
Gail Staisil
Age: 58
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 145 lb (66 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Gender: Female
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last two decades, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 14 lb (6.35 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.

Product Information

Manufacturer
Merrell
Website http://www.merrell.com
Model Falconry Tri-Therm
Color
Sangria (Also available in Black)
Size Women's Large  (Also available in  XS-XL as well as Men's  sizes)
Fabric
Shell: 2.5-layer Opti Shell, Inner liner: nylon with 800 Fill Power goose down
Manufacturer  Weight  NA
Tested Weight  Shell: 14 oz (397 g), Liner: 12.5 oz (354 g), Combined: 26.5 oz (751 g)
Model Year 2010
MSRP $499.00 US

Initial Impressions and Product Description 

Merrell Falconry Tri-Therm Jacket
The Merrell Falconry Tri-Therm Jacket arrived with a small hangtag denoting a few of its attributes. The requested size of Women's Large and the color of Sangria were received. 

The Falconry Jacket is actually described by the manufacturer as a 3-in-1 system, Tri-Therm or Triple Play. The outer shell can be worn by itself,
the second option is to wear the liner by itself or the third option is to combine the units to make an insulated jacket.

My initial impression of the jacket was that it was well designed and light weight. I was surprised when I un-zipped the jacket, and found all the snaps that allow separation of the liner from the shell. There are 17 snaps total! Eleven are around the inside perimeter of the jacket, 2 each under each armpit and 1 each on each sleeve.

Since I often layer two jackets of different types together without having to snap them or unsnap them together, I wondered if this was overkill. It does allow the jacket and liner to become one unit or to be taken on and off together.  

The snaps used are referred to as the Merrell M-Connect 3-in-1 snap system. This system features connectors that are lightweight and eliminates the use of zippers to connect the units. The snaps are very small and non bulky.

Shell
Shell with liner partially snapped in place
The shell of the jacket system is fabricated with 2.5-layer Merrell Opti-Shell, reportedly a waterproof and breathable fabric. The stretchable fabric face of the main shell is 94 percent polyester and 6 percent elastane that feels soft like suede and the contrasting non-stretchable inserts have a 100 percent nylon face. The latter are located on each lower side edge, the lower half of each sleeve and the top of each shoulder.

The lighter color of the contrasting nylon fabric has an embossed pattern which is very subtle but cool (same color rectangular graphics). The inside of the jacket is made out of polyurethane. The jacket is fully seam sealed and features mainly bonded non bulky seams.


Underarm Zips

The shell features underarm pitzips (which are also featured in the liner jacket). The underarm zippers are about 9.5 in (24 cm) in length. There are two zippered handwarmer pockets and also a pocket located near the bottom edge of the left sleeve. The latter could easily store a cell phone or car keys and has an inset zipper that is bonded in place. All of the zippers on the shell are bonded water resistant YKK Vision PU zippers.

Sleeve pocketThe shell measures about 15 in (38 cm) from the underarm seam to the bottom of the hem. I would categorize the jacket as having a slightly-tapered fit or trim fit. The jacket has princess seaming in the front and articulated sleeves with three darts at each elbow. The back of the jacket is also contoured for a feminine fit.

The sleeves are of the raglan style and do not bind my movement in any way. The sleeve edges are each finished with a hook and loop strap to modify the closure. I love the fact that there aren't any encased elastic on those areas as this allows for full ventilation if needed.


Hood

The hood of the jacket has many adjustment features. Two small plastic-type tubes with tiny slits are located one on either side of the hood area. An elasticized cord can be locked into position on each side by securing the elastic in the slit to fit the hood to my head. There is also an elastic encased in the rear of the hood to make adjustments to the circumference of the hood and a hook and loop tab to make vertical adjustments. The shaped hood has an integrated but tiny visor.


Hem adjustors

The lower hem also features adjustment toggles and there is a tiny triangular clip to which something could be attached....maybe a trail pass.


Liner Jacket

The liner jacket is essentially a light down sweater-type jacket without a hood. The jacket is made out of 100 percent very soft nylon. The insulation is 800 Fill Goose Down (90 percent goose down and 10 percent goose feather). The color of the liner jacket seems to be darker than the main shell or a bit more in the plum category. The insulation is sewn in a wavy pattern on all surfaces.
Inside of liner collar
The inside of the liner collar is lined in soft tricot as well as the inside edges of both sleeves and both handwarmer pockets. This adds a very comfy touch.

There are two pit zip zippers, the center front zipper, and two zippered outside handwarmer pockets. There is also an inside zippered pocket that can be used to store the liner jacket if not using it. The hem area also features adjusters for the circumference.

 
Fit

I tried the Falconry Tri-Therm Jacket on with various types of layers underneath. Since I wear at least a medium-weight top such as the R1 Patagonia top most of the time in the winter, I tried that on as my best case scenario. The shell fit easily over the top as well as it did with the separate lining jacket.

When the two jackets are snapped together, I get a whole different type of fit. It is not undesirable but it does cause the back of the jacket to slightly crease where I am the widest (gee, how can I say that nicely?) Testing will tell if this is because the shell was not made to accommodate the liner jacket in some areas or is it simply my body type? I seriously thought that maybe the next size up would eliminate this gap but checking the measurements assures me that it would simply be too wide overall.
The size chart was non evident on the manufacturer's website but I did find it on another site.

The length of the jacket just covers the hips so I would describe it as a fairly medium length for a jacket. The back edge of both the liner and the jacket have a slight dip in the lower hem.


Care


The care instructions are found on each unit of the system on an inside seam. The liner is to be hand washed in cold water or machine washed in a front loader machine. It states further to not wring, do not bleach, and no fabric softener. It can be tumble dried on low or no heat and for best results use two clean tennis balls. It should not be ironed or dry cleaned.

The shell can be machine washed on warm with like colors. Tumble drying on low is recommended. It can not be dry cleaned, bleached nor ironed. As noted the two different parts of the system need different washing instructions but have similarities in the "do not" category.

Overall, I really like the style and characteristics of the Falconry Jacket. Some of its neat features are the pit zips on both units, the forearm pocket on one of the sleeves of the shell and the lightweight of the whole unit combined. I have already worn all components of the jacket system on a short backpacking trip of two days. Check my field report in two months for more information on that trip plus much more. 

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Field Report:
December 21, 2011


USA Locations and Conditions

During the field test period, I have worn the Merrell Falconry Tri-Therm Jacket for such activities as backpacking, running/dryland ski training (October/November) and cross country skiing in late November and December. Total times worn were 57!

Trip 1 - Early October Backpacking Trip:

Location: Grand Island National Recreation Area - Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Lake Superior
Type of Trip:
Trail

Distance: 10.2 mi (16.4 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night

Pack Weight:
20 lb/9 kg (includes 4 lb/1.8 kg of water)

Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny, unseasonably warm!
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 73 F (23 C) to 44 F (7 C) 


Trip 2 - October Backpacking Trip:

Location: Porcupine Mountains State Park
Type of Trip:
Trail

Distance: 32 + mi (52 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights

Pack Weight: 
23 lb (10.4 kg)

Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, sunny
Precipitation: Trace
Temperature Range: 52 F (11 C) to 35 F (2 C)


Trip 3 - November Backpacking Trip:

Location: Craig Lake State Park
Type of Trip:
Trail

Distance: 9 mi (16 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night

Pack Weight:
20 lb/9 kg (includes 4 lb/1.8 kg of water)

Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 56 F (13 C) to 32 F (0 C)

Field Work 

I have worn the Merrell Falconry Tri-Therm Jacket most every day for sports activities. The breakdown of activities from my log is as follows;

Backpacking: 8 days
Dayhikes: 10 sessions (5 mi/8 km or more)
Trail Running: 9 sessions (4 to 6 mi/6.4 to 9.7 km)
Dryland Ski Training: 16 sessions (90 min group sessions, some individual shorter sessions of 60 min)
Cross Country Skiing (Classic and Skate): 14 sessions (average 1.5 to 2 hrs)
Taking off the early morning chill with the down liner
During my backpacking trips I mostly wore the outer shell of the Falconry Tri-Therm system under my backpack. It was very comfortable underneath the shoulder and waist harness with the pit zips open for ventilation. During the first trip the temps were warmer so I started the hike with the shell jacket on (just coming off a ferry ride) and then took it off and stowed it during the next few miles.

As soon as I got to camp I put the inner down jacket on to negate the brisk winds coming off the big lake. After setting up camp I went for a short dayhike of about 3 mi (5 km) with the inner jacket (with pit zips open) in place. When I returned to camp again I put the shell on over it. I did not snap the jacket system together as I knew I would be separating the layers again. I slept in the inner liner during the night.

The next morning I added the shell again for the breakfast hour and the first part of my hike. Again the shell was removed until I got back to the ferry where I put it back on in preparation for the crossing. The pattern here is a definite one for me. I constantly change the layers negating the usefulness of the snaps. It is simply too much bother to snap and unsnap repeatedly and the system works perfectly fine without them.

During the next two backpacking trips the temps were colder during the day (50 F/10 C) so I wore the outer shell constantly for my backpacking hours. A few mornings were at freezing temps (32 F/ 0 F) so I started the backpack with the inner down jacket on instead switching over to the shell jacket when I got hot. All nights I slept in the inner liner and I wore the shell over the down liner at all other times at camp.

All of my dayhikes took place in the rugged rocky terrain not far from my home. There is a lot of climbing and descending, rock scrambling and more. I wore the shell jacket for all of these hikes and the shell was very comfortable over a light wool top or similar. Most temps were 50 F (10 F) or below.

I also wore the jacket for 9 trail runs varying from 4 to 6 mi (6.4 km to 9.7 km) in length. Again rocky rugged terrain (singletrack) was covered. Although at times I was somewhat hot the pit zips were useful for venting purposes. I also lowered the center zip to the waist. The shell provided excellent protection from inclement weather with high winds and rain.
Wearing the Falconry during a skate ski session

During the entire fall/early winter, I took a class from university cross country ski coaches for dryland ski training. The 90-minute outdoor class involved ski walking, ski bounding with poles, plyometrics and agility-type drills. The class was held at night necessitating head lamps as the weeks progressed. All of these sessions were held on the local downhill ski mountain. Needless to say this is hard work! I wore the shell over a very light top throughout most training sessions. Although some times it became too hot, it still wasn't unbearable. I also did many sessions on my own as the months went by to supplement the classwork.

In late November I was glad that it was finally snowing and that I wouldn't have to do the dryland ski training any more. Skiing is always more fun! Now I am skiing most days of the week. The shell has kept me nicely protected from the falling snow and the winds. I have left the pit zips open the entire way on all sessions.

The temperatures have ranged from a low of 2 F (-17 C) to a high of 29 F (-2 C). Many days have been in the low 10's F (-12 C). On one occasion (night skiing) I wore the down layer underneath but all other sessions have involved the shell only. Layered under the shell was either a midweight-wool top or similar. I always remove the shell immediately after skiing and drive home with the d
own layer on instead. I find that the pieces work for me more as separates than together. As implied earlier, this is primarily because all my activity is aerobic based and I rarely need the combination.

 


More on Performance

I have only good thoughts regarding the performance of the shell jacket. It is a very comfortable, streamlined but stretchable jacket that has never hindered my movement. The pockets are very useful for carrying all sorts of stuff (light gloves, hat, snack, ski wax, car keys, cell phone) and the hood is adequate for the few times I've needed to use it (rain or strong winds). It has protected me well from the elements which included driving rain and snowstorms. I love the pit zips on the shell and simply have counted on them most every time I have used the jacket for activity.
Shows down poking through on liner and the down on my black shirt
The down inner liner has been a bit disappointing but mostly due to the fabric used for it. The material is very soft and down pokes through the surface very readily. It has gotten so that I dread wearing anything black underneath the down jacket (unfortunately the majority of my base layers are dark in color). The problem has persisted albeit not as many are poking through like during the first month. However there are six currently trying to escape!

I do however love the comfortable fit and the underarm zippers as the latter is an innovative feature on a down jacket and it has allowed me to use it for activity to keep warm but still ventilate. The micro fleece collar and wrist inserts are also a bonus for comfort. The inner liner can also be stowed very easily as it compresses well. If the jacket was reformatted with a different fabric it could be a winner. 


I have found that the snap-in system isn't an ideal feature for me because my activity involves mostly using one layer or the other. When I do wear the layers together I want to remove one as fast as possible. This is because unsnapping or snapping the parts together leaves me standing in the cold longer than I want. However this system would work well for those who just use the system for casual walking about or perhaps downhill skiing where warmth is more important due to mostly non-aerobic activity.

As far as the shell and liner being used together I still think that the outer shell needs to be a bit bigger to layer better. Although in most areas it doesn't bind I still find the back of the jacket creases and just looks funny. Since the front and sides of the jacket don't seem to have this problem I think maybe the cut in the back is a little off or too tailored to my body type.

I have washed the shell jacket a few times so far. It looks great! I have not washed the inner down jacket as of yet.


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Long Term Report:
February 11, 2011


USA Locations and Conditions

During the long term test period, I have worn the Merrell Falconry Tri-Therm Jacket for such activities as an extended sledge trip, two sledge-in rustic cabin trips plus cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Total additional times worn were 34 for a total of 91.


Trip 1 - Late December/Early January Sledge-In Rustic Cabin Trip:

Location: Hiawatha National Forest - Michigan, USA
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 16.6 mi (27 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights
Sledge Weight: Estimated 60 lb (27 kg) including fresh (heavy) consumables
Sky and Air Conditions: Cold, windy, cloudy with some sun
Precipitation: Trace of snow
Temperature Range: 6 F (-14 C) to 41 F (5 C)


Trip 2 - January Sledge Trip:

Location: Lake Superior State Forest
Type of Trip:
Bushwhack/some trail

Distance: Estimated 14 mi (23 km)
Length of Trip: 5 days/4 nights

Sledge Weight:
Estimated 50 lb (22.7 kg) 

Sky and Air Conditions: Snow squalls, cloudy, a tiny bit of sun
Precipitation: Snowfall/11-12 in (28-31 cm)
Temperature Range: -14 F (-26 C) to 26 F (-3 C)


Trip 3 - Early February Sledge-In Rustic Cabin Trip:

Location: Hiawatha National Forest
Type of Trip:
Trail

Distance: 24.6 mi (39.6 km)
Length of Trip: 4  days/3 nights

Sledge Weight:
Estimated 60 lb (includes fresh consumables)

Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, snow
Precipitation: Snowfall/ 5 in (12.7 cm)
Temperature Range: 4 F (-16 C) to 29 F (-2 C)

More Field Work 

During the long term period I have worn the jacket system primarily as separates. During the extended trips I have worn the inner jacket of the Merrell Falconry Tri-Therm System as my insulation layer both while on the trail during colder temps, as well as having worn it all the time during non activity at camp. It became part of a multi-layer system at camp including using it for sleeping with temps as low as -14 F (-26 C).

I have continued to wear the shell of the system for many day outings involving cross country skiing and snowshoeing. It has worked perfectly for these activities as the overall comfort and length of the jacket is just right. I preferred not to wear it pulling my sledge with the waist belt as it simply did not leave enough coverage over my back end for long days with significant wind chills. If the weather had been warmer, this may have not been an issue.(I carried the shell jacket in my sledge in the event of warmer temps that never happened).

Total times worn while wearing either the inner jacket or the outer shell were an additional 34 times:

Extended backcountry sledge trip snowshoeing (liner jacket): 5 days
Sledge-In rustic cabin/snowshoeing (liner jacket): 8 days total (2 trips)
Day trip snowshoeing (shell): 1 session
Cross Country Skiing (shell jacket worn every time and sometimes thel iner jacket to begin the session, liner jacket worn to and from trail head) Skate skiing only (I wore a different jacket for my classic sessions): 20 sessions

Temperatures during the long term period have varied with a low of -14 F (-26 C) to a high of 41 F (5 C). Most days have been between 10 F (-12 C) and 20 F (-7 C). On the days that I have worn the shell jacket for aerobic activity it was layered with a wool mid-weight top or light weight top. This has worked exceedingly well and I rarely felt too hot.


More on Performance

I have continued to love the merits of the shell jacket. It has been my primary go-to jacket for all activities involving strenuous activity. The pits zips are invaluable for regulating temperature. I never felt clammy when they are open during activity. I also have found the pockets to all be handy for stowing small items including car keys and snacks.

Although the down inner liner continues to lose some down by poking through the soft fabric, the process seems to have slowed down immensely. However the inner down jacket is extremely comfortable and the pit zippers are the best thing that has ever happened to a down jacket in my opinion. There have been countless times that I have worn the down jacket OVER my shell jacket to start a ski outing to add some extra warmth (lots of single digit weather here this winter) and then I removed it and put it around my waist while I continued to ski. I know this seems rather unconventional to put the down jacket over the shell jacket, but it makes it possible to only momentarily disrupt the flow of skiing and not get cold. I also wore the down jacket to and from the trailhead for added warmth (in addition to the other activities referenced above).

As noted in my field report, the snap-in system hasn't been particularly a useful feature for me but it could be for others that are doing less aerobic activity and chose to wear both jackets together.

 

Care and Durability

I have washed the shell jacket a few more times. Although it doesn't seem to hold any odors, the fact that I wear it for aerobic activity suggests to me that it needs washing once in a while. The inner jacket has been hand washed a few times as well, all with good results. Both pieces of the system have been very durable with no visible signs of wear. Even though the inner liner has lost down, there hasn't been enough loss to compromise warmth.

In conclusion, the Merrell Falconry Tri-Therm Jacket system is a versatile and practical system. Although it is designed to be worn three ways, I more often than not have worn it in mostly two ways (as separates). This did not compromise the system for me as both jackets were highly functional additions to my outdoor wardrobe. The outer shell was perfect in all ways and the only thing that I would change about the inner liner is the material used for it. I will definitely continue to wear both layers well into the future.


Pros 
  • Versatile
  • Pit zippers on both units are wonderful
  • Pockets are roomy enough to be useful
  • Attractive style
Cons 
  • Fabric on down liner is not very down-proof

Tester Remarks 

Thanks to Merrell and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the Falconry Tri-Therm Jacket. This concludes the test series.

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