Basic summary: This product is a new take on the traditional puffy jacket, using hybrid insulating material in a body-mapped approach, with large ventilation channels in the back. It has a slim fit that may be restrictive for users with a larger frame.
Merrell has a longstanding reputation for building outdoor performance apparel with high crossover ability for use in casual or post-run environments. The Ridgevent Thermo Jacket continues that tradition: it’s suitable as an outer layer for a cold winter run or hike, but equally as capable for everyday use.
Since puffy jackets are pretty ubiquitous, it can sometimes be hard to identify significant differences from one to the next. The Ridgevent Thermo distinguishes itself with body mapped insulation, and strategic incorporation of ventilation channels to improve airflow and comfort during high aerobic activity. It also features a proprietary insulating material that is a hybrid of responsibly-sourced goose down plus lightweight synthetic Primaloft, combining performance benefits of both materials.
Each of the men’s and women’s versions uses slightly thicker insulation on the back panel, but these insulation strips are separated by ventilation channels that help prevent overheating, whether you are hiking with a backpack or running without one. The women’s version has higher insulation throughout the jacket, and the ventilation channels on the back are slimmer – built with the presumption that women typically run slightly cooler than men. This matches the profile of our men’s and women’s testers, and we both found the venting to be much more effective for dumping heat than similar jackets in this category.
The Ridgevent Thermo has many of the convenience features you’ll find on other puffy jackets: it has secure hand pockets, soft elastic bands at the wrists, media cord compatibility, and packs into its own pocket. However, the fit of the jacket is somewhat unorthodox. The cut of the torso is slim, which allows it to be layered under a waterproof shell if necessary, but both our male and female testers found it to be too snug through the chest and armpits. The collar is taller than most other jackets we’ve tested, which works great for insulation when fully zipped, but when it’s partially unzipped it sits up higher on our face than we like. While we enjoy the performance elements, this is definitely a jacket you’ll want to try on before buying.
The Merrell Ridgevent Thermo Jacket is available in men’s and women’s styles from www.merrell.com.
- Weight: 300g (men’s size L)
- Matte ripstop polyester exterior fabric
- ThermoBlend interior insulation: 65% RDS WP down (Responsible Down Standard, Waterproof),
35% synthetic Primaloft Eco Gold
- Gender specific insulation
- Men: 80g insulation everywhere except back panel, 90g in back panel
- Women: 85g insulation everywhere except back panel, 95g in back panel
- DWR finish
- RidgeVent construction on back
- Two secure hand pockets
- Elastic binding at cuffs
- Packable into left inner pocket
- Media/device compatible
- Hanger loop
- Three color options for men, four for women
- Hooded jacket and vest options (prices vary)