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Merrell Men's Flux Jacket : Waterproof Comfort

There are a handful of obvious factors to consider when testing a winter jacket - comfort, fit, and function. However, with each passing winter there's another, more subtle, dynamic that I've come to trust when evaluating a new high tech garment such as Merrell's Flux jacket. Let's call it the W.B.F.F: aka the W (wife) B (borrowing) F (frequency) F (factor).

This month it has worked like this: During the week my elegant, executive, better half heads to and fro the Big City in her "grown up" working woman's jacket. But on the weekend she tends to reach into our crammed hall closet, snatch the Flux and sashay out the door with our frisky dog Sylvie en route to the Farmer's Market, a sartorial swipe made even easier as she's able to roll up the sleeves with the adjustable Velcro cuff tabs.

I myself don't sashay but I do appreciate versatility, one of the defining qualities of the Flux. Thanks to what Merrell calls Opti-Warm insulation, a 100% polyester microfiber with 100 grams of insulation in the body and the sleeve, this low-profile lightweight jacket is ideal on chilly days as a stand-alone outer layer. It's also seriously fashionable with the vertical quilting.

The hand pockets have a fuzzy warm lining - perfect for someone who tends to forget his (or her) gloves. There's a zippered interior pocket to secure my wallet and two pockets high on the left sleeve, one that zips and one that snaps, either of which can easily accommodate a cell phone, energy bar, iPod, or keys. (That's five pockets in case you weren't counting.)

Because the jacket is thin and light, it works well layered underneath a shell or a thicker down jacket. Today, the mercury topped out at 19F (with wind chill it was just 8F): I wore the Flux under a hooded lightweight down jacket and was positively cozy.

Sizes: S-XXXL.

Colors: Rust, Espresso, Black

Bottom Line :   Attractive quilted style that keeps it simple, with a light weight insulation that provides plenty of warmth in 40F temps. And wife approved.--J.G. (Jan 09)

Price : $99 Sierra Trading Post

Manufacturer's Site:


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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.