My around-the-town jacket this autumn and early winter so far has been the Mens Rove Tech from Merrell, a nice-looking insulated piece released last month. Merrell calls this jacket a technical piece, but for me it is more middle-ground you could employ it for skiing or hiking, though its just as at home for a winter walk in a city.
I would not take it into the rain, but water does roll off the face fabric, a thin polyester. And the jackets insulation, PrimaLofts One variety, makes for a toasty coat thats not as noticeably stuffed as a down puffy.
But for performance, I would want big inside pockets to stuff extra hats and gloves. Id maybe like a hood. And the face fabric would need to be more durable if youre heading into the woods. (A small tear developed out of no where on the back of my jacket after a hike.)
That said, I love how this jacket fits and feels. It has a sharp look, almost a Members-Only quality to its style (for those who remember the 80s) though with a modern aesthetic and no shoulder-strap passants.
I will layer this piece under a shell on extra cold days this winter to add significant warmth. Indeed, this jacket pumps heat with 100 grams of the aforementioned PrimaLoft One insulation in the body and 60 grams in the sleeves.
Features include four zipper pockets and comfy internal wrist cuffs to seal off the sleeves. Overall, I am a fan of this jacket if not for strict performance, then for its smooth look and its adaptability to outdoors situations urban or otherwise.
Retail price: $129
Link to buy: http://merrell.com
(Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eleven U.S. newspapers; see www.THEGEARJUNKIE.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog, and an archive of Regenolds work.)