Guest editor, Leigh Curtis, providing her insight of the Merrell Avalon jacket:
This is an impressive jacket. I would qualify it as a cold weather winter coat vs. a piece one might choose for a somewhat crisp fall day. I tested this out during a recent autumn Nor’ Easter that brought driving rain, wind and very chilly temperatures. It performed extremely well during this 2 day weather event, and kept me cozy when I braved the outside nastiness while walking the dog. While my legs were wet and cold, my upper body was undeterred by the storm raging around me.
What I especially like is the detachable hood- so easy to zip on or off, depending on the day. Today, for example, is sunny and cold, so I removed it and wore it as a parka. However, in rain or snow or very cold temps, the hood is much appreciated to keep your head (and neck!) warm and dry.
Other features include zip up pockets – nice for people like me who tend to ‘drop’ (i.e. lose) keys, etc., as well as pit zips, for when you feel the need to cool down/air out a little. The arm cuffs also cinch down with adjustable velcro, and there is a snowskirt giving this coat a ski jacket feel.
Finally, for it’s outward appearance. I am a huge fan of the 4 feminine snap closures over the zipper, as this feature makes this piece really stand out among other standard cold weather parkas. That, combined with the very subtle herringbone pattern, elevate this jacket to pretty. And that’s not an easy feat because – make no mistake – this is a performer. It’s warm and waterproof meant for serious weather, almost ‘burly’. But those feminine features soften it and make me feel as though I can wear it on an icky winter day with jeans and boots or to a dressy holiday party with heels.
Well done, Merrell.