Acre's Meridian Alpine jacket has a clean and simple look to it, one that's devoid of any flashy colors or obnoxious company logos. But don't be fooled by its low-key appearance – there's more to it than initially meets the eye, and an impressive amount of thought went into the creation of this waterproof-breathable garment.
The shell is constructed from Polartec NeoShell, a relatively new fabric that boasts a very high degree of breathability and also carries a 10,000+ mm waterproof rating. How does it work? According to Polartec, a minuscule bit of air permeability is built into the material, just enough to keep moisture traveling away from the wearer's body while at the same time blocking 99.9% of the wind.The fabric itself has a softer feel than what you'd expect from a traditional hard shell rain jacket, and it's also slightly stretchy to help keep it from binding or bunching up during the contortions that occur during a mountain bike ride.
Acre Meridian Jacket
• Waterproof Polartec NeoShell fabric
• Removable helmet compatible hood
• Zippered underarm vents
• Two zippered side pockets, plus internal and external chest pockets
• Weight: 328 grams (actual, size M)
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Colours: black, charcoal
• Made in Vancouver, BC
• Lifetime warranty
• MSRP: $455.00 USD
In addition to its two zippered underarm vents, the Meridian Alpine jacket has a total of four zippered pockets – one on each side, plus one outer and one inner chest pocket. Both chest pockets have a small slit for running earphones through, just in case you want to try and drown out the sound of the pouring rain with some tunes. The removable hood (five snaps attach it to the back of the collar) is designed to fit over a helmet and has an elasticized drawstring at the back and sites to help batten down the hatches and keep it in place. Available in black or charcoal, the Meridian Alpine comes in sizes S, M, L, or XL. Made in Vancouver, BC. MSRP: $455 USD. Performance
I've lost count of how many jackets I've tried that claimed to be 'waterproof-breathable', only to find myself taking them off partway up a climb because the only breathing happening was in my lungs. With that in mind, I approached the Meridian jacket with a healthy dose of skepticism, curious to see if it could handle the wet and humid conditions that prevail during the fall and winter in the Pacific Northwest.
As it turns out, the Meridian jacket easily withstood the parade of torrential downpours I subjected it to, keeping the rain at bay while still remaining free from any soggy clamminess on the inside. No matter how much effort I exerted, the inside of the jacket stayed impressively dry, even during long, slow climbs where the amount of airflow was minimal. I used the pit zips occasionally, but it was usually to help cool down rather than to let any excess moisture escape. Compared to a rain jacket that uses Gore Tex's Pro fabric, I'd say that the Polartec NeoShell used in the Meridian Alpine is more breathable. That extra breathability means underlayers stay dry longer, reducing the likelihood that you'll find yourself shedding or adding clothing in the middle of a rainstorm.
In addition to its top-notch weather protection and superb fit, it's the little details that push the Meridian even further towards the front of the pack, things like the elastic thumb loops that helped prevent a gap from forming between the jacket cuff and your gloves, and the fact that the side pockets are oriented vertically, eliminating the potential of sitting on your keys. On those extra-stormy days the hood worked well, staying securely put without impeding my vision. After eight months of usage in the rain and mud, and a few trips through the washing machine, the jacket still doesn't look any worse for wear, without even a frayed stitch to be seen, a testament to its high-quality construction. Pinkbike’s Take:
|There's no getting around the fact that there are much less expensive jackets that work almost as well as the Meridian, but the key word is 'almost'. For riders in search of the best of the best, a no frills garment that's built to keep you dry and comfortable even in the harshest of conditions, the Meridian Alpine jacket fits the bill. - Mike Kazimer|
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