Gear Review: Merrel Norgate - Backpacker

Gear Review: Merrel Norgate

A do-it-all rainshell with a roomy cut.

The Merrell Norgate’s versatile cut earned high praise from our testers. “It’s roomy enough for layers without being too baggy, and the generous length seals out wind-driven rain and puts the hip drawcord and toggles below a pack’s hipbelt, not jammed underneath it,” he says.

The 2.5-layer Opti-Shell fabric repelled a storm in Utah’s Capitol Reef, and the fabric’s adequate breathability—combined with venting from the mesh hand pockets—kept the Norgate from steaming up inside. It’s not ultralight, but it does pack softball-small, into its front pocket. The hood fits snugly (it’s not helmet compatible), but it also prompted a nitpick: The captured cordlocks are tricky to reach and adjust. $99; 15.5 oz.;