“I wore this in a truly torrential downpour over a long slog,” reports one tester. “Everyone else in my group was soaking, and my rain pants failed, but my top stayed dry.” Gore’s newest iteration of the windproof, three-layer Pro Shell fabric, which is the most durable Gore-Tex option, also shielded testers in wind-whipped snow in the Alaska’s Chugach National Forest. We could custom-cinch the two-way-adjustable hood against stiff breezes, the hem extends well below a hipbelt, and the pockets (two hand, one chest, and one inner) are leakproof. Nitpicks: The waterproof zippers are tough to engage (a common issue) and the fabric feels stiff.
We sent the Meron Light to a hardcore Alaska tester who regularly battles gear-shredding vegetation off-trail. His report: Not a mark on the 70-denier nylon face fabric (even-tougher, 150-denier nylon sections protect the shoulders, hem, and sleeves), and the shell’s streamlined profile and small zipper pulls reduced snagging.
Gore claims the Pro Shell fabric has 28 percent more breathability than previous versions, and we agree that it’s highly effective at dumping heat. On a difficult moraine traverse in blowing snow in the Chugach Range, we stayed dry and comfortable inside, despite heavy exertion and a big pack. Pit zips with two-way zippers add extra venting.
It’s best as a layering piece for athletic (not hefty) builds.