The Merrell Siren rain jacket ($230) makes travel more comfortable. Not only does it hold up in light rain and torrential downpours, it fits easily into a small bag or purse. Made of Gore-Tex Paclite, the jacket is extremely lightweight so you never feel like you're lugging it around. And, it has sealed pockets so you can stash your camera or cell phone while out and about.
The Siren's main draw is how waterproof it is. Made of 100% polyester, it was the perfect barrier for staying completely dry while mingling at a rainy music festival. The hood's brim and drawstring closures helped to keep nagging raindrops out of my eyes and away from my face. The zippers never leaked either.
And while downpours can get steamy, the Siren has an ample ventilation system: pit zips open up for venting steam. Even in the most humid weather or active endeavor, the jacket stayed breathable.
The hood efficiently tucks away to make it even more compact and, unlike your big, bulky rain coat, it has a flattering cut.
The Siren is so functional that it is difficult to recognize its inadequacies. The one negative aspect I found was the length. The size medium fit my arms perfectly, however thelength of the jacket could have used another inch or so. The rain rolled down the back of my jacket making my butt wet where my jeans and jacket met. It could also use some more room in the body as I was unable to get a sweatshirt underneath.
Overall, the Merrell Siren is a rain jacket I would highly recommend. I am confident that the Siren would keep me dry in any type of inclement weather.
--New Yorker Sarah Johnson tested the Merrell Siren while under rain clouds at the Lollapalooza music festival. For Outside-recommended festivals, read: The Best Summer Music Festivals from our June 2009 issue.
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