The North Face Meru Gore (2012)

The lightest jacket on test at 350g (size UK12), the The North Face Meru Gore uses Gore-Tex Active Shell, its most breathable waterproof fabric. There are two very long (enough for a water bottle) hipbelt-compatible chest pockets made of light stretch mesh with water-resistant zips and no stormflaps, arm, chest or inner pockets or pit zips to add weight. The main zip is water-resistant but the stormflap behind is quite narrow. One excellent feature is the non-slip rubber ‘grip zones’ on the shoulders, which reduce backpack slide when scrambling. The website details say these grip zones are also at the hips to reduce hipbelt slippage, but on our test jacket they were absent. There are no heavier-duty fabrics on other high-abrasion areas, and Active Shell is not as durable as Pro, so the The North Face Meru Gore potentially will not withstand as much hard use as some others. Another great feature is that the hip drawcords are pulled tighter through the chest pockets and released via buttons at the base of the main zip, which keeps it very neat for use with a harness. The hood is the best unwired option in the test, helmet-compatible with easy one-handed rear and side adjusters, plus a wide, stiff peak that stands up to harsh conditions.

Weight 350g (size UK12)
Material Gore-Tex Active Shell
Women’s sizes XS, S, M, L
Men’s sizes S, M, L, XL
Pit zips no
Wired hood peak no
Stowable hood no



The North Face’s Meru Gore is a very light, well-featured ‘fast and light’ jacket with a great hood, but others may be more durable.

Review by Claire Maxted
First published in Trail magazine November 2012