The Merrell Women’s Whisper Rain Jacket is a great accessory for any summer walking trip. As all the best waterproof jackets should be, it's protective but packable, and keeps you looking good, even in a downpour.
At $160 (£190/AUS$169), this lightweight rain jacket is the ideal shell to stash in your hiking pack. It has you covered should the weather turn unexpectedly, but won’t weigh you down. The jacket’s minimalist design includes everything you need to stay comfortable and dry on the trails or in the city and nothing you don’t.
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Merrell Whisper Rain Jacket Review: Design
When it comes to design, Merrell is keeping things simple and straightforward with this shell. You won’t find hidden interior pockets or a zipper-off hood on the Whisper. However, you will find durable, wind and water-resistant fabric that fits just right.
This jacket is form-fitting without being constricting. It also comes in six attractive colors, including seafoam green and lilac, which offers something different from the ubiquitous black and sunshine yellow raincoats.
The minimally brimmed hood can be easily adjusted and stays put, which means you can skip the annoyance of a clunky visor constantly slipping down into your eyes, even in high winds. Two spacious front pockets securely zip closed to store valuables.
For packing and travel, the jacket folds neatly into the left-hand pocket and zippers closed into a soft pouch. The bag is compact and easy to toss into a carry-on, large purse, or hiking daypack.
Merrell Whisper Rain Jacket Review: Performance and Comfort
The jacket’s matte fabric is finished with PFC-free Durable Water Repellency. This blocks the wind and keeps you dry in light rain. However, the Whisper Rain Jacket is not the best choice if you’re headed into a downpour. It’s water-repellent, not waterproof. Bonded seams do their job in a moderate sprinkle, preventing rain from seeping into the jacket. And the brimmed hood keeps rain out of your eyes.
What the jacket lacks in waterproofness, it makes up for in comfort. The stretchy material moves with you, making this a great choice for hiking, canoeing, and other outdoor activities.
One great design feature of the Whisper is that even with the jacket fully zipped and hooded, the lightweight fabric stays breathable even under hot and humid conditions. You won’t break into a sweat as soon as the zipper closes under a sudden summer shower. And the 4-way stretch fabric truly lives up to its name, letting you move comfortably without restriction.
This jacket is also easily versatile for year-round use. You can comfortably fit several layers under the shell during cooler weather. It has a moderately fitted silhouette, an adjustable hem and nice long sleeves that make it a stylish option for any time of year or occasion.
A slightly longer tail in the back also helps protect from wind and keeps the jacket from riding up uncomfortably.
The material is softer than other rain jackets and spares you the typical rain jacket crinkling and swishing sounds. It has a more luxurious look and feel and doesn't easily wrinkle, which is another reason to rely on this coat for travel.
Merrell Whisper Rain Jacket Review: Verdict
The Merrell Whisper Rain Jacket is a highly wearable and comfortable wind shell and lightweight jacket for warm-weather hiking, cool-weather layering, and travel. This jacket puts comfort and style first, with buttery-soft fabric in a range of attractive colors and an easy-to-pack design.
On the downside, this jacket won’t keep you dry in serious rainstorms and doesn’t offer fancier features like interior pockets or a removable hood. However, it’s an affordable and highly versatile jacket that’s highly functional for outdoor activities and fashionable enough to wear everywhere else.
Merrell Whisper Rain Jacket Review: Also consider
If you want a jacket that can offer a bit more waterproofing protection, I like the North Face Venture 2 jacket, which keeps you dry but is light enough for activities.
Or, for a premium raincoat, you may like the Finisterre Stormboard Waterproof Jacket. Its eco-friendly material protects you from strong winds and rain.