The Merlin Elmhurst jacket presents another great armored option in the “Classic Waxed-Cotton” category. Our third entry from this value-conscious UK brand, this one is blessedly bereft of any big logos sewn onto the sleeves or emblazoned on the chest. Instead there’s a small Union Jack on the front hem, and a tone-on-tone “Merlin” across the back of the neck, and that’s it.
The short-cut jacket has a drop-tail and subtly pre-curved sleeves to work well on or off the bike, and the striking silhouette is accented by an asymmetrical slash pocket on the chest, a document pocket built into the sleeve, and standard zippered hand-warmer pockets.
Stylistically the Elmhurst makes a great city jacket, and technically and promises some real three-season adaptability with a full-sleeve zip-out thermal/waterproof liner.
The thermal properties come from Outlast, which was famously born out of a NASA (yes that NASA) program to create a temperature regulating insulating layer. Outlast promises to keep the wearer warm when it’s cold; and cool when it’s hot.
That latter claim is harder to prove, but based on our experience with the insulated Lee Parks “PCI” insulated gloves, which uses the same Outlast liner, there’s definitely a little less of a penalty for continuing to use them once the weather warms, which helps extend this cool-weather riding jacket’s outlook into more of a three-season piece. And with the liner zipped in, it’ll very clearly help insulate the rider from the cold.
On the waterproofing front, this jacket has two levels of defense—fitting for a brand hailing from soggy England. The jacket’s 8oz waxed cotton shell is made by Halley Stevensons (a 150-year-old textiles company from soggy Scotland), and provides a highly water resistant outer shell that’s backed up by a much more convincingly waterproof and breathable Reissa Active Membrane.
Both the Reissa and Outlast layer are baked into the same full-sleeve zip-out liner. Zip it out for warm days on the bike, and you’ll still retain the protection of the 5-piece armor set that comes with this jacket.
The Elmhurst comes with CE-approved Level 1 armor in the shoulders, elbows, and—unlike most other jackets outside Aether, Klim, and own Union-brand jackets—the Elmhurst comes with a CE back protector, too.
> Olive Halley Stevenson's 8oz waxed cotton
> Waterproof, breathable Reissa Active membrane
> 125g full body removable Outlast temperature regulating liner
> CE Level 1 shoulder, elbow and back armour included
> Merlin branded antique finish hardware used throughout
> YKK zips throughout
> Waterproof, wind-stopping fold behind main zip
> Variety of outer and inner pockets
> Bicep, waist, hem, collar and cuff adjustment
> Cross quilted shoulder and chest pocket details
> Soft, padded collar
> Drop-tail design and pre-curved sleeves
> Waterproofing at a claimed 10,000mm
> Breathability rated at a claimed 15000g/m²/24h