The Kishtwar is part of The North Face’s Summit Series and it’s designed for highly aerobic endeavours in foul weather. The Polartec Power Shield Pro fabric has the benefit of being far more water-resistant than standard Power Shield.
The TNF Kishtwar is a very practical, mountain-orientated design. There are two chest pockets placed high on the body, plus a Napoleon pocket on the chest. There is a hood as well that gets face drawcords and a volume adjuster. The peak is not stiffened though. But the main difference between this and the other jackets in this test is the fabric, which on first appearances looks more like a waterproof fabric from the inside as there is no brushed fleece – and it feels very much like a waterproof fabric too. This means this jacket appears more like a waterproof jacket or windproof compared to other soft shells that initially look and feel like a windproof fleece.
On the hill
The fabric used in the The North Face Kishtwar is incredibly water-resistant but I was able to force water through it eventually, so a full waterproof will be needed in rain. But for snow, slush and damp conditions this would be ideal. The levels of water resistance and low air permeability reduce breathability a little, but the jacket has mesh-lined pockets, so when they are opened they provide airflow for venting. The cuffs can be vented too with Velcro tabs. The fit was a little more relaxed than other jackets here, which I prefer. However the freedom of movement in the sleeves was not quite so good as others even though the fabric is a little stretchier. The chest pockets are the best here as they are larger than most and placed a little higher on the body so I could access them easily even while wearing a wide variety of rucksack hipbelts and harnesses. The hood fitted well and moved easily with the head, but the peak could be a little better.
In the lab
The The North Face Kishtwar provided 0.84 TOGs, making it a notch warmer than some others, which was surprising as there is no fleecy lining to the fabric. It is also very windproof at 0.74 cm3/s/cm2. This makes the jacket ideal for use in snow and alpine conditions, but not so good to wear under a waterproof in rain as it is does not allow much airflow.
Fabric Polartec Powershield Pro
Weight 588g (size L)
Made in Thailand
Stores in the UK 15
Stockist details – tel. (01539) 738882; www.thenorthface.com
The The North Face Kishtwar features higher level of wind and water resistance; superb pockets; great hood; average warmth; ideal for icy or snowy conditions. But it is not as breathable as some, so not ideal under a waterproof and it is not waterproof either.
So it is superb for use when walking, skiing or mountaineering due to increased water resistance without being as restrictive as a waterproof jacket.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine September 2010