The North Face Point Five 2010

Described as a mid-weight expedition waterproof pant, according to the manufacturers the The North Face Point Five overtrousers also have extra abrasion resistance. Full-length side zips and removable braces are combined with a waistbelt and internal gaiter. Clearly this trouser is designed to protect the user against the worst of mountain weather.

Design
The TNF Point Five overtrousers are made from Gore-Tex Pro Shell, so in terms of fabric performance they are as good as anything else. The full-length side zips are water-resistant but have no stormflaps. They can be operated very easily and of course there is a weight saving by not having the stormflaps. The shoulder straps are adjustable and elasticated but for those who don’t like to be overly strapped into their trousers it is good to see that a quality belt is also included. This belt is fitted through a long waist tunnel though, rather than belt loops, so once removed it is a nightmare to rethread – so don’t remove it!

On the hill
The Point Five overtrousers are very comfortable straight away, while the slight knee articulation means they fit well too. There is an ankle gaiter, which is a little more robust than some others, but what I really liked was that they have a lace hook as well as two eyelets for an instep cord. Surprisingly there is no adjustment at the ankle cuff, although I felt there was no great need for any due to the good cut of the trouser, which meant it was not too loose and flappy anyway. There’s also a good reinforced kick patch inside the ankle to prevent crampon spikes from tearing the trouser. The side zips stop 18cm below the waistband, which I did not find to be a problem, but some may prefer full-length ones. Like some other trousers there are pockets on these trousers although I have to confess to not really knowing why anyone would use them. There is a single rather than a double zip pull on the fly, which means if you are wearing a harness over these trousers they are not quite as quick-pee-friendly as they could be.

How waterproof?
The main problem with this trouser is that I found those side zips leaked a little at the knee flex point, as could be expected from a zip that is not protected by external stormflaps. So these are not the best here for keeping the wearer dry.

Outer Gore-Tex Pro Shell
Inner none
Fabric waterproofness extremely waterproof
Fabric breathability extremely breathable
Sizes S-XL (men’s); XS-L (women’s)
Weight 648g  (size men’s L)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 35
Stockist details – tel. (01539) 822155; www.thenorthface.com/eu

Verdict
The North Face’s Point Five overtrousers are a good price; internal gaiter has lace hook; abrasion panels on ankle; removable braces help keep them up; women’s fit available. But the side zips leaked at knee flex point; rethreading waistbelt is difficult once removed. Overall, they are good overtrousers for mountaineering, but sadly they are not the best for keeping the wearer dry.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine February 2010