The North Face TKA 200 Full Zip

This midweight fleece from The North Face is wonderfully soft and comfortable and a pretty good fit, although the collar is a little tight. The lightweight fabric and feminine design are great, but thicker cuffs would be good. Not as warm as some. The wind flap under the front zip is good, and the handwarmer pockets are nice and deep.


Colours: Eight including tapas red, windflower orange, jewel blue, white, black
Sizes: XS-XL
Fabric: TKA 200 (100% polyester)
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: 01539 738882,

Verdict: A fairly priced fleece that looks as good on the street as it does in the hills. The North Face’s own TKA fabric is very lightweight, but not as warm as some.

The North Face Redpoint Optimus

This duvet jacket weighs 660g; Primaloft insulation; packs into its own pocket; very comfy cuffs; large hip pockets plus chest pocket; hood fit is excellent. But only warm enough for mild winter use; hood cannot be removed or rolled down.

Verdict: Buy it if you want a low-priced warm layer for mild winter weather or a back-up garment for all year round.

The North Face Redpoint Jacket

This insulated jacket weighs 622g; stows into zipped hip pocket; matt finish rather than shiny; zipped hip pockets are OS map-sized; superb freedom of movement in sleeves; high collar; hem drawcord. But for what you get the weight and price are high; chest pocket is too small for an OS map; elasticated rather than adjustable cuffs; no adjustment at collar; no hood.

Verdict: Buy it if you want reasonable features for hill going and don’t mind the price or weight.

The North Face Apex Elixir

This soft shell jacket from The North Face is a great fit in the body and sleeves, and with a light stretchy fabric, drawcord adjustable hem and Velcro adjustment on the cuffs, you couldn’t ask for more. But although it was really easy to move around in, it didn’t feel as reassuringly warm and cosy as the best in class. It’s best suited to spring, summer and autumn walking. Excellent breathability prevents any build-up of moisture, and it vents well with cuffs that pull up easily. It will also work in winter, especially if you’re moving hard and fast, or wearing a lightweight fleece underneath, but really heavy rain will put it out of commission quite quickly.

Verdict: An excellent lightweight jacket that falls somewhere between a windshirt and an insulated soft shell top. It’s a superb outer layer on cold, windy or showery days and it’s not bad as a mid-layer either.

Colours: Four including molten red/graphite grey and sunlight orange/ignition orange

Sizes: S-XXL

Fabric: Apex Aerobic with DWR

Weight: 425g

Women’s version: Yes

Contact: 01539 738882;

The North Face Windwall 2

This windproof fleece from The North Face is a lovely feminine design in a soft fabric. The collar is high, although a little loose, and the deep hood adds style and comfort. The relaxed fit and deep handwarmer pockets are excellent. There’s no collar baffle. Really warm and pretty good breathability, helped by ventilation from the mesh handwarmer pockets. The hood is good, but could do with a drawcord to stay up in the wind. Adjustment in the cuffs would be nice too.

Verdict: Great for walking, but just as good for going to the pub. With some adjustment in the cuffs and a slightly tighter collar it would be superb.

Colours: Four, inc. tangle green, black

Sizes: XS-L

Fabric: Windwall fleece/Grid fleece lining

Weight: 600g

Men’s version: No

Contact: 01539 738882;

The North Face Apex Zeitgeist Zip

Light and stretchy, this soft shell jacket from The North Face fits so well that you’ll hardly notice you’re wearing it. It’s a pullover style, rather than full-zip, which makes it warmer and more weatherproof, although pullovers are harder to take on and off. It does a reasonable job of repelling a shower, and is extremely breathable. It excels for energetic walking in milder conditions.

Verdict: A minimalist option and not especially versatile, but great for more energetic walking, especially worn over a base layer in milder conditions, or as a spare layer in winter.

Colours: Lush green, molten red, atoll blue, black

Sizes: A-XL

Weight: 380g

Women’s version: Yes

Contact: 01539 738882;

The North Face W TKA 200 Full Zip

This midweight women’s fleece from The North Face is very, very comfortable – it might even feel like wearing a second skin! It has a streamlined, contoured fit with close-fitting arms and a soft, high collar to bury your chin into. It’s light, too, and warm, and although the cuffs don’t have elastic, they pull up easily. The huge handwarmer pockets are great too, and easy to get to.

Verdict: Cuffs apart, there’s nothing to fault. It’s lightweight, fabulously warm and offers a superb fit, with a high collar and deep pockets. A fantastic price, too.

Colours: Syra red, white, zinc grey, jewel blue, black/black

Sizes: XS-XL

Fabric: TKA 200 (100% polyester)

Weight: 380g

Men’s version: Yes

Contact: 01539 738882;