The North Face Thermoball Hoodie (2014)

What a difference a hood drawcord makes – and that’s what sets the The North Face Thermoball Hoodie apart from others. You also get elasticated cuffs where the elastication is tucked inside so the cuff is neater and potentially less draughty. The two main pockets are happily OS map-sized; but, like most, access is obscured when a hipbelt from a rucksack is in place.

It comes in men’s XS-XXL and women’s XS-XL sizes. The fit is equal to many, being neither too baggy or too tight. The hood should fit better than most as it has face drawcords; however it does lack a volume adjuster.

The North Face’s Thermoball Hoodie, which weighs 377g (size L) doesn’t hug the body quite so naturally at first, due to the stitched-through design, but it softens with use and becomes comfortable and close-fitting and ideal for wearing under a waterproof. There are hood drawcords, which may not be quite as comfy as elastication, but the hood stays on better

Primaloft Thermoball is used, which is small clusters of synthetic Primaloft captured in a patchwork of stitched-through boxes, rather than a sheet of insulation. This stitching makes the jacket feel a little stiff, but the insulation itself is ideal for general year-round use on camping trips, while in winter it can be used with other layers.

A higher-than-average price, but you get better hood adjustment and unique insulation.

The TNF Thermoball Hoodie offers great performance for year-round use, with the benefit of face drawcords on the hood, plus unique insulation. It won Trail’s ‘Best in Test’ accolade.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine October 2014