The North Face Valkyrie 2008

The Polartec Windbloc fabric used in this soft shell jacket is extremely wind- and water-resistant due to a membrane laminated into the fabric. The fabric is also hard-wearing, making it ideal for scramblers and mountaineers who like to rub shoulders with rock. There is also some stretch in the fabric, which is again perfect for mountain use. There are two chest pockets that are well-placed to allow access when wearing rucksack hipbelts, while the addition of a hood is very useful for long days out in mixed weather. The hood can be squeezed over a helmet or worn close to the head, thanks to a volume adjuster. The movement of the hood is particularly good and this feature also makes the Valkyrie a good option for serious mountain users. A great jacket for a variety of mountain situations, where a full waterproof would be too cumbersome. But at 698g this is heavier than the less water-resistant options, and as the fabric has a membrane it is not quite as breathable either. Some others also offer more insulation for winter. The hood cannot be removed or rolled away. The price of £170 sounds high when you consider what is available for less cash.

Materials Polartec Windbloc
Sizes S-XL (men’s); XS-L (women’s)
Weight 698g (size L)
Made in China
Stores in the UK no info provided

Ideal for use in wind, mist and light rain thanks to the membrane fabric, while the hood and pockets make this a practical option in the mountains.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine September 2008