With the The North Face Heathen jacket you do get a lot of features for the tiny weight of 332g (men’s M), so it should appeal to the lightweight walker. Firstly it is made from well-proven Gore-Tex Pro Shell, which offers excellent performance in terms of its waterproofness and its breathability. There are two chest pockets that are easily large enough for maps and guidebooks, and they can easily retain useful easy access while wearing a rucksack with a hipbelt too. The hood has volume adjustment at the rear, and it fits and moves well with the head, while its large stiffened peak provides some welcome protection for the face. So great fabric and a generally good set of features make this well worth considering for hill-walkers, scramblers and backpackers who want to save weight. But the high price tag lets the The North Face Heathen down as you really aren’t getting that much for your 300 notes compared to other jackets at this price. Also the pockets are mesh-lined, so they won’t keep the wearer dry as easily as a sealed pocket. None of the zips has external stormflaps either, so again leakage is possible. That large peak may have been even better with a wire stiffener.
Outer 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell
Fabric waterproofness extremely waterproof
Fabric breathability extremely breathable
Sizes S-XXL (men’s); S-XL (women’s)
Weight 332g (men’s M)
Made in Thailand
Stores in the UK 50
Verdict: The The North Face Heathen’s price lets down this otherwise reasonable jacket, which has some good features for the weight.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine November 2009