The North Face All Terrain (2015)

www.thenorthface.co.uk

Features

Gore-Tex 2-layer fabric with a mesh lining is provided in the The North Face All Terrain, which guarantees high levels of waterproof and moisture management. The jacket has two lower pockets and a third chest pocket, while the body is longer than most. The hood gets a wired peak but can also be rolled into the collar when not in use. 5/5

Fit

This jackets comes in sizes S-XXL for men and XS-XL for women with a longer cut in the body than most jackets that even allowed the size M to provide better protection than the sizes L we looked at. Sleeve movement is not ideal, with cuffs and hem riding up when arms are raised. The hood fit is superb, though, with effortless movement with the head. 4/5

Comfort

The mesh lining inside the 2-layer Gore-Tex fabric makes the The North Face All Terrain a softer jacket than some, with the benefit of extra comfort against the skin. The waterproofness and breathability of Gore-Tex is well-established and so overall this is very comfy to wear, although its weight of 625g (size M) coupled with the extra bulk of that lining isn’t ideal for backpacking. 4/5

In use

The two main pockets are quite low, so with some packs access to them is not ideal (although the extra body length does allow them to be got at below some rucksack belts). The third pocket takes an OS map at a squeeze but would be better if slightly larger. The hood is great though. The weight and bulk are drawbacks if carried in a pack. 4/5

Value

The price is good for a Gore-Tex jacket with reasonable features for the hill-goer. 3/5

Verdict

The The North Face All Terrain is a great general-purpose walking jacket thanks to its length and comfort, but there are lighter and even more practical options. 4.0/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2015

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The North Face Alpine Project (2014)

Features

The Alpine Project is a good weight (434g, men’s L) with the essential features for hillwalking. The two chest pockets take OS maps, while the helmet-compatible hood has a wired peak, volume adjustment and face drawcords. Pit zips improve ventilation, and the pockets are mesh-lined, not sealed. Some may prefer a third chest pocket for maps, compass or GPS. 4/5

Fit

It comes in sizes men’s S-XXL, and women’s XS-XL. The body just about covered my crotch but was a little loose around the waist, though when wearing a pack this isn’t a problem. Sleeve movement is excellent without hem or cuffs riding up – great for scrambling. The helmet-compatible hood has superb adjustment and moves easily with the head too. 5/5

Comfort

The jacket uses 3-layer Gore-Tex Active fabric, which is thinner, lighter and more supple than standard Gore-Tex or Gore-Tex Pro, but it’s also less durable in theory. I also find it feels quite cold in wet and windy weather as it is so thin. The pockets are mesh-lined so they could let water in, but the weight of just 434g means this is comfortable to carry in a rucksack and feels nice and light when walking. 4/5

In use

The weight and pocket design are a bonus in summer, which is when the The North Face Alpine Project performs really well for backpacking and general hillwalking. You can vent it with the pit zips too if needed. I’d like a third chest pocket but the hood is stunning. I’d use this for mild-weather trips but I’d choose others for more challenging conditions.  4/5

Value

You get superb breathability and low weight. There are drawbacks but good for the price. 4/5

Verdict

The North Face’s Alpine Project is an ideal jacket for milder-weather hillwalking.

4.2/5

www.thenorthface.co.uk

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2014

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The North Face Point Five (2014)

Features
How many pockets do you really need? The The North Face Point Five has two large and well-positioned chest pockets, but no third pocket anywhere – and I would like a third, to be ideal. There are pit zips provided plus a helmet-compatible hood with wired peak, face and volume drawcords. This is a lighter spec list than some jackets and that’s why it weighs only 465g (size men’s L). 3/5

Fit
The men’s Point Five comes in sizes S-XXL and the women’s in XS-XL. The men’s L just about covered my crotch but the jacket lacks the extensive scoop tail of some others. The hood was superb and one of the best here, with a stunning fit that allowed it to move freely with my head while the wired peak provided excellent protection. The sleeves didn’t ride up when scrambling either. 5/5

Comfort
Gore-Tex Pro Shell is used here, as it is in many jackets around this price, and it provided the same high levels of waterproofness and breathability. It’s a 3-layer fabric; a 2-layer fabric with mesh lining is softer, and a lighter jacket will be more flexible, but for durable comfort this is the benchmark option. 5/5

In use
The weight of 465g means when packing the TNF Point Five in your sack or wearing it it feels unobtrusive. But you’re only getting two chest pockets rather than three or even four, so you get less storage space. It is a balance of personal preferences what you prefer, but the great news is the hood is stunning and one of the best in terms of performance. 4/5

Value
You lose on pockets but gain on price, making the The North Face Point Five ideal if you cannot stretch your cash. 5/5

Verdict
It depends what your preference is when heading to the hills: pockets or low weight? 4.4/5

www.thenorthface.co.uk

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine November 2014

 


The North Face Pursuit (2014)

The The North Face Pursuit is a lightweight jacket at 364g (size M), and it’s made from 2.5-layer HyVent fabric. Like other 2.5-layer fabrics it tends to show condensation a little more easily than 3-layer fabrics or jackets with mesh lining, but the benefit is low weight and bulk. The Pursuit costs more than some other lightweights, but the fabric is rated as having a higher waterproofness and breathability specification so it should provide better performance over the long term. This is also one of the few jackets in Trail’s test to have pit zips for extra airflow. The style is averagely short, like many lighter jackets, but there’s enough room underneath to wear a mid layer such as a fleece. There’s good movement in the sleeves, making it ideal for scrambling, while the pockets are well-placed to avoid obstruction from rucksack hipbelts and they’re big enough for a trusty OS map too. Those pockets are mesh-lined, though, so they won’t keep the water out as well as sealed pockets. Also that front zip isn’t the most water-resistant design, although it does have a gutter inside to channel away any leaks. The hood of the The North Face Pursuit fits and moves with the head exceptionally well, although a better peak would be a good addition in the wind and rain.

Weight 364g (size men’s M)

Fabric 2.5-layer HyVent

Lining none

Men’s sizes S-XXL

Women’s sizes XS-XL

External pockets 2

Can hood be rolled down? no

Side/pit vents no

Website www.thenorthface.com/eu

Verdict

The addition of pit zips and use of a higher-specification fabric set the The North Face Pursuit apart from some other lower-priced lightweight jackets, although it still has its shortcomings in terms of design.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2014

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The North Face All Terrain Jacket (2013)

The TNF All Terrain is made from Gore-Tex, so in terms of proven waterproofness and breathability it is a great jacket. However it does only get two external pockets, so when hillwalking it offers less opportunity than other jackets in its price range to stash a map, guidebook, GPS receiver or compass for on-the-move access to these items – and that is what lets it down. The jacket length is similar to others, being slightly shorter than would be ideal to stay dry without having to don a pair of overtrousers. The main problem though is that the position of the two base pockets is easily obscured by rucksack belts, so they are not easily used when hillwalking with a rucksack. The jacket is quite comfortable though as it has a mesh lining and there are pit zips to further improve condensation control. Also the front zip gets an external stormflap to keep rain out. There is a third chest pocket inside the jacket, but as you have to open the jacket to access this, you’ll get wet in the process if it’s raining. The hood of the The North Face All Terrain Jacket is pretty good thanks to a stiffened (but not wired) peak plus good fit and movement with the head to allow good vision. On me the sleeves tended to ride up quite easily, so the movement in the sleeves is not as good as other jackets in this price range.

Weight 653g (size M)

Fabric 2-layer Gore-Tex

Lining mesh

Men’s sizes S-XXL

Women’s sizes none

External pockets 2

Can hood be rolled down? yes

Side/pit vents yes

Website www.thenorthface.com

Verdict

The North Face All Terrain Jacket’s pocket design and sleeve movement are not ideal for the hillwalker compared to other similar jackets in its price range.

Review by Graham Thompson

Just missed out on being in Trail magazine November 2013

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The North Face Point Five VG (2013)

The North Face’s Point Five VG is built around Gore-Tex Pro, and in our test it was the lowest-priced Pro jacket we received. The design is fairly standard with two chest pockets, pit zips and hood, but all these features are very well-designed. The body is not as short as some, but you can get longer jackets, so it is of average length. There is an exposed water-resistant front zip, which is not one of the chunkier designs, but it is perfectly good. Inside you get a flap to manage any leaks, which, although not as well-designed as some others, is perfectly good enough. The two chest pockets are large enough for maps and well-positioned for good access when you’re wearing a pack, but you do not get a third chest pocket, which is a pity. The hood is exceptionally good and certainly better than I would normally expect from The North Face as it has a wired peak plus great fit and movement. When scrambling there is good movement in the sleeves to prevent cuff or hem lift. Overall the The North Face Point Five VG is a good jacket in terms of design and at 452g (size L) it is a great weight – but I’d prefer a third chest pocket, and to maintain the current weight and price I’d choose to ditch the pit zips. But you may like it as it is.

Weight 452g (size men’s L)

Fabric 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro

Lining none

Men’s sizes S-XXL

Women’s sizes XS-L

External pockets 2

Can hood be rolled down? yes

Side/pit vents yes

Website www.thenorthface.com

Verdict

The TNF Point Five VG is the best-priced Gore-Tex Pro jacket in our test, and if you can live without an additional third chest pocket it is the ideal choice for hill and mountain walkers.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine November 2013

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The North Face Point Five (2013)

Featuring the brand new Gore-Tex Pro fabric, this is a superb all-rounder that's light enough to carry, but still tough enough to take plenty of abuse. It will keep plenty of bad weather, yet breathability is excellent. The hood’s spot-on: deep with a stiffened peak and easy adjustment and the waterproof zip is backed up with a small storm flap that does the job perfectly. The pockets are huge – easily big enough for a map or book – but don’t vent at all; but there are a pair of pretty effective pit-zips available if you do need to spill some heat.

 

Sizes: S-XL
Fabric: Gore-Tex Pro
Weight: 400g Women’s version: No
Contact: www.thenorthface.com/eu

 

* Review from Country Walking magazine, May 2013.


The North Face Leonidas (2013)

The The North Face Leonidas feels incredibly soft, thanks to the use of a 2.5-layer HyVent fabric, which is PU-coated with a Drytouch print on the inside to break up any molecules of condensation. The fabric also has 4-way stretch, so this jacket feels very comfortable and when you do get condensation, it feels less clammy than 2-layer fabric but not quite as nice as 3-layer fabric. The design is comparable with others in our test, so you get a front zip without an external flap. It does have a small internal flap, although the zip isn’t as water-resistant as others, so isn’t the best for really driving rain. The two chest pockets of the The North Face Leonidas are very large and ideal for maps or other items and hand protection. As they sit quite high they can also be accessed easily while wearing a rucksack hipbelt. The pockets aren’t mesh-lined, so they do help keep you dry, while ventilation is available via the pit zips. The hood has volume and face drawcords and fits closely with excellent movement, while the wired and stiffened peak provides excellent protection in wind and rain.

Fabric Hyvent 2.5-layer
Lining none
Men’s sizes S-XXL
Women’s sizes XS-L
External pockets 2
Stowable hood no
Side/pit zips yes
Weight 315g (size L)
Website www.thenorthface.eu

 

Verdict

The weight and features make the The North Face Leonidas ideal for many hillwalkers, although the front zip may not offer the weather resistance of other designs and the 2.5-layer fabric is clammier than 3-layer.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine July 2013


The North Face Alpine Project (2012)

A lightweight jacket which breathes very well, is totally waterproof and feels great for energetic walking. The fit just about covers the hips and the arms are articulated for really easy movement. There’s a high collar with a strip of fleece to protect your chin, and a lovely deep, fully adjustable hood that protects the head and face really well. It’s got deep, mesh-lined handwarmer pockets that double as vents and are easy to access when wearing a pack, and there are long pit-zips. All the zips are waterproof, and there’s a small internal storm flap for added security.  

Sizes: XS-L
Fabric: Gore-Tex Active Shell
Weight: 350g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: 01539 822155; www.thenorthface.com/eu


The North Face Meru Gore (2012)

The lightest jacket on test at 350g (size UK12), the The North Face Meru Gore uses Gore-Tex Active Shell, its most breathable waterproof fabric. There are two very long (enough for a water bottle) hipbelt-compatible chest pockets made of light stretch mesh with water-resistant zips and no stormflaps, arm, chest or inner pockets or pit zips to add weight. The main zip is water-resistant but the stormflap behind is quite narrow. One excellent feature is the non-slip rubber ‘grip zones’ on the shoulders, which reduce backpack slide when scrambling. The website details say these grip zones are also at the hips to reduce hipbelt slippage, but on our test jacket they were absent. There are no heavier-duty fabrics on other high-abrasion areas, and Active Shell is not as durable as Pro, so the The North Face Meru Gore potentially will not withstand as much hard use as some others. Another great feature is that the hip drawcords are pulled tighter through the chest pockets and released via buttons at the base of the main zip, which keeps it very neat for use with a harness. The hood is the best unwired option in the test, helmet-compatible with easy one-handed rear and side adjusters, plus a wide, stiff peak that stands up to harsh conditions.

Weight 350g (size UK12)
Material Gore-Tex Active Shell
Women’s sizes XS, S, M, L
Men’s sizes S, M, L, XL
Pit zips no
Wired hood peak no
Stowable hood no
Website uk.thenorthface.com

 

Verdict

The North Face’s Meru Gore is a very light, well-featured ‘fast and light’ jacket with a great hood, but others may be more durable.

Review by Claire Maxted
First published in Trail magazine November 2012


The North Face Apparition Anorak (2012)

Having a full-length zip is not always a great idea as more often than not if the jacket is on and you are moving fast the front zip is only going to be opened to the chest area, because if opened further the jacket will billow in the wind. So a smock with a short chest zip is ideal for fast activity and has the benefit of decreasing weight as there are fewer zips and seams, while increasing breathability down the front. The North Face Apparition Anorak makes good use of the smock design and also benefits from a tunnel pocket across the waist area that can be accessed while wearing a light pack. There are also pit zips for added venting, and when this design is combined with Gore-Tex Active Shell fabric you get a very comfy fast and light multi-activity body to the jacket. The hood is a little less impressive however as it does not have a wired peak and so if the peak gets creased it is hard to straighten it. The hood cannot be rolled and secured at the collar either, but the hood fit and movement are very good. The women’s equivalent of this jacket is the £250 Alpine Project, which uses Gore-Tex Active Shell and weighs 387g (women’s size M).

Weight 375g (men’s L)
Fabric Gore-Tex Active Shell
Lining none
Men’s sizes S-XL
Women’s sizes n/a
External pockets 2
Roll down hood no
Side/pit vents yes
Website www.thenorthface.com/eu

 

Verdict
The North Face’s Apparition Anorak is generally an excellent smock design for fast and light multi-activity mountain use, but a slightly better hood would make it perfect.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine September 2012


The North Face Blue Ridge Paclite (2012)

New for this spring, the Blue Ridge is an absolutely top-notch lightweight waterproof and more than capable of coping with a typical wet British day on the hill. It’s lovely and light, and the Gore-Tex Paclite fabric proves as breathable as ever when you are working hard. The hood’s good – deep, adjustable and it swivels with the head – but the peak could definitely use more reinforcement. Cut-wise, this jacket is quite short, but the drawcords at the hem do a good job. The sleeves are a decent length, too, with good Velcro tabs for adjustment. For pockets, there are just two large handwarmers. These are well-placed and mesh-backed, so double as vents, and will easily take a map or guidebook.

Sizes: S-XL
Fabric: Gore-Tex Paclite
Weight: 375g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 01539 822155; www.thenorthface.com/eu

 

Review from Country Walking magazine, May 2012


The North Face Venture (2012)

To increase its green credentials, the main fabric in the The North Face Venture uses 50 per cent castor oil rather than 100 per cent petroleum in its membrane, thus reducing its environmental impact. The fabric does not control condensation quite as well as higher-priced jackets, though. The jacket weighs little and packs down into one of its pockets. The design has a main front zip with a double external stormflap to keep rain at bay. There are then two pockets, which are mesh-lined, so they are very breathable, but not very waterproof. These pockets extend to the hem and access is easily obscured by a rucksack belt. But they are very large and they’re good for stashing maps or gloves. Under the arms there are pit zips for additional venting too. Put the The North Face Venture on and the style is quite short, but there is good movement in the sleeves. The hood fits quite neatly although the face drawcords can easily flap about in a breeze if you haven’t zipped the main zip fully to the top to trap them inside the jacket. The hood does not move with the head as easily as others though.

Weight 342g (men’s L)

Fabric HyVent DT

Lining none

Men’s sizes S-XXL

Women’s sizes XS-XL

External pockets 2

Wired hood no

Side/pit vents yes

Website www.thenorthface.com/eu

 

 

Verdict

The The North Face Venture is a short and lightweight jacket that would be good for fast and light hikers, but the pockets and hood are the not the best design for hillwalkers who don’t value weight saving so highly.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2012


The North Face Stretch Diad

A slight variation on the standard waterproof, the Stretch Diad, as its name suggests, uses a stretchy fabric that really helps the jacket to move with you when you reach up or out. This in turn allows you to choose quite a snug-fitting size that remains comfortable and helps force out sweat vapour. It’s designed for fast and light outdoor activities, so the cut is fairly athletic. The reinforced hood peak works well at deflecting rain, but a slight niggle comes courtesy of the collar, which, although lined with a soft material, isn’t quite high enough to bury your face in when it’s cold on a mountain top. The hood cinches can also be a bit of a pain to adjust, as they’re so well tucked away.

VITAL STATS
Sizes:
S-XXL
Fabric: HyVent
Weight: 321g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 01539 822155; www.thenorthface.com/eu
• Review from Country Walking magazine, May ’11


The North Face Point Five

An absolute stand-out jacket when it comes to straight technical performance. The fabric is incredibly waterproof, with a tough, hard-wearing finish. The real joy comes in the form of the hood. The peak is excellent and manages to channel water out and away from your face. The hood adjustment is excellent, and does enable you to fit it like a hat – tight to the sides and forehead. On the negative side, the torso pull cinches are fiddly to get to, tucked away inside, although you are unlikely to need them on the move. Although there are no vents, the two large ‘napoleon’ chest pockets are mesh-backed and can double up as vents.

VITAL STATS
Sizes: S-XXL
Fabric: Gore-Tex 3-layer Pro Shell
Weight: 565g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 01539 822155; www.thenorthface.com


The North Face Point Five 2010

The The North Face Point Five weighs 544g (size M); Gore -Tex Pro Shell; two large chest pockets; pit zips; stiffened hood peak; great hood fit; good sleeve movement.
But other jackets have more pockets; no external stormflaps over zips; baffle behind main zip is not guttered to funnel water down.

The The North Face Point Five is an excellent general mountain jacket at a good price and a good weight, but others have minor benefits.

First published in Trail magazine November 2010


The North Face Triumph Anorak 2010

The The North Face Triumph Anorak multi-activity jacket weighs 160g (size M); Hyvent 2.5-layer fabric is extremely waterproof and very breathable; one small pocket; short front zip for venting; reflective logo. But hood does not roll down; better condensation control may be available with 3-layer fabric; only one small pocket; peak is big, hood movement is not ideal.

The The North Face Triumph Anorak is an extremely lightweight jacket that offers superb value for money and good performance, but a hood that rolled down would be better.

First published in Trail magazine November 2010


The North Face Stretch Diad 2010

The The North Face Stretch Diad weighs 324g (size M); HyVent fabric provides good performance; two good chest pockets that are positioned above hipbelts; pit zips; hood has good fit and movement. But higher price brings even better fabric performance; hood peak cannot be reshaped as it has no wire, which is a drawback.

Good features and a great price make the The North Face Stretch Diad a good lightweight option for the hill-goer, but other jackets just pip it in the ratings.

First published in Trail magazine November 2010


The North Face Evolution Parka 2010

The The North Face Evolution Parka general-purpose jacket uses Hyvent 2-layer fabric with mesh lining; double stormflap over main zip; Napoleon chest pocket; two hip pockets; pit zips; hood rolls into collar; hood has stiff peak and good fit. But 746g (size L) is heavy; pocket access could be slightly better while wearing a rucksack; hood movement could be better.

The The North Face Evolution Parka is a good low-priced jacket, but it’s heavy compared to similar-priced options.

First published in Trail magazine November 2010


The North Face Meru Paclite

An excellent jacket, made from a very light and breathable Gore-Tex Paclite fabric that feels good and performed impeccably. The hood is excellent with easy adjustment and a useful stiffened peak; and the pockets, which double as vents, are a good size and are well-placed for easy access when wearing a pack. Velcro adjustable cuffs and a drawcord at the hem, finish it all off nicely. Expensive, though.

VITAL STATS
Sizes:
S-XXL
Hood: Fixed
Weight: 360g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 01539 822155; www.thenorthface.com/eu