The North Face ThermoBall Series

The North Face ThermoBall Jacket

The North Face ThermoBall Jacket combines the best properties of down with the wet environment benefits of synthetic insulation. ThermoBall is a type of Primaloft insulation that allows this jacket to be light, pack well, and still keep the wearer warm when wet.

Synthetic insulations usually fall short of down in terms of warmth-to-weight ratio and packability. That said, lightweight and highly packable jackets are often hard on the wallet. The ThermoBall jacket‘s synthetic insulation is impressively similar to down in terms of weight and packed size, yet at a retail price of $200 it is cheaper than many high-loft jackets.

Apparel from The North Face is usually cut to be fairly loose in comparison to other outdoor companies, and the medium jacket fits me quite well, whereas I am a large in many other brands. My medium ThermoBall Jacket weighs right at 12 ounces. It packs into the left zip-pocket. When packed, the uncompressed dimensions are about 6” by 10”. Compress the jacket a little further by stuffing into your bag, and this is reduced closer to 5”x10”. As an added bonus, the layout of the stuffed jacket makes it a nice camp pillow if you sleep on your back.

The insulation of The North Face ThermoBall Jacket is far superior to down in wet environments. I have only had the jacket in light rain, and in this scenario, the exterior fabric coating prevented the insulation from getting soaked. However, I can still feel confident praising the wet weather capability of this jacket after reading about the ‘˜Dunk Test‘ performed by Gear Junkie. There seems to be no reason to not wear this jacket on wet days.

The North Face ThermoBall Jacket

This jacket has been my everyday and bikepacking cold weather jacket. It is perfect for stuffing in a bikepacking bag for taking along on overnights where the temperature is expected to plummet. The jacket and a light, long-sleeve baselayer kept me warm even with temperatures falling into the mid-20s. The insulation does a great job at retaining body heat even if you are sedentary while also performing well to regulate the temperature on more strenuous activities.

I have been pleasantly surprised with the wind resistance of this jacket. Though not windproof, the exterior material seems to do a better-than-expected job at cutting the wind. The tight array of the stitching results in small ThermoBall pouches that not only prevent air gaps but also compact the insulation in such a way that it does a good job at stopping the wind.

Overall, the North Face ThermoBall Jacket is great for daily usage whether your day takes you to the office or the trail. With its small packed size, it can be brought along for an overnight where the temperature is expected to drop, without taking up a lot of valuable space in your bag. When you consider that it is a nice camp pillow when stuffed, there is no reason to leave it at home.  The ThermoBall is available in a variety of colors and styles including jackets with and without hoods as well as vests. The North Face ThermoBall jackets and vests can be purchased directly through The North Face or at your local retailer or any of several online retailers.

– Alex (Steak Sauce)

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