The North Face Hydrogen Jacket

Ease of use
Value for money

Retailing at around £65, packing down to the size of an apple and weighing in at less than 100g, I give you the North Face Hydrogen Jacket. The jacket is constructed from Ripstop nylon with an impermeable waterproof [and allegedly breathable] coating. To the front is a full length zip, complete with luminescent pull tag and it has a single napoleon chest pocket.

First impressions are that 100g is less than I thought. It feels like it’s made of fine paper, it’s so light. Fit wise, it’s loose-ish and flaps in the breeze. As for the waterproof-ness, those of you who read my review on the GoreTex Apex cap will know my feelings on waterproof shell gear, this is no different, it’s a true boil in the bag jacket and is, as is my experience with all ‘breathable’ gear, not at all breathable in my view!

Quality wise, it’s what I’ve come to expect from TNF. Their designers are great, they think of innovative touches, like the elastic tags on this jacket so you can wrap it up. I’m always impressed with the design tweaks they get into thier products. Sadly, as is also my experience of TNF gear, their manufacturing and/or QC isn’t up to scratch. Remember those elastic tags I mentioned? One was poorly sewn in and popped out of it’s lining the first time I tried to use it. The last TNF item I bought was a hydration pack, again purchased because the design was truly miles ahead of anything else. In it’s first use, one part detached itself and the bladder in it leaked everywhere due to a lack of a rubber seal (by design). Shame my experiences have been so consistent!

Verdict: As a stuff it in the pocket just in case it rains jacket, it’s pretty good. As a windproof shell, again it’s pretty good. As a breathable jacket, it’s as good (or poor, depending on your point of view) as the next. It’s probably just as effective to buy a budget £20 nylon jacket though!

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