When it comes to waterproof breathable, not all jackets are created equal. New for 2012, The North Face introduced the Jammu Jacket which incorporates Polartec Neoshell, a waterproof breathable softshell fabric. The North Face Jammu Jacket is part of the Summit Series line and an athlete pick for TNF which means it’s a jacket that can handle the punishment from some of the most elite athletes around the world and lives up to TNF’s stringent requirements to be considered for the Summit Series line.
The Jammu jacket is an excellent all around winter jacket as works well for various activities such as skiing, snowboarding(not snowboarder baggy), snowshoeing, winter hiking, and almost any other activity you might do in the winter. One thing in common with the activities you might notice is that they are all high exertion activities. While participating in high exertion winter activities, you need a jacket that moves with you and is good at venting out the heat and moisture that you generate for temperature regulation.
First, one benefit of softshell jackets and fabric is that is more flexible than a 2 or 3 layer hard shell. The material typically stretches a good amount more and if you are participating in an activity where you are moving a lot, you don’t want a fabric that is constricting your movement. The challenge for some uses of softshell fabric in the past is that it hasn’t been waterproof and for some activities, it can be incredibly important to keep out rain, snow, and moisture. In 2011, Polartec came out with a softshell fabric called NeoShell and it is truly waterproof and breathable.
Often with a softshell jacket, it is important to be able to layer up when temperatures get cold. While the thin layer of fleece on the inside of The North Face Jammu provides a small amount of warmth, it is hard to really classify it as insulating. This means it is important for the jacket to have enough room on the inside to add on additional layers without getting too tight and constricting motion. While testing this jacket out skiing at Keystone Resort, the temperatures were between 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit, so having an additional layer to stay warm was important for me. Since I felt like being a TNF model that day, I wore my TNF Zephyrus pullover which was a perfect combination. Other mid layers will also work well too depending on how warm or cold you get. For a sizing reference, I am 6’0 and 175lbs and a medium fit me perfect.
Another way to keep warm in a jacket is to limit the amount of heat that can escape through the bottom of the jacket and the cuffs on the arms of the jacket. To keep the heat from escaping through the bottom of the jacket, there is a draw cord that cinches the bottom of the jacket around your waist. For length, I found the Jammu Jacket to go half way down on my behind which helps keep snow out on big powder days. The cuffs on the Jammu jacket are wide enough to cover an extended cuff of a mitten or glove.
There are two side pockets on The North Face Jammu Jacket that have plenty of room to fit almost any item you need. These pockets are made with a flexible stretch mesh allowing for venting if you start to get too hot. There is also flexible rubber like material in this pocket that does a good job at gripping onto items such as cell phones or camera’s. I don’t believe this was intentional, but it is definately an added bonus in my mind. There is also a pocket on the left chest that is best used for a phone or a ski pass. This pocket is not that deep, but fits an iPhone 5 with an Otterbox Defender Series Case.
Overall, I have been extremely happy with my testing of The North Face Jammu Jacket and I am happy to give it my stamp approval. The Jammu Jacket retails for $399.
Note: The North Face Website as of 12/16/12 states this jacket has pit zips in the product description. However, there are no pit zips in this jacket.