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The North Face Thermoball Jacket Review

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This season, The North Face has partnered with our friends over at Primaloft to introduce a new down-like synthetic insulation, ThermoBall.  The North Face ThermoBall Jacket is the perfect companion for the cold weather lover in all of us. And if you’re not a cold weather lover, ThermoBall will help keep you warm in the so-called cold weather.

The North Face ThermoBall Jacket Performance

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When it comes to staying warm in cold winter months, The North Face the dominant force that’s hard to stop.  Just take a look at their website, REI’s website, or others and you see they have a jacket for pretty much any activity, temperature, budget, and body style.  The North Face ThermoBall Jacket is designed for the male or female that’s looking to stay warm in cold weather conditions while not tagging on the traditional weight and bulk you get in a warm jacket.

When it comes to winter activities, I like to get out skiing, winter hiking, snowshoeing, and my most frequent activity, walking the dogs in the winter.  To date, I’ve been able to test out The North Face ThermoBall Jacket while skiing and winter hiking. While skiing at Keystone Resort, I used the TNF Thermoball jacket as an inner layer to a shell and while winter hiking in the Rocky Mountains, I used the jacket over a merino wool long sleeve shirt.  While skiing using the ThermoBall jacket underneath a shell, you will generally want the weather to be a little chilly, 20 F or lower in my opinion.  This way you don’t overheat too much.  I used the jacket in temps ranging between 20-30 and while closer to 20, the jacket worked perfect.  At 30 F, it was a little hot.

The North Face ThermoBall Jacket is perfect for winter hiking and many other cold weather outdoor activities.  With the small amount of bulk in the ThermoBall Jacket, it’s extremely easy to use a day pack with this jacket.  It is important to note that this jacket doesn’t have extra material on the shoulders, so if you use a backpack with this jacket on a consistent basis, you may see unwanted wear.

Thermoball Jacket Fit

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As we all know, so much of a piece of gear’s performance has to do with the fit.  You can have all features and technologies you want, but if it doesn’t fit well, you can kiss it all goodbye.  The good news for TNF is that their designers of the Thermoball full zip jacket did a nice job in relation to the fit.  I am 6’0 tall, 173lbs and I felt that a size medium was perfect for body length, room in the mid section, and arm length.   For those that want to layer beneath the ThermoBall Jacket, there is plenty of room for a bulkier layer such as a mid layer or a sweater.  And since the jacket uses a nylon material on the inside, it is slippery and will slide on and off very easy.

Technology & Features

The North Face ThermoBall Jacket isn’t super feature rich, but it provides the necessities.  This includes 2 zippered side pockets that are big enough to fit items such as smart phones, point and shoot camera’s, keys, energy bars, etc.  If it’s windy or snowy and you don’t want anything blowing up from the underside of this jacket, there is a draw cord that allows you to cinch the jacket to your waist or hips.  This is generally not a feature I use often, but it’s nice to have when I need it.

The North Face Thermoball Jacket As you might imagine, the technology in The North Face Thermoball Jacket is what sets it apart.  By using small puff balls of primoloft, the insulation doesn’t clump up which can create cold spots.  By using small rectangular pockets, there is no room for the Primoloft ThermoBall to shift around which typically can create cold spots in down and synthetic jackets.  The main benefit of Primoloft ThermoBall is that it is as warm as down, but it holds its warmth when wet vs down gets wets down and looses it’s warmth in cold weather.

Final Thoughts

The North Face ThermoBall Jacket is perfect for most athletes for most activities.  The benefits of less bulk, less weight, and the same amount of warmth as a 600 down fill jacket make the ThermoBall an excellent choice.

For those interested in ThermoBall, but want a hoodie or vest style, don’t fret because those options are available as well.

ThermoBall Full Zip Jacket MSRP $199

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About Kevin Fonger

If there's an activity or sport, I'll generally try it at least once. My main activities include running, hiking, skiing, cycling, camping, backpacking, and pretty much anything else you can think of. I love writing product reviews as I like helping people find the right gear so they will enjoy their activity that much more.

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