The North Face Expedition Long Sleeve Review
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In today’s green world, more and more companies are finding ways to utilize recycled products. Do you ever wonder what happens to all those plastic bottles in your recycle bin? Well, The North Face has incorporated a new fabric in their clothing lines made of recycled plastic bottles. The North Face Expedition Long Sleeve is partially made of Repreve fabric. I think The North Face has taken a step in the right direction to help minimize landfill waste while becoming a greener company. Ok, enough with the green intro. How did The North Face Expedition Long Sleeve perform? I have had the chance to wear the top while skiing, biking, hiking, and camping. Overall it has been a strong performer and has kept me comfortable during my outdoor activities.
One of the big selling points of The North Face Expedition Long Sleeve is the incorporated Repreve fabric. It’s worth a minute of time to explain the process used to make the fabric. The most important part of the process starts with us, by making the right decision to recycle plastic bottles rather then letting them become landfill waste. When Repreve gets the plastic bottles they clean them, the bottles are then chopped into small pieces, and then melted into small plastic pieces. Now the small plastic pieces are transformed making a thin plastic fiber. The plastic fiber is spooled on rolls and look the same as a cotton yarn, but made from plastic. The yarn in then ready to be used in a variety of clothing products. So how many bottles are actually used in the making of most products? Obviously it depends on what percentage of the product is produced from the Repreve fabric. It seems to range from just above 50 percent up to almost 100 percent. To give you an example The North Face Denali fleece uses 45 bottles worth of yarn. I don’t have an exact number for The North Face Expedition Long Sleeve, but from looking at some other products I would guess that 7-11 bottles are used in the production of the long sleeve. If investing in quality green products is something you value then this baselayer is right up your alley.
Performance of The North Face Expedition Long Sleeve
I have been using The North Face Expedition Long Sleeve during a few different activities in the every changing conditions the Colorado spring has thrown at us. In Colorado, we ended up having a better April and May ski season than in January, giving me a chance to test the ski performance of the base layer. I took it out during a couple true spring ski days and a couple colder days in the 20’s and 30’s degree range. First off I have to say the fit of the next-to skin-fit is spot on. I would recommend using the fitting guide on The North Face website to determine your size. I am kind of an in-between sizes person. Most of the time I am a medium and other times I’m a large. I used their guide and it recommended I get a size medium. I am 6 feet tall and around 170 lbs for a reference point. The sleeves offer enough length for a comfortable fit even for a rather longed armed guy.
The North Face Expedition long sleeve is designed to be a heavyweight fleece baselayer for those cold winter expeditions. Luckily we had a colder spring for me to test out the warmth of the baselayer. I wore just the baselayer under my shell on a 30-40 degree day to see if it would keep me warm. I was a little disappointed in the baselayer when it came to keeping me warm. I started getting cold on the chairlift and figured it was just the inactivity and on the way down I would warm up. After a couple runs I was cold and had to add a mid layer under my shell. I thought the heavyweight fleece would’ve done a better job of keeping my temperature up during activity. When I wore it with my mid layer I was plenty warm the rest of the ski day.
The North Face Expedition Long Sleeve made up for not keeping me warm by making sure that all the moisture I produced was wicked away. The North Face uses their Flash Dry fiber technology, which not only wicks away moisture, but also helps dry the baselayer quickly. During a spring bike ride I wore the baselayer to keep me warm and dry. I did a 60 mile ride with the Expedition top on. At the end of the ride I was neither chilled or wet. The top excelled at keeping the moisture off of me. If you’re worried about the baselayer trapping in your body odor, no need to worry the Flash Dry fabric has an anti-odor property!
If you are someone who hates baselayers that are restrictive then The North Face Expedition Long Sleeve is for you. The baselayer is made from 83 percent Repreve material and 17 percent elastane. This mixture not only gives it the great next-to-skin fit, but also an extremely flexible baselayer. On those cold days when you have on multiple layers you won’t have to worry about this baselayer holding you back. If you do happen to get a little overheated the baselayer has a 1/4 zipper to cool you off. The back of the zipper is reinforced with seamless fabric prevent any rubbing or chaffing. The mock neck is true to fit and wasn’t too tight around my neck. If you have a larger neck I think the stretch fabric would give you enough room to still be comfortable. To further minimize any chance of chaffing or discomfort The North Face Expedition Long Sleeve is manufacture with flat seams that you will barely even notice are there at all.
Final Thoughts on The North Face Expedition Long Sleeve
I would say if you are looking for an environmentally friendly product, this baselayer is right up your alley. It offers great comfort and flexibility keeping you happy while out on your cold expeditions. The biggest complaint I had was the overall warmth of the baselayer. I still think it’s a great top, but more times than not you’re going to have to layer it with either a warmer jacket or a solid mid layer. The North Face has been a staple in the outdoor industry for years and you can always expect a quality product from them. The North Face Expedition Long Sleeve is no exception and comes with a lifetime warranty to back it up. The North Face has also incorporated the Repreve fabric into other products, which can be seen at The North Face website. For more info on the Expedition Long Sleeve and other North Face products, visit www.amazon.com/thenorthface. MSRP $80
Would you recommend this for a winter Basel layer, or do you think there is a better synthetic option out there you could recommend?
Is this the black version in this review? Looks more like a grey.
Mick, this has been one of my go to base layers for the winter seasons. I like it because it’s soft to skin and isn’t too form fitting compared to others on the market. Patagonia capilene base layers have always treated me well too, I have some old capilene base layers that are 15 years old and are still going strong.