Expert Review: The North Face Men's ThermoBall Eco Insulated Jacket
This review is my honest opinion of the jacket which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the jacket which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
The North Face ThermoBall Eco Insulated Jacket is a high-quality, versatile option for the casual skier that is best used for off-mountain fun or in warm spring conditions.
About the Gear
- Model: 2021 - The North Face Men's ThermoBall Eco Insulated Jacket
- Size: Medium
- Fit: Runs Large
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 175 lbs
- Experience: 23 years of skiing
- When I bought this: December 2021
- Days tested: 25 days
- Where I’ve used it: Big Sky, Montana; Salt Lake City, Utah; Bend, Oregon; Columbus, Ohio
- Conditions I’ve used it in: Spring, Apres, Around home, Casual days or nights out
How it Performs
What I was looking for
I really needed a lightweight jacket for off-mountain activities post-skiing and for the warmer spring days. I also wanted to use it as a mid layer for the truly frigid days.
Why I chose this gear
I chose this jacket because of its versatility. It’s lightweight, breathable, warm, and easy to pack for trips out west. I trust the durability of TNF, so I was focused on similar styles from them. I considered the Patagonia Nano Puff, but did not see the color I wanted, and the Cotopaxi Fuego was just a bit above the price range I was willing to pay.
What I love about it
- Range of Motion: The jacket is very versatile, there are no limitations in range of motion. It runs a bit big so it allows for a wide amount of movement and allows for layering. It can be worn in a wide array of activities with little to no restrictions from skiing and hiking to running and even throwing a baseball.
- Design: TNF built another quality product that lasts years through numerous conditions. The quilted pattern allows for maximum range of motion and prevents a bulky look. The reverse coil center zip keeps cold out and heat in. A pocket on the chest enables me to fold the jacket into an easy travel-sized bag.
- Quality of Materials: The jacket’s ThermoBall insulation paired with the synthetic quilted pattern is great at keeping me warm in winter conditions. It serves as a mid layer for freezing days on the mountain and as a warm jacket for a brisk spring walk.
- Durability: Through 7 months of use, there is no noticeable wear or tear on this product. I’ve worn it for spring ski days, walks around the neighborhood, commutes to the office, and through multiple wash cycles and no signs of deterioration. That said, I don’t expect it to hold up in rugged conditions for long ski seasons or extreme hiking/biking. The material itself, if not taken care of, could rip easily on sharp objects.
- Pockets: The jacket has two standard pockets mid stomach but also includes one on the inside, near the chest, for extra storage. I’ve utilized this pocket for my phone to track my skiing stats on the mountain. The pocket also allows me to pack the jacket into it for easy travel in a convenient bag.
- Warmth: This jacket isn’t the warmest I own, but the ThermoBall technology holds its own in Winter and the cooler days of Spring. It holds up on gusty days, breaking the wind to keep me warm. That said, once wet, that all goes away, as it is not the most waterproof. The best days for this jacket are dry conditions rather than heavy wet ones.
- Weight: This may be the lightest weight jacket I own; it’s no heavier than a windbreaker and it’s easy to pack/travel with. It folds into its own pocket in a 4x4 bag.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Fit: The jacket runs a bit big, so it’s not a good option for those seeking more of a true fit. On the other hand, running a bit loose means the jacket has flexibility for layering underneath.
- Waterproofing: The insulation is great and keeps me warm when conditions are dry, but the material itself does absorb water. On wet spring days, I was soaked and frozen by the end of the day due to the lack of water repellency. I had to buy a hoodie at the end of the day for the drive home.
- Breathability: There are no vents included in this jacket and it does not wick internal moisture away. That being said, personally, I don't overheat generally in this and can wear it in 10 degrees to 70.
Favorite moment with this gear
Really enjoyed this jacket on a trip to Mount Bachelor this spring; it worked well in the spring conditions that we had with 40 degree bluebird days for the entire week. It served me well and made my friends jealous as they were sweating bullets in their heavier winter coats.
Value for the money vs. other options
There may be other non-brand name options that provide similar short-term performance, but I preferred to back up my money with a trusted brand that stands by its products with a one year warranty.
The ThermoBall Eco Jacket is a versatile jacket that provides performance in some conditions on the mountain, but supports all activities once off the mountain. The wide range of functional uses in varying conditions and its reasonable cost make this a must-have in my closet.