Thursday, 8 January 2015

Review: The North Face Point Five Jacket & Pants

- product provided for the purpose of review, thanks to -
Today's review - The North Face Point Five Jacket and Trousers. Seen here on top of Cairn Gorm.

First impressions: 

TNF over the past few years have appeared from the outside as a brand which cares more about fashion than performance. The Summit Series gear, to me, is a way of getting back into the technical market and I was eager to see what they'd produced. None of the modern fabrics here, just good old Gore-Tex Pro, this and The North Face's knowledge of jackets and extreme environments meant I couldn't wait to get this partnership out and about, the first test was my Hill and Moorland leader assessment after that I had a 4 day winter skills course up in the Cairngorms, where a "weather bomb" was due! 

A good fit straight away, I went for the Large in both (6'2 and XL with Rab shells), TNF still fit pretty big compared with other manufacturers so you have to try their stuff on to know what you're getting. Not too heavy, good construction quality and good length at the back in the jacket. The pants were comfortable, felt absolutely bomb proof and come with a nice set of braces to keep them up, impressive construction once again with no loose thread anywhere and solid stitching. 

Jacket features - 

Standard features on the Point Five jacket: helmet compatible hood, drawcords around the bottom and helmet with two large harness compatible "alpine" pockets, 1 internal zipped pocket, Velcro wrist tabs, pit zips and a performance fit. 

Pant features - 

Front attachment braces, zippered thigh pocket, two zippered hand pockets, full length zips and internal gaiters with kick patches. 

Out and about on the Moor: 

Jacket - 

The jacket got hit with some testing conditions on the moors, some very high winds and brief spells of rain and sleet before the sun came out. A mix of wet and dry, cold and warm meant the jacket needed to be breathable for the warm stuff and bombproof for the wet stuff, luckily for me, it was! 

Really impressive stuff from the Point Five jacket, the water beaded well and ran off quickly without pooling in areas on the jacket. A great fit when out and about keeps the jacket down and stop. old and moisture getting in while giving it some wellie up a hill. 

The pit zips helped with breathability and moisture control within in the jacket, keeps a god breeze through the jacket means condensation won't form and form in cold conditions. 

Pants - 

I've never used internal gaiters before and I was eager to see how they compared with my Rab Hispars, we haven't had much rain on the Dartmoor but there were still some boggy areas and the occasional unexpected stream to cross. They did well with the wet stuff, stayed down on the boot and kept my feet dry. The pants weren't quite as breathable as the jacket, luckily the fill length zip allowed me to get some air in there and stop the moisture build up. 

The pockets are ok, the thigh one is a good place to store some cereal bars or snacks but there isn't much room for more stuff in there and the hand pockets are just that, not much room in those either. while I understand having baggy pockets on these pants would be much more of. hindrance than a help it would have been nice to have some more room to play with. 

Very windproof and very waterproof thanks to the Gore-Tex Pro material, unfortunately after a few days of heavy use the pants started to wet out a bit quicker as the Gore-Tex membrane became more clogged. It seems that all the materials in use at the moment require constant treatments to keep them operating at a acceptable level, a shame when prolonged use is required. 

Out and about in the Cairngorms: 

Jacket - 

Colder temperatures, stronger winds and snow instead of rain provided a different challenge for the Point Five jacket. Sweatier days and a greater need for breathability due to the sub zero temperature. The best bit about snow is that it's dry, it's only when it gathers and melt from your body heat or gathers and freezes that it becomes a pain! 

The jacket handled the conditions very well indeed, a real confidence booster when out in the mountains. I struggled to find any faults with it after getting the extreme weather out of the way on the first day, we experienced some really heavy winds, a brief whiteout and some sleet on the way down. I stayed dry the whole time and very happy in my bubble of Gore Tex. 

Trousers -

The trousers sturggled a bit more with the snowy conditions, they continued to keep the snow off but rain was beginning to wet out the trousers after such heavy continuous use. Any time I sat down on snow or cold rock my bum was quickly aware and began feeling damp, I expected the trousers to be a bit stronger on this front as sitting down is a vital part of a day in the snow!

The internal gaiters couldn't handle the deeper snow and my boot was full of snow in no time, perhaps the designers of internal gaiters need to have a long think about making a product which actually works. A real shame when keeping feet dry is such a key part of morale over the course of a day. The zip maintained its level of waterproofness and didn't become an easy way in for rogue rain or sleet. I loved the braces, they were great and a definite positive addition for the pants, making them front and back would have been nice but not crucial. 


Jacket -

I was really impressed with the Point Five jacket, The North Face have done really well to get back into their technical kit with the Summit Series range and this jacket can stand proud with that badge on its arm. It handled wind, rain, snow and sleet all in intense situations where its ability was relied upon. Gore Tex has lost some of its followers over the years but this jacket has won me over, it's definitely on the way up and I look forward to seeing how the fabric develops over the next few years. 

Trousers -

The trousers didn't perform quite as well as the jacket over ther 8 days, while the jacket continued to shed liquid the trousers had begun to wet out and let a damp feeling creep in. The lack of bum protection for sitting down really disappointed me, I'm not a fan of a damp bum and I doubt many walkers and mountaineers are! They're still good, and I still trust them out in the mountains - I'll just be sure to clear a suitable spot to sit down in.

Positive points:

Jacket -

  • Good cut and length provides all round protection
  • Gore Tex Pro provides great protection and breathabilty
  • Helmet compatible hood keeps wind and rain off and the noggin safe
  • Part of the Summit Series range, the highest line up of equipment from TNF
  • Comes in some seriously vibrant colours!

Trousers -
  • The internal gaiter can handle "good" conditions very well, especially hillwalking
  • Full length zip allows for easy access
  • Gore Tex Pro provides great protection and breathability 
  • Front braces keep the pants up and skin covered
  • 3 pockets allow for storage of snacks and hands.

Not-so-positive points:

Jacket -

None! I'll keep trying to find a negative but I'm struggling at the moment.

Trousers -
Deep powder beat the internal gaiters.
  • Internal gaiters couldn't handle heavy amounts of powder snow, quickly riding up and allowing snow in
  • They begun wetting out after intensive use while the jacket continued to shed water
  • They let my bum get damp!
Damp bum time!

Thanks for reading my review of the TNF Point Five duo, thanks to for providing the products for review. If you'd like to keep up to date with what they're up to then check out their facebook and twitter.

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