The North Face Eco Thermoball Packable Jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Down and Insulated Jackets

The North Face Eco Thermoball Packable Jacket | Review

A versatile and warm layer that possesses striking outdoor style and genuine green credentials

Why We Chose The North Face Eco Thermoball Packable Jacket: Versatile, packable, eco-friendly

Price: £180
Weight: 450g
More info: thenorthface.co.uk

If you’re after a lightweight and warm layer that is technical enough to take into the mountains yet stylish enough to wear to work, then The North Face Eco Thermoball Jacket is definitely worth a look.

As its name suggests, the jacket is filled with Thermoball insulation, The North Face’s synthetic alternative to down that was developed a couple of seasons ago in partnership with Primaloft. It makes use of small, round fibre clusters that trap heat within small air pockets to retain warmth. It’s been a big success, as it is warm, highly compressible and continues to insulate even if it gets wet.

With the new ThermoBall Eco collection, the fill is now made from 100% recycled polyester, which according to The North Face, has given the equivalent of 3.6 million plastic bottles a second life this year. To further strengthen the jacket’s green credentials, the nylon, polyester and taffeta face fabrics and linings are also made from 100% recycled fibres.

The one drawback of Thermoball that we can see is that the down-like construction requires lots of baffles to keep the insulation in place. This results in an insulated jacket with lots of stitching, so you need to be careful to prevent snagging. The stitch-through construction can also result in cold spots.   

On the flip side, it still offers plenty of warmth in most situations, even in damp weather. To aid moisture resistance, the face fabric has been treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating. Moreover, thanks to that compressible insulation, the jacket packs away neatly into its own pocket, so it is easy to stash in a rucksack. Weighing in at a little less than 500g, it is lightweight too, making it an ideal layer to throw on at rest stops and provide a welcome boost of warmth. 

Available with or without a hood. Photo: Chris Johnson
Zipped pockets with internal hem adjustment cinches. Photo: Chris Johnson
Packs down into its own pocket. Photo: Chris Johnson

The style is slim-fitting, and the jacket is available with or without a hood (for an extra tenner) depending on personal preference. We like the fact that the hoodless version has a nice, high collar baffle with an extra 2 grams per square metre of insulation. This locks in warmth and helps it to stand upright, protecting the back of the neck. Elasticated cuffs and a hem drawcord also stop heat from dissipating, keeping you toasty. In addition there is a full-length zip, an internal zipped chest pocket and two external covered zipped hand pockets.

All in all, it’s a functional yet stylish piece with a multitude of uses from high street to hill.

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, Outdoors Magic Editor

“Recycled fill – that’s good. Recycled face fabrics – that’s good as well. What about the DWR? Although this jacket’s not listed as being PFC-free (and thus eco-friendly) on the North Face website, I checked in with them on it, and they told me that actually, it is. So fair play to the North Face on their eco efforts here.

“The previous Thermoball jacket (the non eco one) wasn’t/isn’t the warmest of jackets out there. It’s not really one to wear as your main insulator in the middle of winter. And it’s the same case with this new one. That said, it’s pretty spot on for brisk autumn days, for evening warmth during summer wild camps, or for wearing under another layer (or two) – it actually fits really nicely under a couple of waterproof jackets I own.

“Quick shoutout to its wet weather performance. Thermoball is a good material when it comes to warmth when wet, as I’ve found, and this new recycled version seems to be no different.
As for the fit, I’m normally a size M with insulated jackets, and the M version of this fits me perfectly.

“All-in-all a good mid-weight insulator.”

Chosen For Our Green Gear Guide 2019/20

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