If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, I have no doubt that you’ve seen me in this jacket. It’s been all over the world, and has done almost everything I have. Racing, camping, giving presentations, bike commuting, lounging around.
But I have used this jacket to almost the end of its days, which is actually getting very close now. That makes me sort of sad. It has been absolutely solid for the last few years. I recently sat and thought about how many hours of use I’ve gotten out of my Thermoball, and if had to guess, it would easily be in the thousands. I just got a Patagonia Nano Puff Air Hoodie to replace it and it still feels like I am cheating. When I get ready to leave the house I hesitate before grabbing the Nano just because the Thermoball has been so good to me for so long.
Like all things, the Thermoball isn’t perfect, but the only real down side I found is the breathability. It does collect moisture when you start building up a good sweat, or if you are using it as a layer inside your sleeping bag. That’s it! That’s the entire con list.
The good far outweighs the bad. It’s lightweight, packs down very small, keeps you warm, and it does a decent enough job at keeping the wind out (though it is not a shell, but nor is it advertised as such). The zippers on the pockets as well as the zip closure have never failed or gotten stuck. The hood has a nice fit for either under my bike helmet or without it. The waist tensioners have done a fantastic job at keeping the wind off my back and the snow out of my butt cheeks, which as you can imagine is pretty important. You can read all the technical specs on the jacket here, if you like.
Overall my vote is two thumbs up. If there weren’t new innovations to keep me dry while I’m working hard, while giving me a greater range of motion, I would without a doubt buy another Thermoball. The durability is hard to beat, that’s for sure!
If you’re looking for a great all-around jacket for outdoor activities that will also serve you well while traveling or even a trip to the bar, you’ll be hard pressed to find better than the North Face Thermoball Hoodie.
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