One Relentless Life

Relentless Forward Motion

Tag: gear

The North Face Thermoball Hoodie

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.

North Face Thermoball Hoodie

More riding than lounging around, however.

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.

North Face Thermoball Hoodie

Mine smells like campfire smoke. I recommend you treat yours similarly.

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.

North Face Thermoball Hoodie

As I mentioned, it’s also good for lounging. It’s also good for holiday photo ops.

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.

North Face Thermoball Hoodie
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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Repairing your tent- Don’t just pitch it

I was very seriously considering throwing away my trusty solo tent. Read about it here. I have got a lot of use out of it, The mosquito netting was ripped and it started to lose it’s waterproofing. I have been eyeballing some newer tents that would be an upgrade. Getting new gear is fun. You get to open it up like it is Christmas and have the excitement of trying something fun. These are all of the excuses I have been making to justify buying a new tent. What I really needed to do is, not be lazy and spend the hour and $10 and repair my tent. So that is what I did. I bought a sewing kit for under $2 and some Scotchgard Water Shield for $8 and got to work.

The first problem that I addressed was the rip in the netting. Everyone has been in a hurry to get out and got the zipper stuck and just kept pulling anyway. Good news is that it is simple and easy to fix.

tentripped

 

The first step is to zip the door closed so that you can see how big the hole is. It also helps you know how much pressure to put on the stitches to get it repaired while still allowing the zipper to close full and not further damage the tent. Why not just zip it all the way shut? Then you cannot get your hand inside to push the needle back out.

tentzipperopen

The next step is to start sewing. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I cut off about a 6 foot piece of string to work with. It was way too much length but, for the cost and not having to try and start sewing again in the middle it was worth the waste. Starting the repair is the hardest part. You have to tie a knot in the string. I pushed the needle through the zipper in and out as close together as I could and then tied a simple overhand knot. After that I started working both sides of the rip together. Making sure to go into the netting 1/4 of and inch. This is due to the netting ripping slightly when you pull it tight. If you have the thread at the edge it will just rip out. Then I stepped up 1/4 of and inch. Repeat until the hole is closed.

tentzippersewn

 

As you can see it is not perfect and large bugs could get in easily. That brings us to the next step. Gorilla Tape. I already had some lying around so it worked out perfect. I tore off a piece slightly longer than the tear and applied it to the outside first. This would insure that I got the entire rip covered and wouldn’t have to worry about the tape sticking to another part of the netting. Next I unzipped the zipper and attached a similar sized piece to the inside. Last I rubbed the two pieces between my palms to make sure it was stuck down as well possible.

tentzipperdone

That’s it. All done.

Now onto the even easier part. Restoring the waterproofing.

The first step is to clean the tent. I used a microfiber towel to wipe down the floor and a shop-vac to pick up way was left behind. Time investment was 2 minutes.

tentcleaning

 

Then I applied the waterproofing spray. I made sure to spray up the sides of the bathtub just in case. I didn’t spray above it for two reasons. One is that the rain fly covers that area and two if there is water that deep you are in a world of hurt anyway as the water will rush in the bug netting and door.

 

scotchgardtentbathtub

 

Just follow the directions on the can for application. It says to make sure it is covered but not saturated or something to that effect. That means it should be wet but it should not have puddles or be dripping.

Next up is the rain fly. After attaching the rain fly, I made sure to first coat all of the spots that were over lapping, Zippers, flips up vents, etc. Then I applied a nice even coat like I did the inside floor.

tentzipper

Once the tent had dried fully, I did add a second coat of spray to the bottom side of the tent just in case I missed a spot. I had extra and I wasn’t going to save a small bit in the can in hopes of finding a use for it.

So all in all I had about one hour and $10 into repairing my tent. I think I can get another 50+ nights out of it now. I will keep everyone updated.

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As an added bonus, when I had the sewing kit out, I repaired the tent bag. tentbag

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