For someone who's almost always cold, packing isn't easy. I always pack layers, but then there's still the question of what jacket to bring. When it's the middle of winter, yes, then you can easily bring a big winter jacket. But when temperatures are a bit higher?
I rarely go on a trip without a jacket, but I do often regret having to lug it around when it heats up during the day and I'm already carrying my camera bag and who knows what else. So when The North Face asked me if I wanted to try out their super-light ThermoBall Hybrid Hoodie jacket, I was intrigued.
Here's what it says on The North Face website:
“A new, hybrid design pairs the core warmth of our ThermoBall™ powered by PrimaLoft® synthetic insulation with our breathable, stretch soft-shell Apex Aerobic at the sides and sleeves for ultralight warmth in all conditions without sacrificing overall breathability. Insulated shoulders align with pack strap placement for extra padding.”
It's okay, I had to read it twice as well. But it sounds like a light and warm jacket, right? And more so, it's stowable: you can squeeze the entire jacket in one of the pockets and zip it closed. The ThermoBall Hoodie seemed to be the answer to my “I'm so often cold but don't want to carry anything”-problem and so I agreed to the test.
Now, how did this jacket perform?
The North Face Thermoball Hybrid Hoodie review
Now, I'm not the most adventurous type and so I didn't do anything extreme in this jacket. Here are the conditions in which I tested it:
- on several day trips in Belgium, in temperatures going from 12°C to 20°C, sometimes in the rain
- in Livigno, Italy, in temperatures from 12°C to 17°C
- in Costa Brava, Spain, in temperatures from 10°C to 18°C
How did I like it?
When I first received the jacket, I was a bit surprised that the sleeves are much thinner than the body part. Of course, you can see this in photos online as well, but I somehow thought that the sleeves would be thicker. They are made of a special insulating nylon but are not as warm as the padded body of the jacket.
This is fine when the temperatures are 15°C and up (in my case – I'm always cold, remember. I know some people won't even wear a jacket when it's 15°C), but when they were lower I was a little chilly in this jacket. How active you are, also plays a part, though, as once you get warmed up, the ThermoBall Hybrid Hoodie will keep your warmth inside the jacket without making you sweat.
I ordered the jacket in size M and I'm glad I did. I think an S would have been fine as well, but it would have fit a lot tighter and I like to be able to wear several layers under my jackets.
What I especially like is how windproof it is. There was often a very chilly wind in Livigno, but it couldn't get through the fabric. This helps a lot in keeping you warm as well, as does the fact that The North Face ThermoBall Hoodie is waterproof. I haven't walked through giant rains with it so I can't comment on how it would perform in extreme weather, but it'll keep you dry in a short shower or a long drizzle.
The lightness of this jacket is its biggest selling point for me. Honestly, you don't even notice you're wearing it. That's how light it is. It also folds together very easily and I could put it away in my PacSafe Citysafe handbag, together with my wallet, cell phone, a battery charger, tissues and some other stuff.
You don't even need to stow the jacket into the pocket pouch for this, but if you do, it'll stay a nice and compact package. The only recommendation or feature request I have for The North Face is that they add something to the pouch that allows you to carry it. Even just a thin strap that would allow you to wear the pouch crossbody would be handy, as you now still need another bag to put it in.
I do like that the pockets of this jacket are deep and zippered. There are even two deep inner pockets where you can put away quite a lot of things.
The North Face Thermoball Hybrid Hoodie review: the verdict
I can conclude this The North Face ThermoBall Hybrid Hoodie review in a positive way as this jacket has easily become my favorite spring jacket. It's just so light and practical to carry around.
The North Face ThermoBall Hybrid Hoodie for women is available in various colors.
Official price: $180.
Check it out on Amazon