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Are North Face jackets worth the $$? - Page 2

post #16 of 49
i own a hand full of THE NORTH FACE jackets.
i personally love the goretex models. in the pouring rain, they have all kept me safe. but i won't say they've kept me warm haha.
i also own PATAGONIA goretex coats and i love them just as much. it's just that i like the "heavyness" of TNF goretex coats more.
are they worth the money? only if you have some to burn.

also, i've been told long ago that the older models like "steep-tech" that THE NORTH FACE produced in the past are far superior in quality than the ones being produced today.
i've never owned one, but i'll be sure to pick one up via ebay or something someday after i tone down my audio equipment spending habits that are forming haha.
post #17 of 49
I use columbia. It does the North Face job at half the price.
post #18 of 49
Mammut has some of the warmest (in terms of not letting the heat out) and most fuctional jackets (lightweight, water/wind-proof) on the market. Aimed at serious winter sports people, mountain guides et. al.
I've had the pleasure to borrow a pair of Mammut Extreme pants for snowboarding and these things were absolutely amazing. And the style is understated, which is very nice.
post #19 of 49
north face... Great brand, have one of their fleeces... except I got paint on one of the sleeves two years ago
post #20 of 49
their upper-level stuff is good, but so are all the upper-level stuff from most outerwear companies.

i personally like patagonia, mountain hardwear, marmot, and arc'teryx over TNF...

and yes, steepandcheap is one cool site
post #21 of 49
I think that NorthFace can be overpriced but I am happy with every piece I own. I have a Climbing backpack that has been used for everything and is still in one piece after 6 years, in fact it gets more "burn-in" each year. I also have some convertable pants that have been ticking for 3 years now.

I have a Fleece jacket that actually got left at my house during some party years ago (5 maybe) I'm not sure how old it was then, but I have worn it every year, and every day since then and the past 3 years I've been saying it's gonna die and the next year I'm wearing it. 2 years ago the zipper died and I sent it back to North Face and the replaced the zipper no charge. Works for me!
post #22 of 49
I have a Columbia jacket, which cost a shocking (to me at least) $325. In the Canadian winter it is absolutely worth that price, and it's even water*proof*! I once walked home (20 minutes) in a quite a downpour and what the jacket covered was dry! Build quality is superb, after 2 years nothing has broken off, including the multitude of plastic bits and bobs it has. Consider it an investment rather than pricey clothing.
post #23 of 49
how does Helly Hansen compare with those high-end brands?
post #24 of 49
I like REI.

post #25 of 49
The materials all the brands are using are pretty much the same. Gore-Tex being the most popular at the moment.

I owned and sold different kinds of jackets with different kinds of materials (Gore-Tex, Dermizax, coatings etc). I worked at a local outdoor shop.

All of the breathing waterproof materials do their job just fine, I don’t recommend a coated jacket (Only in combination with a waterproof fabric). But there are other things you have to consider.

Are you going to use it at sea? (No Gore-Tex then)
-The salt will get stuck in the Gore-Tex and it won't breathe any more.

Do you wear a backpack often? (No coatings then)
-They wear off.

Do you want to be able to wash it regularly? (No Gore-Tex again)
-The salt again, there is salt in soap. You will have to wash it with special soap.

Does the jacket have to be flexible?
-Most of the jackets are flexible, but in different grades.
etc. etc.

The advantage of a Gore jacket is that a brand that uses Gore has to follow specifications of the Gore company. So a certain level of quality is guaranteed! They also have some differed kinds of Gore-Tex, stretched Gore-Tex (XCR) for example. Still waterproof but it breaths better, is lighter and costs more.

On TNF, the middle class jackets are always worth the $$. I would not recommend the lower class jackets, its better to spend a bit more. The upper class jackets have some fancy features that not everyone uses.. and sometimes are a bit more stylish.

I suggest you visit a local outdoor/adventure/camping/sports store and start asking questions. Mostly they have a lot of brands and materials in differed price ranges. The more expensive, the more exclusive, but not always better!

Good luck!

(edit: typo's)
post #26 of 49
Originally Posted by Dachink
how does Helly Hansen compare with those high-end brands?
HH is a high-end brand.
post #27 of 49
Originally Posted by wakeride74
After freezing my ass off in the bleachers for my nephews football game last Friday I decided I need a good warm jacket. Those of you in the East Bay know what I mean... 30's and 40's and even 50's here are not like the dry 30's and 40's of other places... the air is damp and goes right to the bone!

Anyways, I hate being cold and I have some warm sweatshirts and a nice leather jacket but nothing really really warm and nothing waterproof. I was thinking of picking up this North Face jacket and wanted to ask if they hold up well and are worth the money. Any Mountain has this one on sale for $179 and I like the idea of 2 for 1 with the removable fleece. I saw some Spyder and Burton jackets that were $400-$600 so $200 didn't seem to bad... thoughts?

Check out REI stores or REI.com. They'll have sales starting this weekend.

Regarding waterproofing, there're two major categories:

1. Laminated Membrane - ie. Gore-tex (3 layers) and Gore-tex XCR (2 layers) - Best in class. Gore-tex is not the only brand with laminated membrane technology.

2. Polyurethane coating - ie. TNF HyVent or Columbia Omnishield

Both types are effective in waterproofing. The main difference is breathability. If you use them for sports then Membrane is better due to its higher breathability. Otherwise, Polyurethane coating is fine at half or more lower cost.

I like Marmot, Mountain Hardware, and arc'teryx (If I can afford it). I do own a TNF Gore-tex XCR and love it. I only use it when the weather get very nasty (ie. Snow storm). I use softshell most of the time when I go skiing.

If you just want to hang in town or going to see the games, you might want to check out the "Softshell" category, a combination of waterproofing and thermal insulation (Fleece-lined). They're lightweight, stretch, and low-bulk. It's my main choice for winter and cool weather sports.

Note: Make sure you get some thing rated higher than 1300 for waterproofness. 1300 is the minimum measurement of waterproofness.
post #28 of 49
I have lots of North Face gear including two of their top-end jackets. I am compeltely happy with their stuff. My winter jacket is mind-boggingly warm for how lite it is. And while there gear is high performance, I also like the style and might buy it anyway. Reading other posts, something to remember is that companies like North Face are using materials serveral generations newer than "gor-tex."
post #29 of 49
Originally Posted by Dachink
how does Helly Hansen compare with those high-end brands?
Helly Hansen is a high-end brand. Its products are oriented for sailing and water sports/activities. I sailed for many years and had many pieces from helly hansen from gloves to windproof jackets and watertight overalls. They're surely expensive but after a long day sailing (often 3 and 4 days in competitions) the confort, security and overall quality of helly hansen pays off.

The North Face has products for different activities hence its bigger popularity. But you can't go wrong with Helly Hansen
post #30 of 49
Driza-bone are some of the best coats Australia has on offer.

Check out it if anyone imports them.

Might not be all that suitable as they're mainly aimed at the conditions here but still worth a look.
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