The North Face Winter 2013/14 Arrives at Webtogs! Review 1: The North Face Point Five NG Jacket

It’s an exciting day today here at Webtogs. That’s because the latest range of outdoor clothing from The North Face has finally arrived in our warehouse for the Autumn/Winter season! Whether you’re a long-running TNF fan or one of their sceptics, there are undeniably some exciting items in the 2013/14 range, boasting some technologies and materials as yet unseen on The North Face kit, and even in some cases in the market as a whole. There are also some cool new additional features and even a couple of price drops in their premium Summit Series range. Yes, you heard me right!

Over the next few days I’ll be writing a few posts reviewing and interpreting some of the latest The North Face styles, namely the ones I find most interesting! Today I’m going to lead with one of the tekkier ones, The new North Face Point Five NG Jacket, in their ‘athlete tested, expedition proven’ Summit Series.

 

The North Face Point Five NG Jacket
1. The North Face Mens’ Point Five NG Jacket
To the untrained eye this looks pretty much identical to last season’s Point Five, but there’s much more to this new version of The North Face’s flagship waterproof shell jacket than meets the eye… First of all, the financially discerning amongst you will notice that the price has actually decreased since last season, from £290 RRP in Spring/Summer 2013, to £270 RRP in Autumn/Winter. Not a great deal more affordable, but appreciated nonetheless.

Secondly, the Point Five is constructed from Gore’s new flagship fabric, Gore-Tex Pro. This replaces the older Gore-Tex Pro-Shell fabric (note the removal of the ‘shell’ part – this could get confusing otherwise), as seen on the previous generation Point Five, which brings the benefit of increased breathability by up to 28%. In the world of tough shell fabrics this is a big deal! This technology took over 7 years for Gore to develop and test, ensuring that it remained at least as durably abrasion-resistant and waterproof as its predecessor (or more so), whilst achieving this striking improvement in breathability. The new Point Five is also noticeably less stiff-feeling to wear than the last one, a bi-product of the engineering carried out to increase breathability; so all-in-all significant improvements in wearer comfort have been achieved! I should also add that it’s got PU-coated water-resistant zips backed up with a storm flap on the inside, a fully-adjustable helmet-compatible hood, underarm zip vents and A4 size map pockets (both also water-resistant). It also features an integrated ‘Micro-grid’ backer (lining) as part of its 3-layer laminate structure, which not only aids strength, but also prevents snags on your mid-layers, and helps it slide easily over the top of whatever else you’re wearing. Great features.

Here we see the laminate structure of the new Gore-Tex Pro fabric (right), compared with the older Gore-Tex Pro-Shell fabric (left). By doing away with the polyurethane ‘smear’ layer in the older membrane (the white bit, left), and replacing it with a more breathable, 100% ePTFE top-secret carrier layer (the grey middle bit, right), they have achieved improvements in breathability of up to 28%.
Here we see the laminate structure of the new Gore-Tex Pro fabric (right), compared with the older Gore-Tex Pro-Shell fabric (left). By doing away with the polyurethane ‘smear’ layer in the older membrane (the white bit, left), and replacing it with a more breathable, 100% ePTFE top-secret carrier layer (the grey middle bit, right), they have achieved improvements in breathability of up to 28%.

 

Once you know all this, and taking into account the fact that prior to the new Gore-Tex Pro fabric release, it was expected that Pro garments would be 15-20% more expensive than their Pro-Shell forbears, the decrease of £20 from the price suddenly seems so much more impressive. It also brings the Point Five in line with high-end mountain/alpinism jackets by other brands, making it a tantalising prospect for those on the hunt for a great value, rugged and feature-packed mountain shell. The North Face Men’s Point Five NG Jacket is currently available from Webtogs at 15% off the RRP, at £230.84.

Check out this video from The North Face, showing some of their elite sponsored athletes putting the Point Five NG through its paces:

More reviews of products in The North Face Autumn/Winter 2013/14 collection to come, but until then feel free to check them outfor yourself at Webtogs.

Thanks for humouring my slightly geeky ramblings on this jacket!
Phil

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