Latest puffy jacket technology to prepare for the slopes
By Phil Lindeman, brought to you by Pioneer Sports
WHAT IS THERMOBALL?
For starters, it’s more than an odd name. It’s the high-performance insulation found in The North Face’s newest line of mid-weight products, and it just might be the death of traditional feather down. Thermoball, found at Pioneer Sports, has the best of both worlds: It packs light and tight like down, but still holds warmth when wet like synthetic fill. This means that even a thin outer like the Thermoball zip jacket will keep you cozy in snow or wind for early morning turns. When things heat up at midday, stuff it into the hand pockets and toss it in your backpack. So long, down.
THERE’S A DIFFERENCE
between insulation and the stuff The North Face calls Thermoball.
For starters, it’s named Thermoball. When a top outdoor manufacturer coins a term like that, you know they’ve either done something revolutionary or just run out of good ideas.
Thermoball might not be revolutionary, but it’s easily one of the best ideas for a material in years. It’s The North Face’s latest and greatest, a synthetic blend of PrimaLoft made to be as light as down and as warm as synthetic fill, even when wet. This secret ingredient brings heat, comfort and style to one of the company’s most affordable lines.
The Thermoball zip jacket ($199) is the flagship model for men and women, featuring the clean cuts and striking colors The North Face has made iconic. The outer material is surprisingly silky for a jacket, and the entire thing weighs less than 13 ounces when packed into the pocket. It’s a perfect mid-layer for frigid days on the hill — the soft outer material needs a bit of shell protection — but it’s much more than a layering piece. The insulation is warm enough for cool summer nights around the campfire or a serene walk through town on a winter morning.
High-tech fill aside, the Thermoball jacket is functional and attractive. It features two pockets on the outside and a single zipper on the front — no more, no less. It also fits just right, leaving enough room through the armpits and chest to move comfortably without feeling baggy or awkward.
Over the past two seasons, The North Face has added two new products to the line, the Thermoball Hoodie ($220) and Thermoball Snow Jacket ($220). Both are slight variations on the original with the same high-tech insulation at the core.
The hoodie takes the jacket design and adds a slim, attractive hood. Simple enough. It’s large enough to fit over a helmet, although folks with larger heads will have a tough time cinching the zipper around their gear.
The snow jacket is a bona fide diamond in the rough for skiers and snowboarders. The insulation is thick enough to handle nearly sub-zero temperatures on its own, and the outer material is tough enough for tree runs through the thick stuff. The waist is longer, the arms are roomier (in case you need to layer) and the hood is slightly larger to fit most helmets. In short, you can take it places the original just isn’t meant to go. Not bad for something named Thermoball.
$199; Men’s Thermoball zip, featured in “Blue” and “Brindle”
$199; Women’s Thermoball zip, featured in “Purple”
Brought to you by:
Pioneer Sports, 842 N. Summit Boulevard, Frisco (Next to Walmart in Frisco)
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.