You might call us crazy for tossing a jacket into a river while hiking in the middle of winter, but when you are told that a jacket's insulation works even when it is wet, how else are you supposed to prove it. Here is our north face thermoball review: http://snowsportsproducts.com/north-face-thermoball-review/
Last weekend, it was below 30 degrees outside and we were getting ready to hike some 14er's. Before we did, we decided to give our new jacket a nice bath in an ice-cold river. We really wanted to put the North Face Thermoball to the test and see if it would live up to its expectations.
After several years of testing and using jackets, this one actually came out on top thanks to its versatility and durability. The technology used in this jacket is still very popular in North Face's jackets today.
This is a somewhat expensive jacket coming in at $200, and it is fairly puffy due to its build material called PrimaLoft. This is a new synthetic insulation for lightweight warmth perfect for packing.
This specific jacket features two pockets, a waist cinch cord, a light weight of about 10 pounds, and elastic wrist closures. We love this jacket for taking on longer backpacking trips because it can fold into its own pocket for a space friendly packing. It doesn't pack into the smallest sizes of all jackets, but it gets pretty darn close and offers great quality.
North Face says that the jacket provides the same level of warmth compared to weight as high-quality goose down jackets. Whether or not this statement can be proven is unknown, but when this jacket is dry, it can sure produce a lot of warmth!
However, we already expected this. What we really wanted to know is how well this jacket performs in wet and extreme cold conditions. Hopefully it is as good as North Face says it is.
A down jacket that remains untreated will end up just soaking up a ton of water and lose the warmth it once had. While you can treat it to work better, it would be nice to have a more streamlined option. The material used to make the Thermoball will never absorb water thanks to its absorbent synthetic insulation materials. This means that the jacket can hold your body warmth inside whether the jacket is wet or dry.
You can see the Down jacket in comparison here: https://www.rei.com/c/mens-down-jackets/
We wanted to prove that these claims were true, so we tested them.
To do this, we hiked in to Colorado's mountains, and threw the jacket into an icy river in 30-degree weather in hopes that the jacket will come out warm enough to make up for the time without it.
We had to use a stick to dunk the jacket as it wanted to float around. We immediately noticed that the jacket did not want to sink for any reason at all, and that is when we had to use the stick to fully submerge it.
Once the jacket got a good soaking, we were able to remove it, shake off some of the water, and put it back on.