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North Face Summit Series

The North Face Summit Series L5 waterproof Jacket Review

The North Face Summit Series L5 Review:

There is nothing I don’t like about getting a new jacket, whatever it is I always welcome it with open arms as it feeds my desire and slight habit of wanting new jackets whenever I can.  When I realised it was a North Face variant I had no idea what to expect.

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

I have always found The North Face do produce an awful lot of very similar garments that flood the market place but in the same breath I don’t think they ever lack quality. I think my issue of “collecting” has always steered me away from The North Face and maybe more towards Rab and Montane as I can keep up with what developments and new products they are bringing out more easily.  Anyway back to this latest one…as I opened the package I was welcomed with a dazzling two tone green number, old school colours perhaps but this looked something else…

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

 

I have always been a little tricky to please when it comes to waterproofs.  I want that perfect combination of fully waterproof, not to heavy, well vented and doesn’t look like a tarp thrown over you.  The North Face L5 certainly seems to tick all the boxes at first glance.  I must admit to having some worry’s that the jacket might not be robust enough to wear in winter whilst scrambling and still keep you dry and not be a sweat box.  most of my fears were unfounded as the first time you get a grip on this jacket it becomes apparent that this isn’t an ordinary stock waterproof.  In fact for the price point of £550 then you would certainly hope that it was a step above the competition. North Face claim the summit series is  “The worlds finest alpine equipment” ..now that is bold!!  

Waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX® technology is designed to keep you dry and warm in all weather…

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

 

The North Face say on there website about this jacket that it has a “GORE-TEX® Performance Shell fabric is designed to provide superior comfort and durable, waterproof protection for a wide range of outdoor activities. The GORE-TEX® revolutionary patented membrane technology is specifically engineered to form an impenetrable barrier against wind and water while maintaining breathability.”  Now that sounds perfect to me but I always think that the proof of the matter is when you get up high in some lovely British autumn weather and give it a proper road test rather than the beautiful turn of phrase a marketing department will describe it with..

All About The North Face...

Our Story:  Behind The Brand

 

We are named for the coldest, most unforgiving side of a mountain. We have helped explorers reach the most unfathomable heights of the Himalayas. But The North Face® legend begins, ironically, on a beach. More precisely, San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, at an altitude of only 150 feet above sea level. It was here in 1966 that two hiking enthusiasts resolved to follow their passions and founded a small mountaineering retail store. From the beginning, the brand committed to serving all those who desired to explore and to serving our natural wild lands by helping to conserve them. At our core, we believe exploration creates an indelible bond with the outdoors, inspiring people to protect our land and pass these beliefs down to the next generation.

Soon thereafter, that little shop became known as The North Face, a retailer of high-performance climbing and backpacking equipment. In 1968, The North Face moved to the other side of San Francisco Bay, to the unbridled possibilities of the Berkeley area, and began designing and manufacturing its own brand of technical mountaineering apparel and equipment.

Through the 1960s, The North Face brand cherished a following amongst avid outdoor athletes and began sponsoring expeditions to some of the most far-flung, still largely untouched corners of the globe. This launched a proud tradition which continues in full force today and constantly reinforces The North Face mantra, Never Stop Exploring™.

By the early 1980s, The North Face was taking exploration to the outer limits of the ski world, adding extreme skiwear to the product offering. These were the days of pastels, neons, hair dye, and mohawks; they laid the groundwork for today’s free-spirited snowsports athletes. By the end of the decade, The North Face became the only supplier in the United States to offer a comprehensive collection of high-performance outerwear, skiwear, sleeping bags, packs and tents.

The 1990s ushered in an era during which The North Face further broadened the outdoor world it helps athletes to explore. The decade saw our debut in the sportswear market with the launch of Tekware™, an innovative collection designed to provide rock climbers, backpackers, hikers, trail runners, and outdoor enthusiasts with the ultimate fit and function. The North Face half dome logo began to appear with greater regularity on ultramarathon courses, high-country trails, and big walls. And, as the calendar clicked toward a new millennium, The North Face launched its own line of trekking and trail-running shoes to ultimately address the head-to-toe needs of those always striving for the next horizon.

While the brand continued to shape the outdoor market through product, expedition and athlete achievements, it launched two game changing product lines – Thermoball and Fuseform. Thermoball introduced synthetic insulation mimicking the capability of down. Fuseform revolutionized the manufacturing space as it changed the way technical apparel is produced.

Now, more than 50 years after its humble grand opening, The North Face delivers an extensive line of performance apparel, equipment, and footwear. We push the boundaries of innovation so that you can push the boundaries of exploration. We remain deeply proud to be the first choice of the world’s most accomplished climbers, mountaineers, extreme skiers, snowboarders, endurance runners, and explorers.

There’s little telling what the next 50 years hold for us. However, there is one bedrock of certainty: The North Face will maintain an unwavering commitment to pushing the limits of innovation and design, so that you can push your limits outdoors. Never Stop Exploring.


I was, I have to admit; very pleasantly surprised with the robust nature of the material the jacket is made from when at first inspection.  It really does ooze quality and the styling really sets it apart from the “others”, you can probably tell I am fan already.  One aspect of the jacket I really liked was the Localized FuseForm™ construction provides durability where it’s needed most with minimal seaming, this gives the jacket that feeling of impenetrability. It also adds to the sleek lines and gives it that one piece of material feel which certainly adds to the aesthetic.

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

The L5 also has water tight zippers across the body of the jacket to resist any water ingress at all. Obviously in the driving rain this is perfect as it can be in relenting in the midst of a British winter…or Scottish and welsh for that matter.

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

The jacket also has an slimmer fit but it still allows for layering underneath in the colder weather.  I never like waterproofs to look like a smock but to have a fitted feel but with some space for layers in colder climates and with cinches to allow you to tailor the fit, this has all that capability. There are even hidden cinches in the pockets as well as hood, cuff and waist as you would expect.

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

Localized FuseForm™ construction provides durability where it’s needed most with minimal seaming…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The helmet compatible hood is huge on this jacket but even when you have it up without a helmet there is the ability to adjust it so it fits better and more securely without the risk of it flying up in the wind.  You can actually wear it low over the face with the neck zipped right up to stop any rain hitting your face when your walking as well, lots of different fit options can be arrived at depending on the situation.

 

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimbNorth Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

There is the usual adjustable cuffs but these do have a wide grab to allow you to adjust with gloves on in winter.  It is easy to find that correct fit and the tailoring of the sleeve isn’t round at the bottom to allow some coverage over the backs of the hand as well…the devil is in the detail as they say..

 

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

The two tone fabric on the jacket is worth a mention as well as this really does set it off from some others out there.  I know other brands also grasp this aesthetic as well but the slightly darker Gore-Tex infills really give that feel of robust built to last fabrics, which I hope it is.

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

All the high wear areas of the jacket have the Gore-Tex panels so that when you are wearing a heavy pack there is no chance of wear and tear in that area from continual use.

I still have my doubts around the price point of the jacket but if you set that aside and look at the build and quality as well as the eye candy nature of it, then this really is top drawer.  The claim that it is the best alpine equipment in the world is a bold one.  So much competition out there would suggest its a difficult one to prove but this certainly is a top quality item of waterproof clothing and I for one will be wearing it a lot over the coming months rain or snow…

For more detail please visit The North Face website for further information:

The North Face

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

Main Features:

  • Waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX® technology is designed to keep you dry and warm in all weather
  • Localized FuseForm™ construction provides durability where it’s needed most with minimal seaming
  • Pack/harness-compatible pockets
  • Over-helmet hood
  • Alpine fit
  • Watertight zippers
  • Adjustable Velcro® cuff tabs
  • Internal, secure-zip stash pockets
  • Hidden hem-cinch adjustment
  • Pit-zip venting

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

A beautiful North Face L5 summit series waterproof jacket..and breath……

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

I know I mentioned it all ready but when it comes to jackets I can be a bit of a “full kit w…..” well you know what I mean.  I also find it difficult to settle on a particular style or brand when choosing and have that desire to own more than one.  I used Helly Hansen Odin waterproofs for a number of years and they were just awesome and I really did hammer them so this Summit Series has got some impressing to do.  I also have struggled with the price point, the jacket and trousers in the series are close to £1000 retail which in my eyes isn’t what you would call attainable.  Like always if you shop around they can be found for half this price which puts them on a par price wise with Montane, Rab and Paramo equivalents.

I have been trying to pick some faults in the jacket other than price and I have struggled.  Obviously its a preference thing with them but summit series really does tick all my boxes around fit, look and robustness.  Having worn it a handful of times so far I have to say I have been very impressed, and I have worn it up high as well as during everyday life as well and the comfort and fit factor has been excellent.  I don’t want to sound like a gushing fan boy to much as this is the first bit of North Face equipment I have owned in a while but it really is a touch of class.  I may well update this review in Spring when I have given the jacket a run for its money, will so how things pan out but so far…first class…To be continued…

For more detail please visit The North Face website The North Face or

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

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About us

Cotswold Outdoor started life in 1974 as Cotswold Camping, selling a range of basic camping accessories from a small outbuilding in the Cotswolds. 40 years later, the company is an award winning multi-channel retailer with stores throughout the UK.

With four decades of experience in outdoor retail, we offer one of the most extensive and comprehensive ranges of outdoor clothing, products and equipment. Selecting from over 250 internationally recognised brands allows us to bring you the latest in outdoor technology and styles. Not only this, but each product is carefully selected and tested to ensure a high level of quality and value for money for our customers.

We share your passion for the outdoors. From climbing the Old Man of Hoy to cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats, our staff are brought together by a love for anything and everything outdoors. In our spare time, we are walkers, climbers, cyclists, trail runners, skiers, hikers, swimmers, kayakers – you name it, we do it…

As a company, we invest in expert training for our staff, to make sure that you get the best help and advice when you are choosing kit for your next adventure. We offer a range of expert in-store services including boot-fitting, rucksack fitting and kit talks.

You make us what we are

Without you, we would not be here. That’s why we work hard to provide the best possible service to not only exceed our customers’ needs but also make the customer experience both pleasurable and informative. Whether you choose to visit our stores, shop online or use our mail order service, you will benefit from the same high standard of service and level of expertise.

North Face Summit Series WalkHikeClimb

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