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.
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…
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…
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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:
- 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
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
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