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The North Face – Thermoball

Thermoball is The North Face’s revolutionary imitation-down insulation used in a range of their distinctive looking thermal jackets, all of which aim to keep you warm no matter where you are or what you’re doing. To achieve this, the insulation is made from small balls of Primaloft® synthetic fibres that act like clusters of down, trapping in pockets of hot air to retain heat. The end result is a jacket that is lightweight, packable and, unlike down, warm even when wet (thanks, synthetic fibres).   024_hi_2016b_216-0   I tested a couple of the coats in our range, starting with the original Thermoball Jacket. For a garment that claims to take on the unpredictable weather of the mountain, I was surprised by just how light and thin it was, easily compressing down into a ball in my hands. The North Face’s insulation boasts a warmth-to-weight ratio to parallel down, and after trying several of them on I was definitely getting uncomfortably hot standing in the office. Despite the feminine fit of the women’s style I also found I was still able to wave my arms about as much as I wanted without feeling restricted (the men’s style is a little roomier).


All the jackets in The North Face Thermoball range feature Primaloft® Thermoball™ synthetic insulation and the brand’s recognisable mini baffle design that keeps fibres evenly spread out for better coverage. Details from the collection consist of the usual zipped hand pockets, attached hoods, ripstop outer fabric and some of the jackets pack away into their own pockets. Other styles include the Thermoball Triclimate which is a 3-in-1 with a removable outer shell (perfect for wetter conditions) and pit-venting or the Thermoball Gordon Lyons Hoodie which comes with a fleece back panel and sleeves. The main benefits of the range are above all its warmth, compressibility and low weight.

When To Wear It

Anywhere, anytime. I can really see this as being a go-to jacket for all sorts of days outdoors; it’s light enough for a fast hike and warm enough for an early winter morning walk in the park with the dog. Although the jacket isn’t waterproof, the synthetic filling means it dries quickly (while still providing tons of warmth) and it’s small enough to wear under a shell if the heavens open. Thanks to its size and design, I feel the Thermoball jacket easily transitions between urban wear and more active use.   032_hi_2016b_218-0


It really does pack down and stow away inside its own pocket! I didn’t believe this at first, but after an initial failed attempt (obviously you’re supposed to turn the pocket inside out and stuff the jacket into it, as most people will probably have guessed) it stowed away nicely, so you can take it anywhere with you. I also liked the soft fleece on the inside of the Gordon Lyons Hoodie that feels so cosy against the skin.