I’ve been testing out some brand new technology from The North Face over the last couple of weeks. This is the Thermoball Hoodie Jacket – a light weight insulated jacket designed to keep you toasty warm whatever you are up to.
I won’t lie. When this jacket arrived and I took it out of the courier bag and plastic packaging the crackling was so loud I had to earth it to hear myself think. I didn’t dare try it on straight away as I was afraid my hair would be permanently reaching for the ceiling. Wow; I don’t think it could have stored any more electricity – there was enough to light my kitchen for a week! I was a bit worried the static would be an everlasting property that would prevent me from wearing the jacket at all. But thankfully the following morning (yes, that long) it had calmed down and the static has not returned since. Phew!
Thermoball is The North Face’s new synthetic alternative to down. Clusters of round synthetic Thermoball trap and retain heat within small air pockets to provide effective insulation, even when wet. This very thin layer is the equivalent to a 600 fill goose down jacket. Designed as a multi-purpose jacket, it has two hand pockets on the outside, an open internal pocket, and elastic binding to secure the hood and cuffs with a hem cinch cord to ensure a good fit.
It is definitely warm. I’ve worn it on its own and underneath other jackets and it is a great help on cold days. It is flexible enough to wear when cycling, and is absolutely perfect to throw on before going for a wander around my favourite local countryside. I think what makes this so comfortable is the because it is so thin and light – it’s very easy to wear. And the fact that it packs down into one of its own pockets is a real bonus when it comes to transporting it about – I was surprised how easy it was to stuff, so much easier than any sleeping bag I’ve ever tried to get into its bag!
[Incidentally, this photo is me on a Fat Boy – the bike I’ll be riding in the Wild West of America in June… excited!!]
I have lovingly named my Thermoball my “bin liner”. The black nylon outer is very shiny, but I can’t deny its technical properties do the job rather well. Yes it’s much shinier than its goose down cousins, but I can deal with that because it works. I am looking forward to using this as part of my arsenal against the Finnish weather next month!
Update Jan 2014 >
I wanted to add a short note to say that a month on I love my Thermoball to pieces! I took it with me on our return trip to Ruka, Finland and was totally impressed. As a layer over my thermals and under my ski jacket (the Honee Snuggs Parka) my core stayed perfectly warm when the rest of me was frozen. The hood was a bit of a pain, but I found a way to fold it so it worked under my ski coat without getting in the way or restricting my head movement. If you are wanting something as a technical layer for very cold temperatures (we skied in -25) then I absolutely recommend this offering from The North Face. I am very tempted to treat myself to the version without a hood as I think that would be more versatile. The Thermoball has become a staple piece in my outdoors wardrobe – I am sold on its ability to keep me warm even in extreme circumstances.
Find out more about the Thermoball online.