The North Face Alpine Project Jacket and Snake Eyes Full Zip Fleece Jacket: First Look

Been on a couple of trips, but not been pushed hard yet is The North Face Alpine Project Jacket. It’s an alpine jacket in a race-weight fabric, Gore-Tex Active Shell.
As I’ve said before the performance of Active Shell in moisture management is brilliant and it’s good to see the fabric creeping into areas where its durability will be under pressure. This is a proper mountain jacket and TNF are either keeping their fingers crossed or they’re confident in their fabric which has some stronger nylon in the weave for toughness.

It’s around 500g apparently (my digital scales are in the workshop, I’ll check it for the update) and feels light in your pack. It’s soft to wear with that light fabric and it’s got some features going on. There’s two big chest pockets with water resistant zips, one with an extra inner zipped pocket, and there’s no mesh in there, it’s Active Shell inside and out. The rules that Gore set down for maximum double fabric area etc have been thrown oot the windae it seems. Quite right too.
The main zip is water resistant with a rear storm flap, the velcro adjustable cuffs are shaped to protect the back of your hands, and as you can see below there’s two-way pit-zips, unusual on an Active Shell. They work well, I can reach them easy on this neat fitting medium. The hood is front and rear adjustable with a stiffened laminated peak and gives good protection.

It’s got good articulation, I can move around well in it and not lift the hem up, I just get a little pull at the cuffs. The water repellency is good so far, rain beads and runs off, but time will tell on that. The chest pockets are big and it’s actually quite nice to have no mesh, you can fire wet gear into them and not worry about getting your vest all soggy.
Ha, look at that colour.

I do like midlayers, light ones that is, big fleece or heavy softshell just upsets me.  The Snake Eyes Full Zip Fleece Jacket (gallus name) isn’t just a school jumper, it’s a techno school jumper.
I like the grey would you believe, nice to have something different, but the understated looks hide it’s tech spec I think. It’s light (how light I shall confirm later when I bring my scales home, TNF’s 279g seems right though) enough to carry and light to wear as well. The fabric is soft and stretchy, it’s grid-backed Polartec Powerdry, so a slim fit medium is comfy and unrestrictive. The fabric is a cracker, some insulation and very good moisture management with a durable outer face. I’ve always liked this type of fabric, it layers well and is great at camp as it doesn’t hold a lot of moisture.

Features are good, handy wee chest pocket and two good sized hand pockets. The full length zip is handy and it’s not pushing the weight up here, it has a flap behind it which is nice on your neck and means that the reversed zip won’t abrade your baselayers.
The cuffs and hem are doubled fabric with no adjustment at the hem, it doesn’t need it as the fit is so slim and even with high reach arm moves the fabric stretch and good cut means the hem stays put. The neck is middle height, I’d probably have stuck an extra half inch on it, but it’s not a deal breaker.
It’s very wearble and I’m chosing it over brightly coloured stuff, so it looks liked we’ve bonded.

The Alpine Project and Snake Eyes are both from the Summit Series, ie TNF’s good gear, and are looking rather nice so far. Updates to come and there’s more TNF test kit coming soon too.

8 thoughts on “The North Face Alpine Project Jacket and Snake Eyes Full Zip Fleece Jacket: First Look”

  1. Same fabric. It was originally a Patagonia exclusive if I remember right, then it crept out elsewhere. First time I used it was on a Karrimor pull-on way back.

    Full retail is £110.

  2. That explains why it looks the same! The standard Patagonia one has a higher collar. But my R1 Hoody takes this to the next level – great hood, with offset zip which makes a neat balaclava and long sleeves with thumb loops. Its my favourite winter climbing mid-layer or outerlayer on warm, dry sping/autumn days by a country mile. Awesome kit.

  3. Well a different hair dresser to R1 ;) (small rectangles not squares.).

    Its got rather noticable just recently (RAB and Norrona at the very least) so I’d presumed that some Pataguicci patent/agreement has run out or something. Mostly a bit thinner though, like this one.
    (R1 pullover at 330g or so it seems, these ones ~250.).

    Active shell in alpine jackets does slightly beg the question of what pro shell is for.

  4. You’ve got me interested now we’re talking durable. Very keen to see how the Alpine Project works out for you before I go and spend my hard-earned on a replacement for my old Montane Air.

    Was looking at the ME Supercell, any thoughts Pete?


  5. Definate interest in how the active shell works with a rucksack. That fleece top also looks interesting. I get warm easily so I tend to use thin midlayers.

  6. I’ve got a grid backed Lowe Alpine hoody somewhere. I’ll need to dig it out, lighweight hoodies rock.

    Pro Shell? It’s for the reinforcing on Active Shell jackets :o)

    Supercell Look nice and clean, pockest zips might be a bit short? Seen that on a lot of current jackets.

  7. Actice Shell isn’t as fragile s you’d think. Long backpacking trips in the rain might shorten its life. But regular now-and-again use sees it looking good for me.

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