The North Face Half Dome Stretch ProShell

Yes, yes, I know about the colours, in for an exclusive test is next year’s Half Dome from TNF.

“It’s all about the fabric” they said to me when I first saw this, and now having spent a good bit of time in it, I can see what they’re saying. The whole jacket is cut from a lovely soft and light stretch Gore-Tex ProShell. It’s a nice fabric to wear, but the stretch isn’t there to cover up from a sloppy cut, the Half Dome is properly dialed-in for the active user, slim and well articulated. The stretch just seems to add a little something to the fluidity of movement if that makes sense, minimises the jackets presence maybe?! Those factors also mean that the size medium is perfect on me over a base and light midlayer.

It’s fully featured, a phrase that usually sends the needle on the scales spinning upwards, but this sample comes in at 446g. For that we get four chest pockets, all usable sizes with skinny water resistant zippers. The side-entry pockets have the hem drawcord-ends in there too for easy tightening, slackening is via the cord-locks inside the hem itself.
There’s pit-zips made from the same skinny zippers, here with double zippers for variable opening. These are easy to use, the zips run pretty smooth and all the zip-pulls on the jacket are good ones, easy to grip with gloves. The main zip is a more robust water resistant type, double-ended with a slim inner stormflap.

The cuffs have velcro adjusment, and the tabs don’t have velcro all the way to the end so can actually use the bloody things without picking at the end to release it.  Are you listening everyone else?
The hood is a cracker, double-adjustable: face aperture and volume. The face cord has concealed cord-locks and captured loops to hook a finger through, all fine with gloves. The volume adjustment follows the current TNF pattern of a cord-lock hidden under a flap at the back of your head, easy to tighten, nearly impossible to slacken without a bare hand. The peak is well shaped, a good size and is stiffened and wired. The hood sits well and follows my head well on the move, a good balance between protection and usability.

Inside we have surprisingly few seams, and microtape is well used here to keep the breathable suface area maximised. There’s some welding as well as stitching, with reinforcing patches at seam junctions where wear and tear from movement of both wearer and stretch fabric is expected to be an issue.
A nice touch is a very fine microfleece patch at the back of the neck, catching either sweat, rain or melting snow from dripping down your spine I hope.

From the use I’ve given this already I know the fabric works well, I think the gap between Gore-Tex and eVent is closer than it’s been. The spec of the jacket for the weight is brilliant, it’s a proper mountain jacket, no compromises that I’ve found as yet.
How the fabric fares over the long-term we’ll see, it’ll be getting out and about some more over the winter.

Aye, it’s got purple. How cool is that?

14 thoughts on “The North Face Half Dome Stretch ProShell”

  1. Aye, and out-of-the-box like that is always the best test I think. It’s a properly good bit of kit, I hope the fabric holds up.

    Look at the clours in that photie :o)

  2. I don’t care how good it is, I don’t want my outdoors kit colour schemes to revert to the late 80s / early 90s, thank you very much! :O)

  3. Stretch waterproofs are ace! My new Meteor ‘pants’ in Entrant DT stretch are not noticed at all and I struggle with double layers on my knees, even down to just wearing overalls on their own at work. Hadn’t realised there is a stretch Proshell but I guess TNF being who they are get first goes at stuff like that. As far as eVent vs Goretex goes – I’m quite sure that a lot of the people who say eVent is way better, have come from XCR and have no experience of Proshell. I might be wrong but that’s the sort of thing I used to say until I lived with Proshell for a while.
    Now if it was yellow and orange…

  4. Yellow and orange, I think Marmot did that at one time bless ’em!

    Gore’s upping the stakes as well with ActiveShell next year, which is kinda made like eVent…

  5. Putting a little stretch into proshell might be cute but do think they’re rather overdoing the price premium right now :) (Stretch waterproofs not being at all new of course.).

    This one is looking budget priced at 360 (as per an OM preview)…..

    I guess it’ll calm down rather once the novelty has gone.

  6. Aye, if they sell enough fabric we might see it filtering through the ranges.
    It’s way better than the last version I tried, the stretch XCR “Viper” fabric, it got slimey on the inside as soon as you put it on.

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