The North Face Point Five

Time was when TNF was seen as the absolute top-end, the kit was iconic, bold looking and as technical as you could get. The Point Five Jacket in for test takes me right back to those days.

Now relax there at the back, the Point Five is part of the Summit Series, so I haven’t found anything on here that’s not mountain-specific.  This size large is 592g of heavy duty winter armour. It feels old-school in many ways, but the Gore-Tex ProShell is more supple than the old 3-layer Taslan or RipStops ever were. The fabric is a tougher variety with the slick microgrid backer and it’s microtaped at the seams to maximise the breathable area. The only other things to see on the inside are the fleecy patch at the back of the neck (a feature I have come to love) , a hang-loop and the channel for the drawcord that runs hip-to hip across your back. The adjustment for this is inside the big chest pockets, although to slacken it you have to find the cordlockswhich are inside. The pockets are huge, with long water resistant zips, no nesh or anything, so wet gloves are welcome in there. The right-side one has a small inner stretch pocket for “stuff”. Also terminating inside the pockets is the hem drawcord (for slackening the cordlock is fixed inside the hem and easy to operate), so with two bungees in each pocket it doesn’t feels like you’re carrying elastic bands around when you put your bare hands in there.
The same nice grey zips are used on the full-length front closure (with fleece chin patch and stiffened and subtley shaped inner storm flap) and the double-ended pitzips.

The cuffs are wide, you can get them up past your elbows and the velco adjusters have no-hairy-bits sections at the end so you can grab them without picking at them when they’re stuck down or snagging threads on your liner gloves. Hurrah!
The hood is a beast, zipping it up and cinching it in is denying winter is only a few inches from your nose. The peak is stiff and wired, and face coverage is very good. The adjustment around your face is easily done, exposed bungee loops to pull with one finger and cordlocks in the hood to squeeze to slacken it off. The volume adjuster at the back is easy to tighten, but the cordlock is hidden under the flap, in a little pocket, an arrangement that TNF seem to love and which has turned out to be a pain in that arse with gloves on, I have to work it with bare fingers in all the hooded TNF jackets. It’s not a deal breaker, the strengths well outweigh it, but there are easier ways to resolve this feature.

Articulation is great, and it’s a good fit too, I seem to get away with medium and large in TNF, more evidence for actually being a size XM: Extra Medium. The waist cord is a good feature, keeps the front neat but draws the jacket in. and the hems stay down too.
Of all the shells I’ve got in for test, this feels like it bridges my favourite points of reference the best, the protection and minimal features that I used years ago and the modern fabrics and construction that make life lighter and better.

I hope it’s the sum of it’s parts. We’ll see by next Spring.

3 thoughts on “The North Face Point Five”

  1. Thats not a bad looking jacket, nice to see TNF doing as Berghaus are and getting some serious stuff on the racks (buyers permitting)

    I’m still not entirely convinced by waterproof front zips or rubber cuff adjusters to be honest, I guess the zip backed with a stormflap is waterproof enough but a studded (I dislike velcro closures, especially full ones as they stick to everything else) external stormflap gives you another option for venting.

    Rubber or stiff cuff adjusters are a total PITA, the ones on my Berghaus Pro Trek curve away from my wrist and get caught up on glove cuffs and so on. Any idea why manufacturers insist on using them rather than self fabric closures, there has to be a reason?

  2. R MacE, I’ve seen this in the shops in this seasons new colour which is a brightish green, looks nice, but I like my retro sample :o)

    The rubber velcro closures are cheaper (what I think) and “better” is (what all the brands say). But two points here, the ones on here aren’t velcroed right to the end so they’re usable, and I’ve just seen a new version elsewhere thats a different construction (laminated or not, whichever is different?!) which doesn’t curl over time.
    We’ll see. I liked the old fabric ajusters, never had a problem with them

    Soularch, that’s a steal at that price.

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