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Hands-on Gear Review
The North Face Flyweight Hoodie - Women's Review
Cons: Light moisture protection, side pockets interfere with backpack waist belt or climbing harness.
The North Face Flyweight Hoodie - Women's has a nice women's specific fit and does a good job at buffering the wind on a high mountain ridge or ocean sail. It also lends itself to a layering system and it tucks away in a hand pocket with a loop to clip onto your harness or backpack. Overall, we preferred our Editors' Choice winner, the Patagonia Houdini - Women's over this model. We also liked The North Face Cyclone Hoodie - Women's and gave it our Best Buy award. The Cyclone costs $20 less than this model and rated much higher in our tests. If you like the style of this windbreaker, it still does a good job of blocking the wind and works well for outdoor pursuits on a blustery day or a stroll through town during a light drizzle.
RELATED: Our complete review of wind jackets - women's
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The North Face Flyweight Hoodie - Women's is made of 50D 77 g/m2 100% Polyester with DWR coating. It has elastic cuffs, a hem cinch cord, a draft flap behind the full zipper and an adjustable hood to maximize protection from the elements. It has two exterior pockets, one of which is media compatible (there is an internal hole in the pocket for a headphone cord to run inside your jacket up to your earlobes). It weighs 6.21 ounces (176g) and comes in 11 colors for 2015, from solid to bicolored and patterns.
The North Face Flyweight Hoodie - Women's is made of 100% Polyester WindWall fabric. The wind permeability is rated at 0-20 CFM (cubic feet per minute, with 0 being 100% windproof). While this did a good job of blocking out the wind, it didn't quite measure up to the Patagonia Houdini jacket and rated in the middle of the pack for this metric. We did like the adjustable hood, which is large enough to fit over a climbing or bike helmet. The bottom cinch cord hem is another great feature that lets you lock the jacket down at your waist and helps protect you from extra gusty winds.
This jacket ventilates via the full-length front zipper and elastic drawstring at the hem, as long as a hip belt or climbing harness doesn't interfere. The elastic cuffs are refreshingly spacious and provide some breathability as well, unless you have large wrists. While not the most breathable jacket, we were less sweaty in this model than in the Sierra Designs Microlight 2 - Women's and Columbia Flash Forward - Women's
This jacket held up well in a light drizzle. It repelled water easily due to the DWR (durable water repellent) finish; water beaded off it and it dried quickly. However, don't mistake the Flyweight for a waterproof garment - this jacket offers little long-term protection against a serious rainstorm. Our Top Pick for Alpine Climbing, the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody - Women's and our Editors' Choice winner, the Patagonia Houdini jacket, performed better in that regard. Ultimately, these jackets are mainly wind breakers and any additional water repellency is a plus. Also, the DWR coating needs to be re-treated periodically with the water repellent of your choice to keep the water droplets beading.
Of the seven windbreakers we tested, this one weighs in near the middle at 6.21 ounces (176 g). If you are traveling ultralight, you might want to consider the Patagonia Houdini, which weighs only 3.6 ounces. Realistically, the 2.5 ounce difference is the equivalent of two energy bars and is not much of a deterrent. Part of this "extra" weight comes from the reverse-coil front zipper with draft flap. This keeps the wind from sucking precious warmth from your core and is well worth the additional ounce or so that it may add.
The North Face Flyweight Hoodie - Women's simple design and female specific fit makes this a versatile layering piece overall. Zippered hand pockets are definitely a plus on a cool windy day but are sometimes uncomfortable under a pack's waist belt or climbing harness. The left hand pocket is roomy enough to accommodate the jacket itself with some additional room for energy bars and a smartphone. We also liked the hood, which fits over a climbing or bike helmet. This helps keep you extra warm when Mother Nature decides to make things more exciting.
We put this jacket through its paces climbing a notorious local wide crack. The silky ripstop fabric held up well, however, the single stitching at critical seams may prove to be a liability during rigorous use.
This piece is great for running, walking, hiking or biking. It's made of a soft silky fabric, so it also feels great with casual wear around town or camp.
For $80 you get a jacket that is made of good quality fabric. It feels great next to the skin and most importantly protects you from the wind. This model is a lot less expensive than the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody, our Top Pick for Alpine Climbing, but overall we preferred the less expensive TNF Cyclone Hoodie to this model.
The North Face Flyweight Hoodie - Women's is a basic but solid full-zip windbreaker with many colors available to fit your mood, outfit, or mission. It's made with a windproof polyester and finished with a DWR coating to shed those pesky drizzle droplets easily. It is perfect as part of a layering system without being confining. The sleeves are a good length for those of us with longer arms, but not so long that more petite women swim in it. We also appreciated the adjustable hood and reasonable price. When the wind starts howling, you'll be stoked to have this stashed in your pack. The weight is totally acceptable for mortals, and while not our favorite, this is a simple and reasonably priced windbreaker that you could live happily ever after with.
The North Face Cyclone Hoodie - Women's
— Jean Tucky
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: May 5, 2015
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