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Hands-on Gear Review

The North Face Flyweight Hoodie - Women's Review

Price:   $80 List | $79.95 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Wind resistant fabric, draft flap for zipper, adjustable hood, media compatible, stows in own pocket, hem cinch cord, breathable, DWR finish, fits long-armed ladies.
Cons:  Light moisture protection, side pockets interfere with backpack waist belt or climbing harness.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   The North Face

Our Verdict

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.

New Version Available — February 2017
It appears that the Flyweight Hoodie has been updated this year! Keep reading to find out more.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Wind Jacket for Women Review

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Score Product Price Weight (oz) Material Pockets
92
$99
Editors' Choice Award
3.6 100% Ripstop Nylon with a DWR finish 1 chest
86
$159
Top Pick Award
4.9 Gossamera - 100% Nylon 1 chest
78
$60
Best Buy Award
4.9 40D 48 g/m² WindWall®"100% Nylon with DWR 2 side
70
$80
6.2 50D 77 g/m² 100% Polyester 2 side
66
$100
8.8 100% Polyester Ripstop DWR and DriClime® 100% Polyester Lining 2 side, 1 chest and 1 internal
61
$49
7 50D 100% Polyester woven 2 side
54
$60
5.6 Polyester/Polyester Mesh Lining 2 side

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Jean Tucky

Last Updated:
Tuesday
February 7, 2017

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Updated Version — February 2017


While we're still waiting on confirmation from The North Face about all the changes made to this jacket, our research has given us our own findings. We found that the price point, fabric, and DWR finish have remained the same, though we noticed some cosmetic changes. To see the new look, check out the side-by-side comparison here, with the new version on the left and the one we tested on the right. Then, keep reading for a summary of updates!
The North Face Flyweight Hoodie - Women's
 

Here's a summary of updates:
  • Cut — We noticed a small change in the bottom hem of the jacket, giving the new version a more detailed, feminine look. The waist is still cinched, leading us to believe that this was mostly an aesthetic update.
  • Pockets — The pockets are still zippered, though they appear slightly larger in the new model.

Because we haven't tested this newest version yet, the rest of this review continues to reflect the original Flyweight Hoodie.

Hands-On Review


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.

Performance Comparison


Jean Tucky hikes into the evening light of Mosquito Flat  Rock Creek  CA.
Jean Tucky hikes into the evening light of Mosquito Flat, Rock Creek, CA.

Wind Resistance


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.

Lorna Illingworth appreciating the adjustable hood that fits over her climbing helmet on a blustery day atop Stately Pleasure Dome  Yosemite  CA.
Lorna Illingworth appreciating the adjustable hood that fits over her climbing helmet on a blustery day atop Stately Pleasure Dome, Yosemite, CA.

Breathability


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

Meredith Jabis hiking another High Sierra pass on a beautiful gusty spring day  Rock Creek  CA. This model was fairly breathable  and the pockets are nice for keeping your hands warm on windy days and work best with a day pack that does not have a waist belt.
Meredith Jabis hiking another High Sierra pass on a beautiful gusty spring day, Rock Creek, CA. This model was fairly breathable, and the pockets are nice for keeping your hands warm on windy days and work best with a day pack that does not have a waist belt.

Water Resistance


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.

The durable water repellent coating (DWR) makes water "bead up" and run off this jacket in a light drizzle. It was also quick-drying.
The durable water repellent coating (DWR) makes water "bead up" and run off this jacket in a light drizzle. It was also quick-drying.

Weight


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 sleeves of this wind breaker are long and well-suited for ladies with long arms.
The sleeves of this wind breaker are long and well-suited for ladies with long arms.

Versatility


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.

This jacket packs down into its own pocket and fits in the lid of a pack.
This jacket packs down into its own pocket and fits in the lid of a pack.

Durability


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.

Lorna Illingworth testing this model on Stately Pleasure Dome  Tuolumne Meadows  CA.This jacket worked well when rockclimbing and our arm movements didn't feel impeded. We didn't find any tears in the material even when climbing on sharp granite rocks.
Lorna Illingworth testing this model on Stately Pleasure Dome, Tuolumne Meadows, CA.This jacket worked well when rockclimbing and our arm movements didn't feel impeded. We didn't find any tears in the material even when climbing on sharp granite rocks.

Best Applications


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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

Lorna Illingworth testing this wind breaker on South Crack  Stately Pleasure Dome  Tuolumne Meadows  CA.
Lorna Illingworth testing this wind breaker on South Crack, Stately Pleasure Dome, Tuolumne Meadows, CA.

Other Versions


The North Face Cyclone Hoodie - Women's
  • Women's windbreaker by TNF
  • Earns our Best Buy award
  • Simple design but gets the job done
  • $60
Jean Tucky

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: February 7, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
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