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Hands-on Gear Review
The North Face Trevail Hoodie Review
Cons: Leaks feathers more than other jackets, basic features
Bottom line: A good jacket at a good price, but lacking the features or high performance of its competitors.
The North Face Trevail Hoodie is a good-looking down jacket that serves well as either a mid-layer, or an outer layer if the temperatures are mild. Its 700 fill-power down means that it has sufficient loft to provide the warmth a person needs, but is also not prohibitively expensive. The North Face is also one of the few companies that is making sure to source only responsibly harvested down, and the feathers found in this jacket are certified to the Responsible Down Standard by an independent company. While we really don't have many complaints about this jacket, we find that it scores about average in all of the metrics, making it average to slightly below when the final score is all tallied up.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Trevail Hoodie was about average when compared to its competitors in our review. There is very little to complain about when rating or discussing this jacket, but similarly not very much that sticks out as noteworthy or rave-worthy. It was not the warmest, but plenty warm. It is of about average weight and compressibility, and the DWR treatment on its face fabric held up to the water tests that we put it through. It looks good, but doesn't quite have the hip chic look that inspired our top scores for style. It has some decent features, but lacks others that would increase its technical capabilities. You are probably starting to sense a trend.
One thing that we really liked about this jacket is that The North Face has had the down used within it independently certified by Control Union to the Responsible Down Standard. Only a few of the jackets we reviewed made an effort to only use down that comes from animals that are not live-plucked or force fed, and are a by-product of the food industry. We laud and appreciate this effort, and can't think of any reason why all down should not be certified to this standard. That said, we found some complaints on the internet about this jacket leaking feathers, and although we didn't have any sort of pillow-fight-like down explosions, we will concede that this jacket seemed to be leaking at rates higher than all the others that we tested.
The Trevail Hoodie was very reminiscent of the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded in how it kept a person warm. For such thin jackets, the amount of heat trapped inside is truly impressive. While the 700 fill-power down does not loft as much as the 800 fill-power found in the Ghost Whisperer, this jacket is a little bit thicker and heavier to make up for it. Within three minutes of putting this jacket on in the cold high altitude wind we felt like we had warmed up noticeably, and we really liked this jacket's very low cut at the waist that sank all the way down below our butt, trapping that much more heat and more importantly preventing cold drafts from rising up from below. Like the Ghost Whisperer, this jacket used only elastic around the facial opening on the hood, and we found it to be not quite tight enough to keep out chilly winds. Overall this jacket was slightly above average for warmth, and received seven out of 10 points.
Our size men's large Trevail Hoodie weighed just under a pound at 15.2 ounces. This amount was very close to the same as the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody, a very similar jacket. By using 700 fill-power down instead of something higher, this jacket is guaranteed to be a bit heavier than its lightest competitors. To offset this, the Trevail Hoodie has cut some features that add weight. The net effect is that this jacket is right in the middle of the spectrum for weight, neither super light nor overly heavy, and we awarded it six out of 10 points.
Water Resistance was the Trevail Hoodie's weakest attribute. While it comes with a Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating applied to the outside of the shell fabric, and effectively beads up and sheds off some percentage of the liquid that falls onto it, we also found that the very smooth and soft recycled polyester face fabric easily absorbs water as well. After our controlled test where we left all the jackets outside during a rainstorm and then shook them off, this one had obviously absorbed water into the face fabric, as it was wet to the touch, and performed similarly to the Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody. Five out of 10 points.
For a large puffy jacket, this one stuffs down pretty small, but the net effect was that it was about average. While it is nice to be able to stuff a jacket into its own pocket, in the case of the Trevail Hoodie we found this feature compromised a bit by the fact that it was such a pain in the butt to stuff. Not having a pull tab on the inside zipper that seals up its little stuffed package meant that it would be very hard to close with gloves or mittens on, and we found that the design was such that we repeatedly ended up zipping up its own fabric. Compared to the Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Hoody, the pocket stuff sack seemed like a total afterthought, and is something we would ask The North Face to redesign. Six out of 10 points.
We liked the two-tone design of the Trevail Hoodie where the sleeves are a darker shade than the body of the jacket. We also really liked the low cut of the waist where the hem line was well below the hips. The sizing of the jacket was such that it could be worn as a mid-layer, relatively sleek and not too bulky. At the same time there is plenty of room inside so that it could just as easily be thrown on top when you stop moving and need to ward off the chill. We thought it looked a little bit more modern than the Arc'teryx Thorium SV, and more hip than the REI Co-op Down Hoodie. Seven out of 10 points for style.
The Trevail Hoodie does not have a lot of the features that other jackets in this review do. Compared to the Marmot Guide Down Hoody, it seems very simple. We liked how the hem draw cords are recessed into the hand pockets so as to not leave cords dangling. The wrist closures are elastic that is recessed and hidden up the sleeve so it is not visible, but isn't very tight or good at keeping out drafts. The elastic around the hood is not as tight as we would want for a hood that has no way to tighten it. In general, we felt like a few more add-ons could have made this a more desirable jacket. Six out of 10 points.
The Trevail Hoodie has the versatility to be used as either a mid-layer or outer-layer, although it lacks the extreme lightness and compressibility we would want for a technical alpine climbing mid-layer, and also lacks the warmth and features we would want for a winter belay coat. It sits on the "okay at both, great at neither," fence, and as such its best use may be as a general around town, everyday kind of warmth layer.
This jacket retails for $249, which is on the more affordable end of the spectrum for down jackets. We are happy it doesn't cost any more, because otherwise it wouldn't be worth it. For this price, we have to point out that there are higher performing options according to our test results, such as the Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody or the Marmot Guides Down Hoody. As such we think it presents only a reasonable value.
The Trevail Hoodie's best attributes are that it is warm enough, and that it looks pretty good. It is a relatively affordable jacket that seems to be best used as an around town winter jacket. While it has the versatility to be used for many things, it doesn't have the quality of down fill, water resistance, or features to excel as a technical layer for alpine climbing or backcountry skiing missions. While we like this jacket, find it to be comfortable and enjoyable to wear, we have a hard time recommending it when compared directly to the higher scoring products in this review.
Other Versions and Accessories
Trevail Jacket Version
— Andy Wellman
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