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Hands-on Gear Review

The North Face Khumbu 2 Jacket Review

The North Face Khumbu 2 Jacket
Price:   $89 List | $48.99 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Warm, basic fleece layer.
Cons:  Bulky, not breathable.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   The North Face

Our Verdict

The North Face Khumbu 2 Jacket is their classic and most basic fleece. It is much lighter than the The North Face Denali Jacket and feels almost as warm. It is also quite comfortable for leisurely activities such as doing things around town, walking the dogs, and sitting next to the fire on cool autumn days. However, our testers did not find that this fleece worked well doing more aerobic or technical activities. With an inexpensive price tag, this fleece is best used as a second "beater" fleece around camp or town so that your more expensive technical fleeces live longer.


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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Kenny Barker
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday
November 15, 2016

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The North Face Khumbu 2 Jacket is the most basic fleece we tested this year. It is made with 100% classic polyester fleece with a 27 inch center back measurement. It sports a square relaxed fit, two zippered hand warmer pockets, and a hem cinch cord. The zipper is also compatible with select outer layers by The North Face. It weighs 18.3 ounces and comes in Asphalt Grey, Climbing Ivy Green, TNF Black, Shady Blue, Coffee Bean Brown, and Cardinal Red (shown above in main photo).

Performance Comparison


Wearing this jacket while doing some holiday shopping during a frigid night kept this tester warm and cozy. This basic fleece is best used around town or camp  rather than for active sports.
Wearing this jacket while doing some holiday shopping during a frigid night kept this tester warm and cozy. This basic fleece is best used around town or camp, rather than for active sports.

Warmth


This fleece is quite warm and works well during those crisp spring, fall, and winter days when a long sleeve shirt just isn't enough. We wore this fleece is multiple environments and found it was best suited for cooler times of year. If you're looking for something cheap and warm to wear around the house or town, this fleece may be just what you are looking for.

Soft  comfortable hand warmer pockets helped keep us warmer on cold days  and they also feature a zipper for securing your valuables.
Soft, comfortable hand warmer pockets helped keep us warmer on cold days, and they also feature a zipper for securing your valuables.

Comfort


The North Face Khumbu 2 Jacket was a really comfortable fleece to wear around town and at home during those chilly times of year. When we took it out climbing, our backpack straps annoyingly pressed down on the shoulders where the seam is placed. Its wide, relaxed fit also becomes bunchy and rode up a bit while wearing a backpack.

This jacket was better suited to short hikes in the snow where we didn't need a pack and did not work up much of a sweat.
This jacket was better suited to short hikes in the snow where we didn't need a pack and did not work up much of a sweat.

Breathability


The thick 300-weight classic fleece design of the Khumbu 2 is not very breathable. You can control the air flow through the jacket by moving the zipper up and down, and the cuffs are loose fitting which also allows for air flow. Overall, though, this is not the layer to wear while hiking or climbing. If you need a layer that keeps you warm and vents your perspiration, check out our Top Pick for Breathability, the Patagonia R1 Hoody.

The elastic draw strings one the bottom hem let you cinch the jacket down for added warmth  or open it up for more breathability.
The elastic draw strings one the bottom hem let you cinch the jacket down for added warmth, or open it up for more breathability.

Layering Ability


TNF has created a system that allows different layers to zip into one another. This fleece fits right into that system. There are even snaps on the sleeves that work on a variety of TNF shells to avoid bunching in the sleeves. This jacket has a fairly boxy cut though, and it didn't always fit well under the different puffy and shell layers we tried it with.

Ease of Movement


The relaxed fit of this fleece allows for easy, casual movement when doing low energy activities. When our testers put on a backpack, the fleece bunched up a bit and the sleeves would also pull up the arms some. Bending down to touch our caused the jacket to ride up and reveal our lower back, or even more.

When we raised our arms up the hem of this jack rode up sending unwanted cold air to our core.
When we raised our arms up the hem of this jack rode up sending unwanted cold air to our core.

Wind Protection & Water Resistance


This jacket doesn't repel water well, but since it is a thicker fleece it takes a fairly heavy rain to penetrate through it. It does not keep the wind at bay nearly as well as the Denali jacket, but it does a pretty good job compared to the thinner more breathable fleeces that we tested; however, the loose hem and cuffs allow a strong wind to flow on through.

This material does well in a light mist/rain but once it becomes saturated it takes a long time to dry and becomes extremely heavy.
This material does well in a light mist/rain but once it becomes saturated it takes a long time to dry and becomes extremely heavy.

Weight


This mid-weight fleece weighs 18.3 ounces. This is about the same as our Editors' Choice winning Patagonia R3 Hoody, but The North Face Khumbu 2 Jacket just doesn't have the same amount of features and technical abilities as the R3.

Out for a stroll in the alpine a day after a snow storm. This fleece was warm  but also allowed a lot of cool air to enter due to it's loose cuffs and collar.
Out for a stroll in the alpine a day after a snow storm. This fleece was warm, but also allowed a lot of cool air to enter due to it's loose cuffs and collar.

Best Applications


Walking the dogs and chilling by the backyard fire were our favorite uses for this jacket. It seemed to work well doing most low energy activities. Think in terms of going to a sporting event, dinner on the patio, or just heading to the grocery store.

Value


At only $89, this is the least expensive fleece we tested this year. While the price is right, for a few dollars more you can purchase our Best Buy award winner, the Marmot Reactor, which scored much higher in our tests than this one.

Conclusion


If you are looking for an inexpensive fleece for casual use then you may want to check out The North Face Khumbu 2 Jacket. It is great for doing things around town or just relaxing at home by the fire. You may even want it for a second beater fleece. That way your more technical fleeces are saved for what they were made to do. The relaxed cut fits an array of body types, but basic is the name of the game for this jacket so keep that in mind when considering this fleece.

Other Versions


Khumbu Jacket - Women's
  • Women's Version
  • Cost - $89
  • Weight - 16 oz
Kenny Barker

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 15, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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