The North Face Summit Down Review
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The North Face Summit Down
|Price||$350 List||$175.00 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$359 List||$209 List||$46 List|
$35.80 at Amazon
|Pros||Warm, hydrophobic down, comfortable, large pockets||Light, great compressibility, strong warmth to weight ratio compact||Lightweight, stylish, high warmth to weight ratio||Inexpensive, lightweight,||Fit allows for layering underneath, soft inner liner, inexpensive|
|Cons||Expensive, non-adjustable waist hem, poor compressibility||Limited features, little adjustability||Expensive, not super durable||Sweater weight warmth, moderate adjustability||Thinner outer shell, less durable, not as warm as premium brands, not that compressible|
|Bottom Line||This is a top-tier jacket with practical features and incredibly refined details||A mountaineering jacket with high quality down and lightweight, this piece stands out for its functional simplicity||If you are looking for a warm, light layer for a trip where ounces count, this is a great selection||This 800-fill jacket offers quality down at a reasonable price and little weight||A down jacket alternative that uses synthetic insulation that won't break the bank|
|Rating Categories||The North Face Summ...||Mountain Hardwear G...||Arc'teryx Cerium SL...||MontBell Superior Down||Amazon Essentials L...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||The North Face Summ...||Mountain Hardwear G...||Arc'teryx Cerium SL...||MontBell Superior Down||Amazon Essentials L...|
|Down Fill||800-fill goose down||800-fill goose down||850-fill goose down||800-fill goose down||100% polyester|
|Total Weight||14.1 oz||8.5 oz||7.6 oz||8.7 oz||11 oz|
|Baffle Construction||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles||Sewn-through baffles|
|Main Fabric||100% ripstop nylon||10D ripstop nylon||100% nylon||10D nylon||Nylon|
|Compression Method||Zips into pocket||Zips into pocket||Stuff sack||Stuff sack||Stuff sack|
|Pockets||2 hand, 2 internal, 1 chest||2 zippered hand||2 zippered hand||2 zippered hands, 1 internal||2 zippered hand|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face built this midweight down to perform. Constructed with 800-fill hydrophobic down, the Summit has an incredible weight-to-warmth ratio and is one of the more water-resistant options we tested. Equipped with useful features and tailored to have an athletic fit, the long cut of the torso makes it an excellent around town. Whether you're looking for an insulating layer for skiing or cold weather backpacking, this down will be more than capable for any adventure you have planned.
The 800-fill down used in this jacket makes it the warmest midweight down we tested in our review. If you're using it for touring, hiking, or any high-output activity, this jacket will easily keep you warm in below-freezing temperatures. If you're standing around in single-digit temperatures, you'll likely need a layer or two underneath.
While it's not the absolute warmest coat we reviewed, pound for pound, we found it has one of the best weight-to-warmth ratios in our testing lineup, making it one of our first choices for cold-weather adventures.
The size medium we tested weighed in at 14.1 ounces. Given its incredible warmth and heavily featured design, we found this to be quite light compared to jackets offering similar levels of warmth and feature sets. Weighing in at just under a pound, this jacket is great for truly cold weather activities but will probably be on the heavy side for summer backpacking and unnecessarily large for the average day at the crag. This is not the jacket you'll want for your fastpacking trip through the mountains or for any mission where eliminating every unneeded ounce is more important than the extra warmth it provides.
Down is notorious for not standing up well to moisture. Untreated down is naturally hydrophobic to an extent, but when subjected to precipitation, it soaks up water, losing both its loft and its insulating abilities. This nylon outer shell is treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating that acts as the first line of defense against moisture, which would turn your down jacket into a soggy mess. In addition to the DWR coating, the down used in this jacket has also been chemically treated to be more hydrophobic. While this doesn't make you impervious to water, it will fair better than your average down jacket if you're caught in the rain.
The extra water resistance makes this coat a good choice for skiing, where you will undoubtedly be exposed to a bit of moisture from snow and ice.
For a medium-weight jacket that straddles the line of heavyweight, the fit is surprisingly athletic, making it comfortable for casual or hard-working wear. The torso tapers to a more narrow waist but gives you plenty of room in the shoulders. The jacket is by no means slim fit and provides ample room to layer underneath. The arms are on the long side, but the elastic cuffs keep them from drooping down past your hands if you don't need the extra length.
Despite the fairly athletic fit, it is still a bulky jacket. The bulkier fit makes layering a rain shell over the top somewhat cumbersome. This piece, like most down jackets, thrives in cold, dry weather, and that's when it will feel the most comfortable.
Our size medium compressed down to about the size of a football. While it compresses well for its size and easily stows into a backpack. It does stuff into one of its zippered hand pockets, eliminating the need for a separate stuff sack.
This jacket has all the classic features most folks are looking for. It has an oversized helmet-compatible hood, extremely large zippered hand pockets, a zippered outer breast pocket, and two internal drop pockets.
The wrist cuffs are elastic and lined with an incredibly soft and stretchy material that made this one of the most comfortable jackets we tested. The zippered hand pockets extend well up your torso, making them accessible even while you are in a harness. The only feature this jacket doesn't have is an adjustable waist hem. Our testers find that being able to cinch your waist tight is incredibly helpful for keeping drafts out and warm air in.
This coat relies on its tapered waist to achieve the same thing. While it does a fairly good job at keeping warm air from escaping, an adjustable waist would be a welcome addition.
Should You Buy The North Face Summit Down?
The North Face Summit Down is one of the most comfortable midweight downs we reviewed and boasts one of the best weight-to-warmth ratios. With an athletic fit that also accommodates layering underneath, it makes a great insulating layer for cold weather ventures into the mountains. The quality and features you get with this jacket come at a price. The Summit is built with the high-end mountain athlete in mind and is priced accordingly. It's incredibly warm for its relatively low weight and is exceptionally comfortable.
What Other Down Jackets Should You Consider?
While this is an incredibly high-performing jacket, we do have other options in our fleet that are worth considering. The Feathered Friends Eos is another model that we love for its exceptional warmth, as is the Rab Electron Pro and Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2.
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