The North Face ThermoBall ECO Snow Triclimate Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Strong value, highly versatile, warm, loaded with ski-friendly features
Cons: Heavy, poor ventilation in combined figuration
Manufacturer: The North Face
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The North Face ThermoBall ECO Snow Triclimate
|Price||Check Price at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
|Check Price at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
|Check Price at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Pros||Strong value, highly versatile, warm, loaded with ski-friendly features||Weather resistant, good vents, plenty of features||Versatile, inexpensive, warm||Inexpensive, moderately weather resistant||Affordable, weather resistant, good set of features|
|Cons||Heavy, poor ventilation in combined figuration||Hanging liner makes it a bit warm for a shell, fit isn't perfect||Bulky, basic fit and styling, limited weather protection||Not warm enough for many winter days, bland style||Not stylish, no ventilation, boxy fit|
|Bottom Line||This versatile and reasonably priced jacket helps you customize your layers, whether you prioritize warmth, weather resistance, or both||A high-performance shell at a great price||A versatile and very affordable jacket for the occasional skier or snowboarder||An average-performance ski jacket with decent features at an affordable price||A good entry-level ski jacket for an affordable price|
|Rating Categories||The North Face Ther...||REI Co-op First Cha...||Columbia Whirlibird...||REI Co-op Powderbou...||Columbia Last Tracks|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Comfort And Fit (20%)|
|Specs||The North Face Ther...||REI Co-op First Cha...||Columbia Whirlibird...||REI Co-op Powderbou...||Columbia Last Tracks|
|Main Fabric||100% nylon||2-layer Gore-Tex||Nylon||Nylon||100% nylon|
|Insulation||100% Post-Consumer Recycled Polyester||Recycled polyester lining||80g MicroTemp synthetic||60g polyester sleeves, 80g polyester body||Omni-heat thermal reflective|
|Pockets||Shell: 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest,1 internal media, 1 internal goggle, 1 internal zippered sleeve. Liner: 2 hand||2 handwarmer, 2 chest, 1 internal chest, 1 sleeve||Shell: 3 external, 1 internal. Liner: 2 external, 1 internal||2 zippered hand, 1 sleeve, 1 internal zippered chest, 1 internal mesh||Zippered hand, chest, and ski pass|
|Weight (pounds)||2.86 lbs||1.76 lbs||2.94 lbs||1.96 lbs||2.14 lbs|
|Water Resistance||DryVent 2L||Gore-Tex||OmniTech||2-layer waterproof breathable laminate||Multi-layered waterproof construction|
|Hood||Adjustable||Adjustable||Adjustable||Adjustable||Adjustable and Removable|
|Pit-Zips||Yes (shell only)||Yes||Mesh-backed (shell only)||Yes||None|
|Cuff construction||Velcro||Velcro||Velcro||Interior wide hook-and-loop adjustments and external velcro||Velcro|
|Powder skirt?||Yes||Yes, removable||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Thermoball ECO Snow Triclimate stands out for providing warmth, weather resistance, and features on par with other single-piece ski jackets, but does so with the added versatility and value of a 3-in-1 modular construction.
This jacket provides plenty of warmth and is suitable for use on the coldest days of the winter. This is achieved through the use of synthetic insulation in the sweater component and a hanging mesh liner in the shell. Overall, these two pieces trap plenty of air between layers of fabric, creating a very warm system.
When worn alone, the shell jacket is warmer than the shell-only jackets on the market due to the hanging mesh liner. The synthetic puffy sweater is warm enough for chilly fall and spring days. Together, the combined jacket is right up there for warmth compared to other single-piece insulated ski jackets. It can be used in the coldest winter ski climates.
The Thermoball ECO Snow Triclimate proved to be a very weather-resistant jacket in our testing. The North Face's proprietary DryVent fabric is completely waterproof, and the seams are sealed. Such a waterproof construction is to be expected from a company that has been making mountain outerwear for so long. We also like the DWR used in this product. After an extended soaking in the shower, water still beaded up on the fabric. Considering the jacket's price, this is impressive.
The construction of the jacket also helps fend off the weather. The attached hood is large and easily fits a helmet. The adjustment cords are easy to work with gloved hands. The sleeves and hem are long enough to keep all body parts covered. The sleeve openings feature velcro tab closures, and the hem of the jacket can be cinched tight by an elastic cord. There is also an attached powder skirt, but before you can use it, you need to separate the shell from the liner. This is a drawback that all of the 3-in-1 jackets share. Another bummer is that the pockets do not have waterproof zippers, which allows water to enter if worn on stormy days with temperatures above freezing.
Comfort and Fit
The ECO Snow Triclimate has a neutral fit, meaning loose but not too baggy. The hem is a bit long, both contributing to the jacket's style and weather resistance. The torso is also roomy, almost a little boxy when compared to the more contoured or tailored fit of some of the high-end ski jackets on the market.
Overall, the ECO Snow Triclimate is a comfortable jacket. The inner fabric of the synthetic puffy sweater is comfortable against the ski, and a large fleece chin guard protects against abrasion from the zipper or shell fabric. We also appreciate the fleece-lined handwarmer pockets. After a lot of use, we noticed that the multiple layers in the 3-in-1 system rub against each other and create friction that slightly inhibits motion. Again, this is a problem shared by other 3-in-1 jackets.
As with other modular, two-piece jackets, the ECO Snow Triclimate suffers from poor ventilation. The armpit vents only extend through the shell of the jacket, not the insulated liner. However, if you were to purchase a shell jacket and a synthetic liner separately, you would end up with the same problem. Our testers noted that the synthetically-insulated mid-layer component is not that breathable.
The armpit vents in the ECO Snow Triclimate are long and unencumbered by mesh. This allows for lots of airflow through the vents. The outer shell fabric is somewhat breathable, but nothing special. As a result, this jacket isn't our first choice for warm-weather skiing, or for highly aerobic activities like skiing moguls or hiking to find fresh powder.
As far as looks, the Thermoball ECO Snow Triclimate is modest and agreeable. The cut is loose but not baggy, and the length is just right. The jacket comes in a variety of colors, which range from blocky and generic to stylish and sleek. We liked the style of the grey and black option that we tested.
Our testers and style confidants thought the design of the jacket is unremarkable and will fit right in with a crowd. If you want to turn heads and make a fashion statement, look elsewhere. The majority of skiers will look good and feel good in this jacket.
The ECO Snow Triclimate has all the features you need to enjoy a day on the slopes. Two handwarmer pockets with a comfortable fleece lining and an external chest pocket give you plenty of room to stash your trail map, wallet, car keys, or lip balm. We like the inclusion of a powder skirt, but we wish it was removable because we don't use it that often. It features a ski pass pocket on the sleeve, and a goggle wipe on a lanyard from the pass pocket. The hood is highly adjustable but uninsulated.
The shell features an internal mesh pocket that can't be accessed if the liner jacket is in place. The liner jacket, if worn alone, features two handwarmer pockets that can't be closed. Overall, the features of this jacket are well-designed and easy to use, and the zippers are easy to pull. The only features we really miss on this jacket are a RECCO reflector and a media pocket on the inside of the chest.
3-in-1 jackets are an inherently good value because you are buying both a shell and an insulated layer, and three ways to wear them, for a total price of less than many other single-piece jackets. The North Face has a lifetime warranty, too, which is always nice. Overall, our favorite 3-in-1 jacket also represents excellent value.
With great weather resistance, warmth, and features, The North Face Thermoball ECO Snow Triclimate is our first choice among jackets of its versatile design. The style, comfort, and ventilation of this jacket are about average, but in our view, those who are interested in this jacket will prioritize its winter utility over all else. The versatility of the 3-in-1 jacket class is unparalleled, and this is the best in that group of products.
— Jeff Dobronyi
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