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The North Face ThermoBall ECO Snow Triclimate Review

Our Top Pick for a 3-in-1 ski jacket is warm, weather resistant, and versatile.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $349 List | $348.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Good value, highly versatile, warm
Cons:  Heavy, poor ventilation, slightly restrictive
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 3, 2019
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 13
  • Warmth - 20% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 7
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 7
  • Ventilation - 15% 6
  • Style - 15% 6
  • Features - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The North Face Thermoball ECO Snow Triclimate earns our Top Pick for 3-in-1 ski jackets. This versatile jacket is made specifically for skiing and snowboarding, with a modern look, plenty of color options, and decent ski features. It performs well in the most important ways, keeping users warm, dry, and comfortable on the hill. The DryVent fabric proved to be very weather resistant, and the hood provides great coverage. It lacks some high-end touches that other competitors have, but for the price, it's a great value. The 3-in-1 modular construction of the jacket means that in addition to a well-performing ski parka, you also get the option to use just the outer shell layer or just the inner insulated sweater. That versatility is shared with other 3-in-1 jackets, but the features, style, and comfort of this jacket helped persuade us to pick this jacket as a winner. If you are looking for a do-it-all ski jacket system that is ready to hit the slopes any day of the season without much thought, then this jacket is for you.


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Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award   Editors' Choice Award 
Price $348.95 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Good value, highly versatile, warmExcellent performance in every category, durableImpeccable quality, clean lines, very warm, excellent weather protectionVery warm, great weather resistance, high quality constructionCompletely weather resistant, good ventilation, freeride style
Cons Heavy, poor ventilation, slightly restrictiveMore snug fit than other optionsSuper expensive, too warm for some applicationsBoxy fit, unremarkable style, expensiveExpensive, too heavy and warm for most backcountry use
Bottom Line Our Top Pick for a 3-in-1 ski jacket is warm, weather resistant, and versatile.This excellent all-around ski jacket wins our Editors’ Choice Award.Arc'teryx’s top of the line ski jacket keeps you warm, dry, and comfortable, for a small fortune.High quality warmth and weather resistance, at a price.A durable, weatherproof jacket that wins out Editors’ Choice Award for shells.
Rating Categories ThermoBall ECO Snow Triclimate Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft Arc'teryx Macai Patagonia Primo Puff Arc'teryx Sabre AR Jacket
Warmth (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
4
Weather Resistance (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
10
Comfort And Fit (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Ventilation (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
8
Style (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
Features (10%)
10
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7
10
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10
10
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6
10
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9
10
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5
Specs ThermoBall ECO... Helly Hansen Alpha... Arc'teryx Macai Patagonia Primo Puff Arc'teryx Sabre AR...
Main Fabric DryVent 2L 2-layer stretch polyester N40p-X GORE-TEX 2-layer, 4-oz 75-denier 100% recycled polyester N80p-X GORE-TEX
Insulation ThermoBall Eco, 80g PrimaLoft Silver synthetic LifaLoft synthetic Coreloft 100, Coreloft Compact, and 750 fill goose down PlumaFill synthetic Light flannel backer
Pockets Shell: 2 zippered hand, 2 zippered chest, 1 goggle, 1 zippered sleeve. Liner: 2 external handwarmer 2 handwarmer, 2 chest, 1 internal chest, 1 internal mesh, 1 sleeve 2 handwarmer, 1 sleeve, 1 chest, 1 internal mesh, 1 internal chest 2 hand, 1 chest, 2 interior 2 hand, 1 sleeve, 1 internal
Weight (pounds) 2.82 lbs 2.56 lbs 2.64 lbs 2.54 lbs 1.66 lbs
Waterproofing DryVent Helly Tech Professional 3L Gore-Tex Pro Shell Gore-Tex Gore-Tex
Hood Option? Adjustable Adjustable and removable Adjustabe and Removable Adjustable Adjustable
Pit-Zips? Open (shell only) Mesh-backed Mesh-backed Open Open
Cuff construction Velcro Interior stretchy wrist gaiters and external velcro cuffs Velcro Velcro Velcro
Ski Features Removable synthetically-insulated liner sweater, pass pocket, goggle wipe Powder skirt, fixed goggle wipe, high visibility brim, pass pocket Removable powder skirt, attached/removable goggle wipe, pass pocket Pass pocket, powder skirt attaches to Patagonia pants Fixed powder skirt buttons to matching pants, pass pocket
RECCO? No Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The 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 of a 3-in-1 modular construction.

Performance Comparison


We like the warmth  weather protection  and versatility of the Snow Triclimate  which wins out Top Pick for 3-in-1 ski jackets.
We like the warmth, weather protection, and versatility of the Snow Triclimate, which wins out Top Pick for 3-in-1 ski jackets.

Warmth


This jacket provides plenty of warmth, on par with other warms models in our comparison. 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 ski jackets.

A closer look at the shell and insulated sweater components of the Snow Triclimate 3-in-1.
A closer look at the shell and insulated sweater components of the Snow Triclimate 3-in-1.

Weather Resistance


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 hood provides great coverage.
The hood provides great coverage.

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.

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 also it's 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. 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.

The Snow Triclimate is slightly bulky  which felt less comfortable while using a wide range of motion.
The Snow Triclimate is slightly bulky, which felt less comfortable while using a wide range of motion.

Ventilation


As with other modular, two-piece jackets, the ECO Snow Triclimate suffers from a slight ventilation problem. 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.


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.

Long pit vents without mesh liners are good  but we wish the inner synthetic sweater also had vents.
Long pit vents without mesh liners are good, but we wish the inner synthetic sweater also had vents.

Style


As far as looks, the Thermoball ECO Snow Triclimate is pretty modest and agreeable. The cut is loose but not baggy, and the length is just right. The jacket comes in a variety of colors, none of which are all that notable, no neon, just the traditional selection of earthy hues with bright red thrown in for good measure.


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 inner jacket features a torso in the same color as the shell jacket, with black sleeves. We don't think the liner jacket looks all that good.

The Snow Triclimate looks like your everyday ski jacket.
The Snow Triclimate looks like your everyday ski jacket.

Features


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 two external chest pockets give you plenty of room to stash your trail map, snacks, wallet, car keys, lip balm, and have room to spare. We like the inclusion of a powder skirt, ski pass pocket on the sleeve, and a goggle wipe on a lanyard. 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 close with buttons, which is not the best system. The only features we really miss on this jacket are a RECCO reflector and a media pocket with a headphone port.

Lots of pockets on the front of the Snow Triclimate.
Lots of pockets on the front of the Snow Triclimate.

Value


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, which is always nice. The fabrics used in this jacket seem about average in strength, and after heavy testing, we tore through some fabric that got caught in the front zipper. That was more our fault than the jacket's, but other competitors didn't have issues with durability or construction. Overall, this jacket is a good value.

Conclusion


With great weather resistance, warmth, and features, The North Face Thermoball ECO Snow Triclimate is our Top Pick 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.

This jacket stood up well to our hands-on testing  earning our Top Pick for 3-in-1 ski jackets.
This jacket stood up well to our hands-on testing, earning our Top Pick for 3-in-1 ski jackets.


Jeff Dobronyi