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The North Face ThermoBall ECO Snow Triclimate Review

This versatile and reasonably priced jacket helps you customize your layers, whether you prioritize warmth, weather resistance, or both
The North Face ThermoBall ECO Snow Triclimate
Photo: The North Face
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $360 List | Check Price at REI
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
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 30, 2021
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 17
  • Warmth - 20% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 7
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 7
  • Ventilation - 15% 6
  • Style - 15% 7
  • Features - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The North Face Thermoball ECO Snow Triclimate continues to be our favorite 3-in-1 jacket through multiple iterations, providing excellent versatility at an approachable price. It combines an insulated mid-layer and a waterproof, breathable hardshell jacket that can be taken apart and worn separately as an insulated sweater or a stand-alone hard shell. Worn together, the jacket is very warm, and the shell component succeeds in keeping out the worst winter weather. The style is pretty good, especially for the price, and the jacket is loaded with ski-specific features that make life on the hill more convenient. If you are looking for a great mid-layer and ski jacket system at a reasonable price, this jacket is for you.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award   
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$300 List
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$199 List
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Pros Strong value, highly versatile, warm, loaded with ski-friendly featuresWeather resistant, good vents, plenty of featuresVersatile, inexpensive, warmInexpensive, moderately weather resistantAffordable, weather resistant, good set of features
Cons Heavy, poor ventilation in combined figurationHanging liner makes it a bit warm for a shell, fit isn't perfectBulky, basic fit and styling, limited weather protectionNot warm enough for many winter days, bland styleNot 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 bothA high-performance shell at a great priceA versatile and very affordable jacket for the occasional skier or snowboarderAn average-performance ski jacket with decent features at an affordable priceA 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
Warmth (20%)
8.0
4.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
Weather Resistance (20%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Comfort And Fit (20%)
7.0
7.0
4.0
5.0
5.0
Ventilation (15%)
6.0
7.0
4.0
5.0
2.0
Style (15%)
7.0
7.0
3.0
5.0
4.0
Features (10%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
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
RECCO? No No No No No

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.

Performance Comparison


The Thermoball in action in the early-season bitter cold of the...
The Thermoball in action in the early-season bitter cold of the Colorado Rockies.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

Warmth


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 North Face Thermoball ECO Snow Triclimate provides warmth with a...
The North Face Thermoball ECO Snow Triclimate provides warmth with a synthetic mid-layer, a mesh-lined hardshell jacket, and plenty of air in between.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

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 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.

The Thermoball's hood provides full coverage over a helmet, keeping...
The Thermoball's hood provides full coverage over a helmet, keeping cold, windy days at bay.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

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.

The cut of The North Face Thermoball is straight and a bit boxy, but...
The cut of The North Face Thermoball is straight and a bit boxy, but not as generic as other products on the market. It fits relatively well and is comfortable for full days on the slopes.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

Ventilation


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.

The Thermoball's shell features long, open zippered armpit vents...
The Thermoball's shell features long, open zippered armpit vents, which provide decent ventilation.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

Style


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 affordable Thermoball has a good style that fits right in for...
The affordable Thermoball has a good style that fits right in for both skiers and snowboarders, and looks sharp in any winter environment.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

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 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.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

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, too, which is always nice. Overall, our favorite 3-in-1 jacket also represents excellent value.

Conclusion


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.

Ripping the bumps in The North Face Thermoball ECO Snow Triclimate.
Ripping the bumps in The North Face Thermoball ECO Snow Triclimate.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

Jeff Dobronyi

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