Aconcagua II Vs. Aconcagua
The North Face has dropped the Aconcagua II into the world. This jacket has a different baffle pattern, as well as some new color options. See the new model below, left, followed by the version we previously tested, right.
We are currently testing the updated model, but in the meantime, the following text refers to the classic Aconcagua jacket.
Hands-On Review of the Aconcagua
The North Face Aconcagua is a heavy, but decently warm jacket. The name is deceiving, as it is not a jacket you would want to lug with you on a cold, high altitude climb.
Stylish patterns on the Aconcagua.
The Aconcagua scored well in the warmth metric for its use of heavy 50D nylon and a thick layer of 550 fill down. This is not the warmest down for the weight; in fact, it is the lowest quality compared to the rest of the models in this review—but it is so dense and impermeable to wind that it retains a fair amount of body heat. This was a very warm jacket; for another great, warm down jacket that excels in many categories, check out the Arc'teryx Cerium.
The Aconcagua is made of durable fabric (it earned the highest score in our test), but lower quality 550 fill down.
This model is one of the heaviest in this review at 13 ounces. It is not a down jacket you would want to carry with you in your climbing or backpacking pack, but it will fare well in urban or casual settings. Weight was a weaker category for the Aconcagua. If you really want to go lightweight, we loved the Ghost Whisperer.
The Aconcagua does not compress well due to the use of lower quality 550 fill down and super thick 50D fabric. It does not stuff into any of the pockets (it's way too big for that), so you can't easily carry it with you clipped to a harness. If you're not planning to take it backpacking or climbing, compressibility may not be a deciding factor for you. The Aconcagua is a bulky jacket, not designed for backcountry use. If you want something super compressible, check out the Ghost Whisperer or the REI Magma.
The Aconcagua is a very basic down jacket. It has no hood, no adjustable drawcord at the bottom hem, and no chest pocket. The hand pockets, however, are fleece lined, which we loved. And the creative baffling design, with smaller, crisscrossing baffles around the middle, make this model move more easily than it would given how thick and dense it is. This does, however, detract from the insulating properties around your core, which is less ideal. The Aconcagua was not full of features for climbing or outdoor use. If you like pockets, hoods, and adjustability, we really liked the Arc'teryx Cerium and the Rab Microlight.
No hood on the Aconcagua, but the neck is tall and cozy.
This model from The North Face is a seriously durable jacket due to the use of 50D nylon. Durability is one of its strongest categories. The baffles are also mostly on the larger side, which will help keep the down from getting broken down over time. Larger baffles allow the down to loft more fully and create a larger chamber for it to loft into, so bigger baffles tend to translate to a longer lifespan of the loft. Durability was a strength of the Aconcagua. If this is important to you, but you want something lighter or more compressible, we also liked the Arc'teryx Cerium and the Rab Microlight.
The thick outer shell of this jacket is highly water resistant; in fact, it even has an oily feel to it. Water will bead up and run right off, making it a great choice for urban adventures in damp climates where you might get caught out in a downpour more often than you'd like. The Aconcagua is a tough, weather resistant down jacket, truly unusual in its category. For a more fully featured backcountry savvy down jacket, we liked the Arc'teryx Cerium as well.
The Aconcagua repelled water like, well, water off a duck’s back.
The Aconcagua looks like it was designed with style in mind. It has creative cross-hatched baffles and a distinctly shaped body. There is no hood, which makes it look much more dressy. It's a very urban savvy jacket. Contrary to most models in this review, we would feel funny wearing it in a backcountry setting; it's so dense and stiff, and non-adjustable that it just wouldn't lend well to backpacking or climbing.
This is an urban-ready down jacket designed for those who like its style. The Aconcagua is heavy, thick, stiff, and not very versatile at all. It will look good for business meetings, however, so this might be a great choice for casual meetings in cold urban settings.
The Aconcagua is definitely a more affordable down jacket, but we have a very hard time calling it a "good value." It is not versatile, and really just not designed for outdoor use. If you need a business casual warm jacket, however, this is certainly a good value.
The Aconcagua is a heavy, warm winter jacket that is too bulky and heavy for most outdoor activities. It's incredibly stylish and will perform best in an urban environment.
The Aconcagua is a stylish jacket, if you like the shiny look.