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North Face Windwall 1 - Women's Review

North Face  Windwall  Fleece Jacket  Women's
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Price:  $99 List
Pros:  Wind resistant, reasonably water resistant.
Cons:  Stiff, not the most comfortable, can't push up the sleeves.
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By McKenzie Long ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 19, 2013
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Our Verdict

The North Face Windwall women's fleece jacket lives up to its name, doing a fabulous job of blocking wind. However, it is also stiff like a windbreaker and not soft or cozy like most fleece jackets. It is inexpensive and lightweight, so it is a versatile option if you want one multi-purpose layer.

Of the wind resistant fleece jackets tested, the North Face Windwall is the lightest and cheapest option. If you care more about coziness and moveability, then I would recommend the Mountain HardWear Mistral, which also stands up to wind very well. Overall I think the Windwall is a very functional jacket, eliminating the need to bring two separate layers on an all-day pursuit. If you would prefer just a cozy fleece layer for a similar price, look at the North Face Khumbu.

See how this compared to other fleece jackets in our Best Women's Fleece Jacket Review.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Comfort and Coziness


This jacket lacks the qualities most often associated with a fleece: being soft, warm, and cozy.

Warmth, Wind and Water Protection


The North Face Windwall Women's Fleece Jacket does an excellent job of blocking wind and keeping you warm at the same time. We tested this fleece and a couple others while climbing on a really windy day and the other fleeces let the wind right through and left us feeling pretty cold. We tried the Windwall and felt much warmer just because the wind was not coming through the jacket. Extra features like the hem drawcord and the tight elastic sleeve cuffs help seal out additional wind. The wind resistant fabric makes this jacket relatively water repellant, which is a nice feature on a jacket you plan to have with you all day.

Breathability


Even though this North Face jacket does work well as a windbreaker, we aren't sold on the combination of windbreaker and fleece. At least in this jacket, the combination leaves the jacket feeling stiff and not very breathable. Also, you cannoth push the tight sleeves up on your arms if you get too warm.

Layering Ability and Ease of Movement


This jacket is pretty lightweight, which makes it easy to pack along, but its stiffness makes it an uncomfortable layer that does not move with your body very well.

Best Application


This jacket would be best suited for an outdoor activity like camping, where you would want a wind resistant layer but don't want to bother with the two separate layers of a windbreaker and a fleece. Overall, we would rather have two separate layers: a cozy fleece and a wind shell.

Value


This jacket is very inexpensive compared to most other fleece jackets, especially considering it is wind resistant. It is well worth its price of $99.


McKenzie Long