The North Face Denali 2 Hoody - Women's Review
Cons: Bulky and heavy, less flattering style, not breathable
Manufacturer: The North Face
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face Denali 2 Hoody presents a great value to those seeking a full-blown wear alone coat that is incredibly warm. While it's not a complete shell, it's pretty weatherproof, offering great functionality as an outer layer at the ski resort (with other layers underneath) on a warm day, or without any layers underneath on a cool breezy day. Enjoy it while hitting the town, lounging at home, or taking the dog for an early morning walk. Just make sure you love the style…many of our testers passed at the sight of it.
This heavyweight jacket is well insulated throughout using polyester. Amongst its super lofty fleece are Nylon panels that offer excellent protection from abrasion and protection from both wind and water. The lofty hood is also covered in this continuous Nylon and provides incredible warmth in the coldest of weather. Unfortunately, the cuffs aren't tapered and are one of the many ways cold air can get into the jacket; however, a pair of gloves negates this problem completely. This is a super warm jacket that's suitable for super cold winter days (with additional layers) or on its own during a breezy Fall or Spring season.
Comfort and Fit
This jacket offers a roomy fit that isn't fitted, but boxier in nature. While the material does stretch, the Nylon panels keep the fit feeling a little more rigid. We do, however, love curling up in this super roomy fleece, and it feels excellent on our skin. We also appreciate the massive chest and handwarmer pockets, and all the pulls that cinch down the hem and hood, in an attempt to provide a better fit. Unfortunately, it's not the most mobile fleece and one that we hardly reached for, as its boxy fit isn't the most comfortable.
It shouldn't be surprising that this heavyweight fleece struggles at breathing well. While the pockets offer some form of ventilation, the double layer of fleece does a better job of keeping the heat in. As a result, we'd use this jacket for warm Spring ski resort days, milling around town, and using it as a full jacket in cooler weather.
This jacket easily accommodates layers underneath its boxy interior, and can fit a base layer or even another fleece jacket! However, it earns a relatively low score in this category because of the difficulty layering anything over the top of it. The bulky and thick materials work great as a stand-alone jacket, but we couldn't find a fitted shell or jacket that would fit over top. This really limits its functionality, making it more of a wear around town jacket and less of a midweight insulating fleece.
Ease of Movement
The Denali easily allows movement given its boxier fit that doesn't hug the curves of your body. It moves when you put your arms up, but doesn't get stuck. It's actually a great jacket for resort skiing and the like because of how easily it moves with the body. That said, it's not one we'd use for climbing or backpacking, simply because the material is bulky.
This jacket offers incredible resistance to both rain, snow, and wind. The double construction doesn't allow cutting, cold winds to get through the fabrics. In addition, the Nylon is incredibly water-resistant. While water will sit on the thicker fleece fabric when hit with rain or snow, it won't completely absorb, keeping you dry. This makes it a great wear-alone jacket.
This coat is less of a traditional fleece and more of an all-around use jacket. Yes, it's one that you can wear easily around camp, lounge, and take for leisurely stroll around town. It's also a great buy for those who want a cozy coat that'll keep them warm in a cutting wind or occasional rainstorm. However, its price is high. Unless this is exactly what you're looking for, other fleece jackets present a much better value.
The North Face Denali 2 Hoody is a unique fleece that's more like a full-blown jacket than a traditional mid-layer. It's got a retro look that looks like it hasn't been updated since the 1980 or 90s. It's incredibly warm and water-resistant but seriously lacks in breathability. This is the jacket for those that want something they can wear during the colder months as a wear alone item. Otherwise, if you're seeking a simple mid-layer fleece, we'd recommend looking elsewhere.
— Amber King