Hands-on Gear Review

The North Face Blaze Jacket - Women's Review

The North Face Blaze Jacket - Women's
Price:  $180 List
Pros:  Stowaway pocket with gear clip, Flattering fit
Cons:  Not very warm, Stitching very poor, No hood option
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Style/Design:  Slim fit with monochrome zipper
Main Fabric:  22D Polyester
Insulation:  60 g Polyester FlashDry insulation
Manufacturer:   The North Face

Our Verdict

A minimalist jacket with several nice features, and a few drawbacks, the North Face Blaze was a favorite among our testers. Both flattering and highly compressible, this jacket stuffs into its own pocket and is made of 22D polyester. A full-zip jacket without a hood option, the Blaze is lightweight enough to take into the backcountry and cute enough to wear around town. Our biggest complaints about this jacket are its poor quality stitching and that it's not very warm. At first we thought that the stitching on the Patagonia Nano Puff was bad (and it is), but then we took a closer look at the North Face Blaze and found its stitches to be even looser. They got snagged all over this jacket, making it look significantly worse for the wear.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Insulated Jacket for Women Review

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Amanda Fenn

Last Updated:
Monday
September 2, 2013

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Performance Comparison



The North Face Blaze was one of the lightest jackets we reviewed  but it was not very warm. For a jacket that will keep you a little more toasty  check out the Patagonia Nano Puff.
The North Face Blaze was one of the lightest jackets we reviewed, but it was not very warm. For a jacket that will keep you a little more toasty, check out the Patagonia Nano Puff.

Warmth


The North Face Blaze is filled with 60 g/m2 of insulation, the standard among the lightweight insulated jackets. The jacket features polyester FlashDry thermal insulation, which is designed to improve the piece's moisture management and thus increase its warmth. Although the piece did dry more quickly, we didn't notice a significant difference between the Blaze's ability to wick away sweat. Overall, its breathability is on par with that of the Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover - Women's, the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket - Women's, and the REI RevelCloud Jacket - Women's. We liked the Blaze's deep hand pockets and its ample sleeve length, both of which helped improve warmth. This piece also has a drawcord at its hemline to seal in heat.

Compressibility & Weight


This jacket it very compressible and quite light; however, because the jacket's deep left hand pocket doubles as the stuff sack, the Blaze's stowaway pocket is a bit on the large size. If the jacket had a chest pocket that it stuffed into instead, it could compress as small as the Patagonia Nano Puff. We did like the fact that the pocket has a gear loop though and appreciated that the piece was on the lighter end of the spectrum.

The Blaze's hand pockets are quite deep. In fact  the jacket compresses into one of these two hand pockets.
The Blaze's hand pockets are quite deep. In fact, the jacket compresses into one of these two hand pockets.

Comfort & Coziness


The North Face Blaze seems to have slightly more touchable fabric than that of its competitors, making it a little cozier. In terms of comfort, this jacket is missing fleecy chin guards and pocket liners, but we did like that you can adjust the tightness of the hem pull cord from inside the hand pockets.

Durability


At first we thought that the stitching on the Patagonia Nano Puff was bad…then we started using the North Face Blaze. While the Nano Puff had a few snags, the stitching on the Blaze came completely undone on several baffles, especially at the cuffs. The stitches are very wide, making them easy to snag. Frankly, tightening up stitches seems like a simple way to greatly improve the quality of this piece. While it doesn't affect the performance of the jacket, it just makes it look more worn, which is too bad for such a cute jacket. Another lightweight, but more durable jacket is the Montbell UL Thermawrap Jacket, which weighs less and does not have the quilted design that got torn up so quickly on the Blaze.

Our biggest complaint about the North Face Blaze was its poor quality stitching. Its quilting snagged all over!
Our biggest complaint about the North Face Blaze was its poor quality stitching. Its quilting snagged all over!

Water Resistance


The North Face Blaze repelled water fairly well and we found that it dried very quickly after it got wet. Among the thin quilted jackets, the Blaze scored as well on water resistance as the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic and better than the Nano Puff and Revelcloud.

Style & Fit


Our testers really liked the fit of the North Face Blaze. It is a little loose fitting, but still remains quite flattering. This allows the jacket to easily layer over or under another piece. It has horizontally stitched baffles, which give it a sleek, simple look. The fabric is a bit shiny and the cut falls nicely at the hip.

This jacket runs pretty true to size and has space for longer arms and slightly broader shoulders.
This jacket runs pretty true to size and has space for longer arms and slightly broader shoulders.

Best Application


Since it's not very warm, the North Face Blaze is better suited as a mid layer on colder days or as an outer layer on warmer days where you just need a little extra shield from the elements. This piece is suitable for general around town and outdoor use.

Value


At $180, the North Face Blaze is one of the more affordable lightweight insulated layers in this review; however, if you're looking for a warm technical jacket, you may want to consider spending a bit more and opting for something like the Top Pick winner, the Thermostatic. On the other hand, for something more stylish consider the Helly Hansen Odin Isolator Jacket or the Columbia Kaleidaslope II Jacket - Women's, which won our Best Buy Award.

Relaxing in camp. The North Face Blaze is an attractive jacket  but it is not very durable or very warm.
Relaxing in camp. The North Face Blaze is an attractive jacket, but it is not very durable or very warm.

Other Versions


North Face Women's Blaze Vest, North Face Women's Red Blaze Jacket (warmer but less expensive), Men's versions

Amanda Fenn

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: September 2, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (2.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 100%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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