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The North Face Thermoball Eco Hoody - Women's Review

A great quilted jacket for all-around, all-year use at a great price
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Price:  $220 List | $120.97 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lofty and warm, great value, packs small, lightweight, great value, good wind protection
Cons:  Lacks breathability
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 6, 2020
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 13
  • Warmth - 25% 8
  • Weight & Compression - 20% 6
  • Comfort & Coziness - 20% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 6
  • Breathability - 15% 6
  • Style & Fit - 5% 9

Our Verdict

The North Face Thermoball stands out for its baffled design with 100% recycled Thermoball insulation. The insulation is in the shape of tiny little balls, which generate more warmth than conventional polyester. It also compresses better, making it one of the best for its warmth to compression ratio. As a midweight jacket, it can be worn on its own with minimal layers in cooler weather and can be easily layered under a shell when winter really hits hard. It's versatile and can pack into a tiny little package, right into its own pocket. It makes for a great belay jacket or one to take while backpacking. Plus - it insulates when wet. With great performance all around, how can you say no to such as cute and stylish contender? Oh, and the price is right as well!

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Thermoball by The North Face has many awesome attributes. It looks and compresses just like a down jacket, with just as much warmth as you'd expect from one. Except it's a little better - it also insulates when wet! Pack it away, wear it when it's cold, or layer it when you want some weather protection. This versatile jacket is of great value, and the price isn't bad either.

Performance Comparison


The ThermoBall Hoody offers a great amount of warmth considering the small package it can compress into. It offers lots of room for layering and a medium level of breathability.
The ThermoBall Hoody offers a great amount of warmth considering the small package it can compress into. It offers lots of room for layering and a medium level of breathability.

Warmth


This quilted jacket sure does pack a lot of punch into a small package. Offering 11 g/ft^2 of insulation, it is a midweight jacket that is quite warm. The quilted design holds the insulation into individual baffles. It makes for a great wear-alone jacket through the warmer months and a wonderful mid-layer in the wintertime.

Enjoy the winter weather in this warm yet compressible synthetic jacket.
Enjoy the winter weather in this warm yet compressible synthetic jacket.

While it's not the warmest jacket we've tested, it's generous ThermoBall Eco 100% recycled polyester construction gets you what you need. Wear it while skiing, hiking, backpacking and more! It also insulates when wet.

The brick-baffled construction holds ThermoBall insulation in place  offering great warmth  even on this cold morning approaching a rock climb in Nevada.
The brick-baffled construction holds ThermoBall insulation in place, offering great warmth, even on this cold morning approaching a rock climb in Nevada.

Weight & Compression


We are super impressed with this jacket's ability to compress. Built just like a down jacket (except with synthetic insulation), it packs right into its own pocket! That said, trying to pack it into the pocket while zipping it up can be a pain as it hardly fits. But it eventually does with a little bit of fight.

Here we compress our jacket into the mesh part of our backpack after it gets too hot to wear on our hike.
Here we compress our jacket into the mesh part of our backpack after it gets too hot to wear on our hike.

Its packed sizes rival the best in this review. The airy construction is also lightweight, weighing in at a meager 12.75 ounces for a size medium. It earns a high score in this category and packs in one of the highest warmth to compression ratios out there. If you need a jacket that'll pack into tiny corners or crevices, or even one you can hang off your harness, this is one to really consider.

A look at the weight.
A look at the weight.

It has a great level of compression.
It has a great level of compression.

Comfort & Coziness


This insulated jacket is simple in luxury. Its primary comfort comes in the form of its plentiful baffling that offers specific insulation pockets throughout the jacket.

The North Face Thermoball is quite cozy and layers nicely with other bulkier layers.
The North Face Thermoball is quite cozy and layers nicely with other bulkier layers.

It doesn't have any fuzzy or furry linings, no bells, and whistles. The hood is helmet-compatible and elasticized, without a hood cinch, so a specific fit isn't possible.


The cuffs are also simple and elastic, fitting nicely under a pair of gloves. The hand-warming pockets are quite voluminous, offering a lot of space for storage, and nestling into when cold. We also like the internal and hidden breast compartment where you can put items that you simply don't want to be seen. There is nothing particularly special about this jacket in this category. It's comfortable and cozy for all-day wear.

The elasticized cuffs of the Thermoball.
The elasticized cuffs of the Thermoball.

Weather Resistance


This jacket offers good wind and weather protection. The shell is made out of 100% recycled nylon, which does well to shed the wind. Only near the zipper and along the seams did we feel the wind getting through the coat…and that was with only a t-shirt underneath. With a base layer and fleece, you'll be just fine in breezy places.

We start the water tests that take about two minutes.
We start the water tests that take about two minutes.

Water is a different animal, but the construction does surprisingly well, staving it off! When encountering wind and rain one Fall evening, the exterior did a good job beading water, until the water turned into a downpour. Luckily the 100% polyester material insulates in the rain! The nylon saturated and stretched, but strangely, we stayed dry! We took to the shower to verify this observation. After two minutes, the fabric was indeed wet, but the shell actually didn't absorb water, which happened with most of the insulated jackets tested. The interior managed to stay dry, except for a handwarmer pocket.

The interior of the jacket stays dry!
The interior of the jacket stays dry!

Overall, we are impressed with this jacket's weather resistance. If you happen to find yourself in a storm, it'll keep you somewhat protected. If you know a storm's a-brewing and you're heading out anyway, be sure to wear a weatherproof shell to keep super warm.

Breathability


For a warm and weather-resistant jacket, we are surprised at its level of breathability. We took it on many hikes, from the high North of Canada to Colorado. During cold weather, it worked nicely as a mid-layer and jacket on its own to hike with. In warm weather, we found ourselves taking it off rather quickly. While it's not as breathable as a mobile-faced jacket, we are impressed at how well this quilted contender performs. It's not one we'd use for winter running or even backcountry skiing (it's simply too warm) when we have all the best options at hand, but if it's all you got, it'll work. You just might find yourselves taking it off when the sweat starts to really pour.

We are able to wear this jacket a short time before needing to take it off  even on a cool morning like this. While it has decent breathability  it's suited for much colder conditions when exercising.
We are able to wear this jacket a short time before needing to take it off, even on a cool morning like this. While it has decent breathability, it's suited for much colder conditions when exercising.

Style & Fit


This jacket's style and fit haven't changed since the previous version. It has the same fit. The size is true and even feels a little roomier than expected. It fits those best with short or medium-sized limbs, but you might find the arms to be a little short. The style is cute and quite nice for all sorts of women. It comes is a huge assortment of colors. Some are shinier, while others are matte. The baffled design does indeed have an outdoorsy flair, but it looks nice. It is nice enough to wear out on a Tinder date or out to lunch with your friends. Overall, we love the fit and style. Easily fit layers underneath without a problem.



A look at the cute style and fit of this jacket that many women love.
A look at the cute style and fit of this jacket that many women love.

Value


We actually considered this jacket for our Best Buy award winner, given its wonderful value. It scores high across the board, offering an amazing warmth to weight ratio. It looks good and performs well outdoors. It's also well priced. If you are seeking a baffled jacket that does all these things, this one is certainly a high-value option.

This cold-weather hike is a perfect way to enjoy the ThermoBall Hoody. Also  take it on adventures where you might find yourself needing an extra layer or want something that'll pack away to a small size.
This cold-weather hike is a perfect way to enjoy the ThermoBall Hoody. Also, take it on adventures where you might find yourself needing an extra layer or want something that'll pack away to a small size.

Conclusion


The North Face Thermoball is loaded with 100% recycled polyester with Thermoball technology, offering a huge warmth to weight ratio. Stuck it into your backpack as an extra layer on a hike, or wear it under a shell when the weather gets nasty outside. Whatever you need it for, it'll perform.

Amber King