The North Face Cyclone Hoodie - Women's is simply designed but it does a good job of resisting the wind and repelling a light rain. The fabric beads moisture nicely and is cut with a women's figure in mind. When fully zipped, the neckline comes up high for maximum wind protection. The draft flap behind the zipper helps to block the wind as well, but the partial elastic hem may let in some elements depending on how snug it ends up around your waist. Where this jacket falls short is its breathability; we ended up with a clammy interior and sweatier baselayers when hiking hard in it. Our Editors' Choice winner, the Patagonia Houdini - Women's and our Top Pick for Alpine Climbing, the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody - Women's, both did a better job of ventilating than this model. That being said, the price is right for this jacket and we've given The North Face Cyclone Hoodie - Women's our Best Buy award for being affordable and good at what it's designed for — keeping the wind out.
The North Face Cyclone Hoodie - Women's Review
Cons: Not stretchy, limited breathability.
Manufacturer: The North Face
Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face Cyclone Hoodie — Women's is made of 40D 100% nylon fabric with a DWR finish. It has elastic cuffs and a partial elastic hem. It has two outside zippered hand pockets and two internal chest pockets, and comes in an impressive array of eleven colors. It stows into itself and weighs 4.94 ounces (140 g).
The North Face Cyclone Hoodie - Women's is highly wind resistant. The 40D WindWall 100% nylon fabric does an impressive job of blocking the wind. This jacket has several features to help decrease the wind permeability, including a draft flap behind the full length front zipper and a high collar to help protect your face. The partial elastic hem and elastic cuffs help keep out drafts as well, but customization in this area is limited and you can't completely lock this jacket down around you. The drawstring adjustable hood is also a good ally against the wind and fits well over a helmet considering there is adjustment around the face only. Without a helmet on, the hood partially covered our faces and limited our peripheral views. This jacket has a relaxed women's fit and is neither boxy nor form fitting. While the cut let us layer underneath it, in a stiff wind the extra material flaps around a lot. If you don't plan on layering under your wind breaker then consider sizing down for this model.
While this jacket does a great job of blocking the wind, the fabric does not breathe as well as some of the other models we tested, such as the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody. When tested in warm, windy conditions, it was not long before the inside became clammy and sticky. The full front zipper lets you manage your ventilation via unzipping, but if you have to leave the jacket completely open to avoid becoming a sweaty mess then that defeats the purpose. The partial elastic hem and elastic cuffs allow some air circulation as well although further adjustability is not available.
The North Face Cyclone Hoodie - Women's performs well against a light rain, mist or fog. During our water tests (sprayed repetitively with various amounts of water) this jacket beaded water droplets well thanks to the durable water repellent (DWR) finish. It was also one of the quickest to dry once completely saturated. Keep in mind, however, that this is first and foremost a wind breaker, and any extra water resistance is a bonus. If you plan on hiking in wet areas then you'll want to consider a women's rain jacket instead. Or, consider our Editors' Choice winner, the Patagonia Houdini, which delivers superior water resistance over this model.
This jacket was one of the lightest wind breakers we tested, and weighs only 4.94 ounces (140 g), the same as the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody. This is the class of wind breaker that you don't have to think twice about packing because of its light weight and compactability. It also packs in a lot of features for its weight, considering it has a full zipper, zippered hand pockets and a hood.
The North Face Cyclone Hoodie - Women's is designed with layering in mind. If layering is not a priority, a size down may be a better match, although the sleeve length tends to run a little short. The fabric of this jacket is not as soft, stretchy or compressible as the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody, so it doesn't feel as comfortable against your bare skin. But, it's not as bulky or cumbersome as the Sierra Designs Microlight 2 - Women's. The fabric is durable enough for rugged terrain and crystalline granite chimneys, and it held up to months of use in sharp and rocky environments.
When out and about, the right hand pocket is media compatible (a hole in the pocket lets you run a headphone cord from your phone up inside your jacket up to your earlobes) and the multiple pockets are nice for holding a camera, phone and food. However, the two zippered hand pockets are irritating under a pack hip belt or climbing harness. During times of smooth sailing, it packs easily into its left hand pocket and comes with a built in loop to attach it to a pack or climbing harness. There is even a little extra room in "stow mode" for an energy bar and lip balm after it is stashed inside its pocket.
The North Face Cyclone Hoodie - Women's is made of durable 40D fabric and is double stitched at high stress points such as the hood, shoulders and chest. We put this jacket to the test on some burly climbs in Yosemite Valley and the fabric and stitching held up strong. We feel great about taking it into rough terrain in the high alpine environment.
This jacket is excellent at keeping the wind off your back and the cold, damp moisture off your skin in cooler climates. The bomb proof fabric protects you from the wind and the DWR coating repels water. The combination of adjustable hood, full front zipper and elastic cuffs lets you use this wind breaker for mountaineering, cycling, bouldering, rock climbing, hiking, travel and cross country skiing. Given how water resistant and lightweight it is, this jacket is convenient to tote along with you on any adventure, unless it involves hot and humid weather. It is too windproof for that atmosphere and it doesn't allow sufficient breathability unless unzipped in those conditions.
At $60, this jacket is the best value of the bunch. It not only looks good with its women's specific cut, but does a great job of blocking the wind because of the durable fabric, a draft flap behind the zipper and an adjustable hood. It is a great value for how well it functions, and for less than half the price of some other models, well deserving of our Best Buy award.
If you need a shield against a relentless wind, our Best Buy winning The North Face Cyclone Hoodie - Women's gets you through it for a reasonable price. This jacket is a formidable shield against the onslaught of spring High Sierra winds or the mega-gusts of Argentine Patagonia. It's roomy enough for layers and lets you move freely without feeling constricted, yet looks good with its women's specific cut. The adjustable hood, draft flap, zippered hand pockets and stowability make this a wind breaker that is well worth the price. It gets clammy in humid conditions, but otherwise the zipper allows decent airflow and breathability adjustment.
— Chris McNamara