The North Face Fanorak 2.0 - Women's Review
Cons: Bottom is loose, awkward pockets, odd fit
Manufacturer: The North Face
Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face Fanorak 2.0 is a pull-over windbreaker with a quarter zip and hood. Made of 50D WindWall ripstop polyester, it features a double kangaroo pocket, water repellent finish, and the ability to pack into itself and become a fanny pack you can wear.
The North Face Fanorak 2.0 is a surprisingly thin windbreaker that does a decent job blocking the wind. It has a basic cinch mechanism to tighten the hood around your face while the quarter zip protects your chin. Elastic sleeve cuffs help keep you protected, though we do feel the sleeves could be a bit more conducive to movement - they tend to ride up with even the simplest arm motions, leaving our wrists exposed. What we like least about this jacket's wind resistance is the totally open, super loose bottom hem. Not only is it a very loose fitted jacket, but the bottom hem also has no cinch cord, allowing a cold breeze easy access directly to your underlayers. If the Fanorak had a cord here, it would be much more protective against the wind. As it is, it does a decent job against wind that isn't too strong or too cold.
Much like most windbreakers in this review, what you get in wind and water resistance takes a little away from a garment's breathability. And while this is most certainly also true of the Fanorak 2.0, the open bottom hem does help balance that out a bit, allowing more airflow. The quarter-zip also helps you vent your sweat, and the loose fit also works in your favor during high-output exercise. However, the fabric itself isn't particularly breathable and in places with less airflow, like the sleeves, sweat collects easily on the inside of this jacket. And while the flowy fit aids in breathability, it also makes this jacket not our favorite for exercise where being streamlined is important (like running and biking). The North Face sells this jacket with urban use in mind though, so even they recognize the limitations of this design.
Weight & Packability
Weighing in at 5.8 ounces, the Fanorak 2.0 is in the low middle end of the range of jackets we tested. This super thin layer easily stuffs into its own kangaroo pocket with plenty of room to spare. Removable straps turn the whole thing into a fanny pack, and a small loop makes it easy to clip this package onto the outside of a day pack instead. The kangaroo pocket this jacket stuffs into isn't particularly small, and the fanny can be compressed even more, or you can add other items into your handy fanny pack. It also has a small outer zipper pocket for easy-access items.
As a pull-over top, the Fanorak is a bit more cumbersome to put on and take off, and more challenging to fit over certain layers. The kangaroo pockets aren't particularly conducive to wearing a harness or anything with a hip belt. The chunky colors and funky patterns might be right up your alley or may totally turn you off, but that's more of a personal choice. Our main tester is 5'4" and 117 pounds and tested the XS. This jacket is a bit tighter across the shoulders and chest while remaining loose and flowy over the midsection, which we think creates an almost maternity look. Combined with the overly puffy front pouch pockets and lack of being able to cinch up the bottom hem, we aren't stoked with the look of this jacket. We found it to be not overly flattering and challenging to wear over any bulky layers or even a loose-fitting athletic top.
The Fanorak has a DWR finish, making it water resistant. In a light sprinkle, we found this jacket to be enough to get from the car to the house without getting wet. However, while out on a long walk, a persistent shower saturated some parts of this jacket, leaving us a bit damp. It is one of the quicker jackets to dry once soaked, due to its thin material. For a windbreaker, whose main job is to keep you apart from strong winds while being breathable enough to recreate in, this jacket is about par for the course.
The Fanorak 2.0 is one of the cheapest jackets we tested. We aren't overly impressed by the functionality of this jacket, but if the fanny pack feature and interesting style is up your alley, it might be worth it for you.
The Fanorak 2.0 is a lightweight windbreaker that does a decent job in urban settings. It lacks a cinch around the bottom hem that would certainly make it more wind resistant and versatile. But its pull-over design, kangaroo pockets, funky patterns, and transformation into a fanny pack certainly makes it a unique jacket. If you like these interesting features and aren't looking for a super technical jacket, the Fanorak is a decent urban option with a quirky style.
— Maggie Brandenburg