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The North Face Fanorak 2.0 - Women's Review

Fun style and cool packabliity but not our favorite function.
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Price:  $79 List
Pros:  Thin and lightweight, fanny pack, dries quickly, funky patterns
Cons:  Bottom is loose, awkward pockets, odd fit
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 27, 2019
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 10
  • Wind Resistance - 30% 5
  • Breathability - 30% 6
  • Weight and Packability - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 10% 4
  • Water Resistance - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The North Face Fanorak 2.0 is an interesting windbreaker with a quirky style and the ability to pack into itself to become a fanny pack. It's thin, fairly lightweight, and features a kangaroo pocket and quarter zip. The bottom is loose and flowy, with no option to cinch closed, giving this jacket an almost maternity fit. Its thin material and large fit make it not as wind resistant as much of the competition, and the front pockets are useful but an odd look. The Fanorak comes in big chunky color options and the fanny pack can fit more than just the jacket inside - if that's what you're into. If that's your jam, the Fanorak may be the jacket for you.

If you like the packability but want a bit more protection for your dough, check out the impressively protective and shockingly lightweight Patagonia Houdini, our Editor's Choice award winner. If you're out for a unique-looking windbreaker, the Cotopaxi Teca is a similar style with some truly funky colors.


Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $79 List$69.96 at Backcountry
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$69.95 at Amazon
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Pros Thin and lightweight, fanny pack, dries quickly, funky patternsHelmet compatible, lightweight, extremely packable, dries quicklyMany pockets, more waterproof, excellent wind protection, snap to allow unzipping during wearVery flexible, flattering fit, long torso, comfortable cuffWide cuffs, large back vent, comfortable fabric, bold color options
Cons Bottom is loose, awkward pockets, odd fitNot the most waterproof, can see through thin fabricElastic cuffs harsh, thin fabric can be seen through, large packed sizeGets wet very easily, thicker fabric is heavierDoesn't pack into it's own pocket, short fit is harder to layer, sleeves on the short side
Bottom Line Fun style and cool packabliity but not our favorite function.A truly featherweight model that continues to impress, combining excellent performance with great value.A blend of minimalist design and technical features, this jacket offers solid protection from the elements.This comfortable jacket will keep you protected and stylish, from climbing with friends to hanging at the coffee shop.A functional jacket with a sporty-chic vibe.
Rating Categories Fanorak 2.0 Patagonia Houdini - Women's Rab Vital Hoody - Women's Alpine Start Windrunner Woven
Wind Resistance (30%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
Breathability (30%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
Weight And Packability (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
5
Versatility (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
Water Resistance (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
7
Totals (%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
Specs Fanorak 2.0 Patagonia Houdini... Rab Vital Hoody -... Alpine Start Windrunner Woven
Weight (oz) 5.8 1.2 5 6.7 7.4
Material 50D WindWall polyester ripstop 100% nylon ripstop with DWR (durable water repellent) finish Hyperlite and nylon outer Schoeller® stretch-woven nylon with NanoSphere® Technology 100% polyester
Pockets 1 kangaroo, 1 front flap 1 chest 2 hand, 1 inner zip and 2 inner open-top 1 chest 2 hand
Hood Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cuffs Elastic Half elastic Half elestic Elastic Elastic
Stuffs Into Pocket No Yes Yes Yes No
Safety Reflective Material None Reflective logo on front and back Reflective logo on front and back None None
Fit Relaxed fit Slim fit Regular fit Slim fit High-rise fit

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.

Performance Comparison



This non-technical windbreaker works decently as an urban option for those who like a certain style.
This non-technical windbreaker works decently as an urban option for those who like a certain style.

Wind Resistance


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.

The hood cinch mechanism on the Fanorak is simple but effective.
The hood cinch mechanism on the Fanorak is simple but effective.

Breathability


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.

The quarter zip helps with breathability  as does the loose fit.
The quarter zip helps with breathability, as does the loose fit.

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.

Packed sizes of the Patagonia Houdini (top) and The North Face Fanorak (bottom) compared to a 1L Nalgene.
Packed sizes of the Patagonia Houdini (top) and The North Face Fanorak (bottom) compared to a 1L Nalgene.

Versatility


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 is a loose-fitting pull-over windbreaker with kangaroo pockets.
The Fanorak is a loose-fitting pull-over windbreaker with kangaroo pockets.

Water Resistance


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.

DWR finish slows the soaking of water into the Fanorak.
DWR finish slows the soaking of water into the Fanorak.

Best Applications


The North Face Fanorak isn't our first choice for a technical windbreaker, but it's a decent option for casual adventures and urban play. It does best in a warmer wind when keeping yourself from getting hypothermia isn't really a concern. It's also a cool option for standing out from the crowd and for anyone who's smitten with the renewed fanny pack movement. If you're on the lookout for a more versatile, technical jacket, the Patagonia Houdini is a solid choice. For another great nontechnical, urban option, we really like the Fjallraven High Coast.

Take this fanny pack on your urban and near-urban adventures.
Take this fanny pack on your urban and near-urban adventures.

Value


Retailing for $79, the Fanorak 2.0 is one of the cheapest jackets we tested. For what it brings to the table in technical performance and versatility, we much prefer the similarly priced Cotopaxi Teca Half-Zip. But if you like the look of this casual windbreaker, the price isn't bad.

Conclusion


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 quirky style.

Not a technical windbreaker  the Fanorak 2.0 still has its fans.
Not a technical windbreaker, the Fanorak 2.0 still has its fans.


Maggie Brandenburg