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The North Face Thermoball Parka Review

A moderately warm synthetic parka with a sporty mid-thigh length and on-the-go style.
The North Face Thermoball Parka
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Price:  $230 List | $171.99 at MooseJaw
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Pros:  Lightweight, compressible, sleek, stylish, sporty, warm
Cons:  Runs small, hood doesn’t detach, narrow pockets
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Liz Williamson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 17, 2016
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61
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 30% 5
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 6
  • Style - 20% 8
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Durability - 5% 5

The Skinny

Sporty, lightweight, and functional, The North Face Thermoball Hooded Parka is a great jacket for an on the go lifestyle. It's mid-thigh length makes it more functional than the The North Face Miss Metro Parka. Insulated with the North Faces Primaloft synthetic insulation, we didn't have to worry about the loft of the down getting wet in this jacket.


Our Analysis and Test Results

ThermoBall insulation offers the lightweight loft and warmth of down with the wet-weather insulating performance of synthetics. Weighing 1.5 lbs, this jacket is very lightweight and compressible. With nine colors to choose from, there is sure to be an option that goes with your lifestyle.

Performance Comparison



Super sporty  and stylish  this jacket is very appealing to the eye. The satin sheen look of the nylon fabric goes well with the quilted stitching. The mid-thigh length offers better mobility than a knee-length parka. A great option for someone with a on the go lifestyle.
Super sporty, and stylish, this jacket is very appealing to the eye. The satin sheen look of the nylon fabric goes well with the quilted stitching. The mid-thigh length offers better mobility than a knee-length parka. A great option for someone with a on the go lifestyle.

Warmth


For a lightweight jacket, we were surprised how well it did in cold temperatures. The North Face uses Primaloft and ThermoBall synthetic insulation to mimic down clusters trapping heat within small clusters to retain the most heat. Matched with the form-fitting style of this jacket, the synthetic insulation worked really well at trapping heat in and cold air out. The hood is snug, cozy, and helped extend our time outside in cold weather. A great jacket for mild winter weather, the lack of down and short length made it uncomfortable to be outside in cold, stormy weather.

Comparable to 600 fill goose down, the synthetic insulation didn't keep us as warm as The North Face Miss Metro Parka, and we wouldn't recommend this jacket in temperatures below 25 degrees F. Check out our Best Buy award winner, The Marmot Montreaux if you want a jacket that will keep you warm in very cold weather. The Arc'teryx Nuri and The North Face Miss Metro Parka offered longer lengths, which provided better protection and coverage in cold weather.

Form-fitting and snug  we had no issues with the hood staying on in stormy or windy weather. It isn't detachable  but it is adjustable. The hood is super lightweight  and we didn't have any issues with it resting on our back.
Form-fitting and snug, we had no issues with the hood staying on in stormy or windy weather. It isn't detachable, but it is adjustable. The hood is super lightweight, and we didn't have any issues with it resting on our back.

Weather Resistance


Synthetic insulation is a great option for someone living in a wet climate, opposed to a cold, snowy one, as the nylon shell is treated with a DWR coating. Water beaded up and rolled off the ThermoBall. This jacket isn't waterproof and after an extended period of time in our shower test, the jacket became saturated. What's great about the ThermoBall insulation is it has a fast rebound rate when it gets wet, as opposed to traditional down jackets that only have a DWR coating.

A better option for a wet climate would be the Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka or the Helly Hansen Long Belfast Winter Jacket. Both mid-thigh length jackets are waterproof, windproof and breathable. If you are in the market for a down jacket and waterproof jacket, you may want to consider the Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka!

Style


The mid-thigh length is sporty and offers extra mobility while still maintaining a flattering look. A great lightweight jacket to throw on before heading to the gym, or taking the dog out for a walk. You can easily dress up this simple parka by putting on boots or high heels; it's a great blend of fashion, function and versatility.

There is an interior cinched waist that allowed us to tailor the fit of the jacket. The tighter fit allowed us to trap heat in  and created a more flattering look.
There is an interior cinched waist that allowed us to tailor the fit of the jacket. The tighter fit allowed us to trap heat in, and created a more flattering look.

Only two jackets we tested had a adjustable waist, the Editors' Choice award winner, the Canada Goose Kensington, and The North Face Thermoball Hooded Parka. There is a hem cinch-cord that allowed us to give the jacket a more tailored fit, and trapped extra heat in. We liked the look of the satin sheen finish against the nylon quilted stitching. The Arc'teryx Nuri is also form-fitting and stylish, but it is knee-length. The Arc'teryx Sylva parka is warmer and offers a smooth, clean outer shell, compared to the noticeable stitching lines on the exterior of the Thermoball.

From every angle this jacket looks good. We love that the quilted stitching adds a stylish touch to this sporty jacket.
From every angle this jacket looks good. We love that the quilted stitching adds a stylish touch to this sporty jacket.

Comfort


The North Face Thermoball Hooded Parka fits like a glove. It's very form-fitting, so if you want to wear heavier, or thick layers underneath the jacket, consider ordering a size up, or trying it on in the store first before ordering online. The Primaloft and Thermoball synthetic insulation is so lightweight we could barely tell we had a jacket on.

This contender is great jacket to wear food shopping, running errands, or heading to yoga. We didn't feel overheated while going in and out of stores, like we mildy did in the Marmot Montreaux, the Patagonia Downtown Parka and The North Face Miss Metro Parka. Cozy and soft, the fleece lined pockets warmed our hands up quickly on cold days.

This jacket isn't loaded with plush down like the North Face Miss Metro  or the Marmot Montreaux. Insulated with Primaloft and Thermoball synthetic insulated  this jacket is lightweight and highly functional. We had no issue running around town running errands  or wearing it to the gym.
This jacket isn't loaded with plush down like the North Face Miss Metro, or the Marmot Montreaux. Insulated with Primaloft and Thermoball synthetic insulated, this jacket is lightweight and highly functional. We had no issue running around town running errands, or wearing it to the gym.

Features


The main feature is the ThermoBall insulation with 15D nylon ripstop fabric. The outer shell is great at deterring light rain and wet snow, but this jacket will eventually get saturated after an extended period of time outside. What's great about the synthetic insulation is, it dries faster than down and you don't have to worry about it losing its loft. The exterior pockets are a little small and it's even harder to initially fit stuff into the pockets. There is an interior media pocket, but it's small and barely fits an iPhone 4S.

Internal elastic cuffs do an okay job keeping cold air out, but they weren't as heavy duty as the nylon cuffs on Columbia Mighty Lite, or the fleece cuffs on the Marmot Montreaux. Hidden inside the jacket, you can't tell from the outside, but there is an adjustable cinch-cord inside that allows you to tailor the fit and style of the jacket. The hood is thin and insulated with synthetic fill; it's non-detachable, but it did a moderately good job of keeping us warm. It's not as warm as the hood on the Canada Goose Kensington Parka or the Patagonia Downtown Parka.

The large teeth on the pocket are very durable  but the pocket is on the narrow side. We had some issues with easily fitting a cell phone in the pocket.
The large teeth on the pocket are very durable, but the pocket is on the narrow side. We had some issues with easily fitting a cell phone in the pocket.

Durability


The outer shell is made up of 15D nylon ripstop fabric. The nylon fabric is smooth and soft but durable. There is a lot of stitching on the outer shell and we did notice a few spots where the stitching was starting to come loose. Besides that, over the two months we tested it, we had no other issues.

If you plan on pushing the limits of your winter jacket, you may want to check out the one with a more durable shell. The Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka and the Helly Hansen Long Belfast Winter Jacket both have heavy-duty, waterproof shells with minimal stitching. The Arc'teryx Sylva Parka is more durable as well, and is windproof and water-resistant, but not waterproof.

With so much stitching on the exterior shell  it almost seems inevitable that a snag could a occur. Over the two months that we tested this jacket  we noticed minimal stitching coming undone.
With so much stitching on the exterior shell, it almost seems inevitable that a snag could a occur. Over the two months that we tested this jacket, we noticed minimal stitching coming undone.

Best Application


A great lightweight, sporty coat for someone living in a mildly cold/wet climate like San Francisco or New York City. We wouldn't recommend this jacket for an environment that experiences below freezing temperatures and heavy snow.

Value


For $230, this is a solid jacket for a decent price. It wasn't the most expensive or the cheapest jacket we tested, but it did a great job in mild to freezing weather. For $70 more, our Best Buy award winner, the Marmot Montreaux will keep you warm in below freezing temperatures.

Conclusion


Overall, we liked The North Face Thermoball Hooded Parka. Not a jacket intended to be worn in super cold or stormy conditions, but none the less it's a great basic, lightweight winter jacket. Maybe you live in a wet climate and the synthetic sounds appealing but you want something more waterproof.


Liz Williamson