Too dark, too cold, threats of storms looming … so what? With the right outer layer, there’s no excuse for skipping a long run just because winter’s closing in on you. The North Face has a ton of options when it comes to jackets, so how does the Apex ClimateBlock fare for cold-weather running?
The North Face Apex ClimateBlock Jacket Features
- TNF Apex ClimateBlock windproof, breathable soft shell
- Durable Water Repellant (DWR) finish for water resistance
- Side and rear mesh panels for ventilation and temperature management
- Multiple reflective seams and accents for maximum visibility
- Extra-long sleeves with thumb holes for hand warmth
- Rear reflective zip pocket
- Glow-in-the-dark zip pulls
- Drop-tail hem with drawcord cinch
- Weight 283g (10oz)
- MSRP $159
The North Face Apex ClimateBlock Jacket Review
The North Face’s Flight Series apparel is built for the hardcore trail runner, whether it’s lightweight gear for the heat of summer, or weather-resistant protection when the weather turns nasty. The Apex ClimateBock jacket combines high-performance features with outstanding comfort and protective features, and is perfectly suited for the brand’s “no excuses” philosophy.
Panel construction differs from the somewhat standard “polyester/PU in front, breatheable mesh in back”, as the vented mesh material comprises the underarm and side areas instead of the entire rear panel. The fabrics of the Apex are noticeably more comfortable than other jackets in this category, and feel very plush to the touch. The garment has a performance fit, which stays close to your body without feeling constricting; it’s an ideal balance of not too loose, not too tight, and rides just right on multi-hour runs. There isn’t even any irritation of the collar against my neck in the full upright position.
A distinguishing feature of the Apex is the extended sleeves with thumb hole cutouts. Normally, with arm warmers or long sleeve shirts, I don’t like this design, because it complicates wearing both a watch and gloves together. However, the cut of the jacket sleeves is relatively wide, which makes them fit over a pair of gloves quite easily. So rather than taking your gloves off to check the watch, it’s easy to peel back the sleeve while keeping your fingers covered. Sweet! The end of the sleeves have a very soft-brushed feel to them, perfect for wiping sweat from your brow when necessary.
Between windproof panels and DWR coating, the Apex offers outstanding protection from all but the heaviest downpours – however, its protection from road traffic is even greater. This jacket has a ton of reflective accents that are tastefully done so that they don’t look dorky during the day, but they’re extremely effective to make sure you’re noticed at night. True story: while running in the dark after work last week, an approaching motorist actually stopped his car to tell me, “That’s an awesome jacket for visibility.” When you get unsolicited comments from strangers about your jacket, you know something’s working right.
Good Apex ClimateBlock
- Performance fit is perfect cut for trail running
- Outstanding fabric comfort
- Innovative over-thumb sleeve design
- Strong weather resistant properties
- Very impressive reflective features
Bad Apex ClimateBlock
- Breathable mesh panel could be larger in back
- Inner fabric lining is a lime green color; I would have kept it dark
- The over-thumb design might bother some sleeve purists
Bottom Line: The North Face Apex ClimateBlock Jacket
The North Face’s Flight Series gear has high expectations, and this jacket delivers the goods. Whether you need high visibility for a road run, or comfort for a long trail run, the Apex ClimateBlock jacket is an excellent choice to keep your training rolling from fall into winter.