When it comes down to it, I’m a vest guy. They are one of the most versatile pieces of outdoor clothing there are. As a lightweight and unobtrusive layering piece, they are always tops on my list. On backcountry ski trips, I always carry one in the bottom of my pack just in case. A nice, lightweight vest is an awesome piece to have in the car just in case the temps on an early-morning trail run are a tad chilly.
Several years ago, I lost my Marmot DriClime Vest somewhere between couch surfing or mountain biking trips to Moab. I’m still bummed that I don’t have that vest. It was the perfect vest for spring or fall and provided just enough insulation and plenty of wind protection. I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement ever since. The search continued to The North Face Windwall vest.
About The North Face Windwall Vest
The North Face Windwall Vest uses a proprietary windproof Windwall fabric from The North Face, this vest has the potential to be a great vest for springtime wind protection as well as winter layering. It’s relatively light and soft with great wind blocking qualities. A detailed look at the fabric reveals that–just like Gore Windstopper–Windwall fabric is a laminate layer that’s bonded to the fleece outer layer. It’s said to block 90% of the wind to still allow breathability while blocking the brunt of the wind.
A few more details on the Windwall Vest:
- Sleeveless version of the favorite windchill-inhibiting fleece delivering athletic warmth in moderate cold and excellent insulation when layered.
- Standard fit
- WindWall™ fabric wind permeability rated at 14 CFM
- Two hand pockets
- Hem cinchcord
The North Face Windwall Vest Review
I originally ordered the size Large in this vest. Upon arrival, I was swimming in the thing. I thought it odd since I always wear a size Large in The North Face and pretty much any other outerwear. No worries, a quick return for a Medium size and I was happier with the sizing, though a bit confused still with the overall fit.
I guess I should have read the fit details a bit more before ordering. I didn’t notice until afterwards that the Windwall Vest is a “standard fit”. In other words, it fits like a barrel–as square as can be with no tapering. I’m used to athletic-style, form-fitting vests, not square vests made for couch potatoes. Oh well… my bad for not reading more carefully.
The material is soft and the vest wears well, except for being a lint magnet. The material blocks the chilly, constant wind here in Draper, Utah outside my office and it keeps me nice and cozy. I haven’t had a chance to flog it extensively, but overall, it’s not a bad vest, but it’s nothing special either. I think I’d be more keen on it if it just had an athletic fit. It just feels a bit too bulky for my taste.
Thermal qualities are great–this thing is warm! And as a casual vest, it’s awesome. I use it back and forth to the office on chilly days. It does a great job on backcountry ski tours at blocking the wind and keeping your core warm. It’s not real packable and it is a bit bulky, so it’s not my first choice in the backcountry. Not a bad vest, but there are other options that are more packable and athletic.
The Bottom Line: The North Face Windwall Vest
This isn’t a bad vest for resort use or everyday casual use. I’m left a bit miffed at the sizing and overall fit. I wish it had a more athletic fit so it wasn’t so bulky. If that’s something you are concerned about, look elsewhere, if it’s no big deal, this is a great windproof vest for the money. The fabric is very windproof and it works pretty well. I’d still prefer my Marmot DriClime vest back, if I had my druthers, so this one isn’t a slam dunk. But at the current sale prices, this is still a solid deal.