From The North Face: Our most breathable jacket ever, this waterproof shell is crafted of GORE-TEX® Active to shed wind, rain and sweat during active endeavors in wet, cool conditions. Designed for bone-dry protection while running or training outdoors in the wettest weather, this jacket is exceptionally lightweight – the lightest waterproof, windproof, breathable GORE-TEX® product out there. What it lacks in weight it gains in durability.
I have been searching for the ultimate waterproof and breathable running jacket for about four years as I live in the Portland, Oregon area and run in steady rain frequently. With an especially wet October this year, I renewed my quest and decided to give The North Face Hyper Air GTX jacket a try. I was intrigued it is made from a brand new Gore-tex Active material that claims to be ultra breathable and have a permanent beading surface.
Out of the box, I was impressed with how light and thin the jacket is. I tried it on and found the fit to be tailored and flattering, definitely a well-constructed jacket. The hood fits perfectly, there are two deep zip-pockets at the front, the sleeves are nice and long, and there’s adequate room through the shoulders. I like that it dips slightly longer in the back.
My first run in the jacket was nine miles in steady rain (probably 70-75 minutes) in the mid-50’s. I layered a thin wool running t-shirt underneath. The hood was comfortable and stayed on without a problem. I felt damp through my forearms where my arms were bare under the jacket, but I was still comfortable. All the way to the end of the run, water was still beading on the surface of the jacket. After the run, I took it off and was shocked that much of my shirt was still dry. I was a little wet through the center of my chest, but I hadn’t zipped the jacket up entirely for the whole run, so I figured some water had leaked in down my neck. I wasn’t overly sweaty either, just the normal amounts from running (it’s actually breathable!). I was tentatively quite excited that I might have found “the one”.
Since that run, I’ve worn it in two more very rainy runs, both in the low to mid-50’s. One run was 90 minutes with rain coming down so hard in parts I might as well have been standing under a rain gutter. When I got home, my shirt was visibly damp through the chest and shoulders (I think from rain coming down my neck again – I need to see if wearing a hat with a bill eliminates this problem), but there were parts of my shirt that were still visibly dry and the hair on top of my head was completely dry from wearing the hood. I couldn’t believe it! Even more, rather than rushing to the shower right after the run, I took my time stretching, doing core, eating breakfast, and I wasn’t freezing.
I have washed the jacket in the washing machine (on cold, hang dry), and it hasn’t affected the waterproof performance at all. The waterproof properties come from the material itself, not from a coating that can wear off. The jacket really lives up to its claims of being waterproof and breathable.
To view my full blog post on this jacket, visit http://runningfavorites.com/bring-rain-north-face-hyper-air-gtx-jacket-review/