Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Winter Must Have: The North Face Thermoball Jacket for Kids

I almost called this review "Ode to the North Face Light Puffy" with the goal of writing a love song for The North Face Kids' insulated jackets. My son has been wearing North Face winter jackets for 5 years now and I don't see us moving on to another brand anytime soon.

Winter Must Have: The North Face Thermoball Jacket

Beyond my own son, I've seen North Face insulated jackets being a very popular choice in my Outdoor Playgroup Community (2000+ families big now,) the reversible Perrito Jacket being the classic group favorite for the toddlers and preschoolers.

Cozy warm in the Perrito Jacket while skiing

My son lived in his green Perrito Jacket when he was younger and got two seasons out of it. He then moved on to a similar jacket without a hood for a couple of seasons.

On to the Boys Insulated North Face Jacket

Now we've moved on again to the Thermoball Full Zip Jacket which continues to impress and please us in true North Face fashion. It is a bit strange though having a North Face jacket that isn't green for once.

The North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket

Why We Love North Face Insulated Jackets

My son's been wearing North Face "light puffy" jackets for 5 years now so obviously there's a few things we like about these lightweight insulated jackets. And I bought both his Perrito Jacket along with the next big-kids model of insulated jacket with my own money so we didn't just go with North Face because it was free gear. (Something you should definitely know!) My son's new Thermoball Jacket is the first North Face Jacket we've been given for an official review, but our love affair with North Face goes way way back.

Fall hiking in his new Thermoball Jacket

What's to LOVE about North Face Insulated Jackets:

They are lightweight and great for 3-season adventures in the Canadian Rockies. My son has biked in his previous jacket (a very similar model to the Thermoball jacket) and has used it for spring/fall hiking when there was no snow on the ground.

These jackets compress to almost nothing! You can stuff them in a backpack and pull them out when your child gets chilly. This has been great for us with backpacking and other backcountry trips when the bulky GAP puffy we had for a while was just too big.

The jackets are great for layering. My son would wear his Perrito Jacket on its own or would wear it underneath a ski jacket on really cold days. Together with a shell jacket over top, my son has been warm down to -30 (or colder) outside for hours. With the next insulated jacket, he'd wear it underneath his North Face Rain Jacket on cold days and would be sweating buckets if we weren't careful. It was a super warm combination! (and side note, my son has never known a rain jacket that wasn't made by North Face. I just keep buying him one orange rain jacket after another, but always sticking with North Face)

An insulated jacket you can even wear for fall mountain biking

They are great for active sports. I'd never dress my son in a down coat and then send him out to go mountain biking. Lightweight synthetic jackets like the Thermoball jacket however are great for active sports. I have a similar one and I even wear it cross country skiing.

They are always warm, even when wet. My son has never gotten cold or soaked through in one of his North Face jackets. The jacket itself will be wet if he's rolling around in the snow, but he himself is dry and warm underneath.

Synthetic jackets are versatile. I don't like having to pack 5 jackets on a trip. I'd rather pack one jacket that can perform across the board for any activity we might be doing. If we have to, we can layer with a second jacket, but you can't layer with a heavy down jacket.

Layering with the North Face Rain Jacket

Finally, I'm sure it's worth mentioning that my son used to HATE winter. He absolutely hated snow and anything cold. The change to accepting and finally liking winter "coincidentally" happened after buying him his Perrito jacket. So, was it really a coincidence??

The switch to liking winter and the beloved Perrito Jacket

Is it also a coincidence that in all of my photos from our early Outdoor Playgroup days, 3 out of 5 children are wearing a North Face Jacket? - Probably not.

I have few winter photos without at least a couple of kids in North Face jackets

Why The "Thermoball jacket"

The following quote comes from the Altitude Sports website, the company that sent us our Thermoball jacket.
"Independent CLO testing has shown that ThermoBall™ technology can offer the low weight, loft, warmth, and compressibility of down with the wet-weather insulating performance of synthetics."
And I can testify from personal experience that this is true. My son has already been wearing his jacket this fall, has played in snow wearing it, and has stood on top of a mountain in it. Always warm and dry.

On top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff, after an early fall snow storm

Combine the fact that we've always loved North Face kids' jackets, that we prefer lightweight synthetic jackets to heavy down coats, and that North Face has this brand new technology to make their winter jackets even better, ensuring that they insulate, even when wet - and it was a no brainer for us that we wanted a Thermoball Jacket.

We will continue testing the new Thermoball Jacket throughout the winter and you'll see it featured in many of our upcoming adventures. (Hopefully we'll take it skiing this weekend.)

Winter is here and my son (left) is ready for some serious snow to play in!

For full technical specs, please follow this link to read more about the North Face Full Zip Thermoball Jacket. And note that while this is the boy's model, there is also a girls' version.

North Face makes technical clothing that you can count on!

Purchasing North Face Kids Clothes

We got our Thermoball jacket from Altitude Sports, a Canadian eCommerce site focused on technical clothing and outdoor gear. The company encourages people to become members which gives you 5% off on every order along with free returns at all times with a 60 day return policy. There is also free shipping within Canada on all orders over $49.00.

And while you're checking out the Altitude Sports Website, make sure you check out the Sale Page for some great deals. You'll also find discount codes, one of which will allow you to get 20% off your next North Face order if you purchase something by October 27th.

There is no sport that you can't do in a North Face Insulated Jacket

Other North Face Items worth checking out for the kids

Altitude Sports carries a variety of great North Face gear from jackets to sleeping bags, camp boots, infant bunting suits, pants, and gloves. To see the full youth line up of gear, follow this link to the North Face Youth Collection on the Altitude Sports website.

I'm personally eyeing up the camp booties for our backcountry hut trips (which also come in toddler sizing) and I'm definitely eyeing up the Youth Dolomite Sleeping Bag - as I always hear families asking about sleeping bag recommendations for kids. The "boys jackets" page alone could keep me reading for an hour. (Especially since I think our current ski jacket came from Walmart last year.) - not my finest parenting moment.

North Face Kids - Never Stop Exploring

Disclaimer: I was given a North Face Thermoball Jacket for review from Altitude Sports. As always, all opinions are my own and I was not paid to write a favorable review. I have been paying for my own North Face kids gear for 5 years now and we have never had a single complaint with my son's insulated jackets or rain jackets. (and of note, we've always been able to re-sell every single jacket without a single rip or hole, a true testimony of good gear - and something I can not say about other jackets we've had.)


  1. We love the North Face jackets too!

  2. That's good cause I know a black Thermoball that will eventually make its way to your house.