Editor’s Review: The North Face Desolation Thermoball Jacket

Editor’s Review: The North Face Desolation Thermoball Jacket

The North Face Desolation Thermoball Jacket was designed to be your go-to, ultralight midlayer—perfect for long tours in the backcountry where weight and warmth matter, on cold resort days when you simply want a reliable layer or as a standalone jacket around town. I’ve been rocking this jacket in “Stellar Blue” all season long and I simply can’t get enough of it.

The jacket is incredibly soft to the touch and the color is one of my favorites. It’s the thoughtful placement of insulation that I appreciate most, however. The body of the jacket is filled with down-like PrimaLoft Thermoball synthetic fibers. These fibers expertly trap heat and, according to an independent test conducted at Kansas State University, provide insulation equivalent to 600-fill goose down. That means this jacket contains the wet-weather insulation power of synthetic materials while retaining down’s incredible warmth.

The rest of the jacket is similarly well-thought out. The sides and underarms are made of a polyester blend that is incredibly stretchy and DWR-treated. The outer sections of the arms, meanwhile, are made of a 100-percent ripstop fabric that is also DWR-treated. This combination results in a product that’s durable and warm where you need it, while breathable in areas prone to overheating.

Additionally, the jacket is incredibly lightweight, can pack down into its own pocket (I’ve found this comes in handy when temperatures warm up and you need to stash it in your pack) and has comfortable thumb-holes—a feature I personally love in my midlayers.

This is my go-to jacket; I rocked it as a midlayer throughout our recent Ski Test (photo, below) and I wear it while traveling, hiking or even just going out to dinner. Keep in mind, it’s water-repellant and not waterproof, so steer clear of using this layer on its own when conditions are truly wet; in the case that you’re getting after it in the rain or in wet snow, throw a shell on top, of course. I’ve been impressed by this garment’s ability to hold tough in damp conditions, however. On those days where I encounter dense fog or a light drizzle, I stay warm and dry, and I haven’t been let down.

The jacket is currently on sale at evo.com. You won’t be disappointed. —Sarah Sherman, Social Media Coordinator

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The author (second from the left) enjoying a beer in the Desolation Thermoball Jacket with fellow ski testers after a day of shredding. Photo: Erik Seo

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