Titanium Ice Dragon vs. The North Face Mountain light Parka XCR

12:35 p.m. on January 28, 2004 (EST)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Jorge E Rosales, JR

I'm planning to get a parka jacket on the next days. I was doing some
research around
and I'm beetwen the Columbia Titanium Ice Dragon Parka, The North Face
Mountain Light XCR, and The North Face Mountain Guide Jacket. I will be
using the jacket for backpacking (winter) Ski, snowbording, and some mountain biking.I'm looking for a very durable and warm Parka. I'm exposed to temperatures beetween -5F
and 15F in winter.So I will be using this parka everyday on the city too. I would like to hear your opinion as an expert in this
field. Which one of these that I mentioned here do you recomend me and
why?
If you have another model or brand in mind let me know.
Best Regards,
JER

5:49 p.m. on January 28, 2004 (EST)
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I am not familiar with the Columbia, but the TNF jackets are shells, so I presume the Columbia is as well. They are intended for use as an outer windproof/waterproof layer (so-called "hard shell"), and do not provide much warmth. You will need an insulating layer, such as a fleece jacket, under the shell. Although I do not have a very high opinion of TNF gear, it is definitely better than Columbia gear (I have had both brands over the years). If I were looking for a hard shell these days, I would look to Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, and Arc'teryx before TNF - better made and better value for the money. Then again, you mention using it as street wear, and TNF is very fashionable as street wear. The others are intended more for real use than as fashion.

In any case, if you are doing backpacking, skiing, and boarding as winter activities, you should be layering anyway. So getting a shell from Marmot, MH, Arc'teryx, or TNF, and combining it with a fleece jacket from one of them or from Patagonia is a good way to go. Since you mention boarding, Burton has started making fairly good quality hard shells, also. Of course, if you wear Burton stuff when skiing or backpacking, you will look like an out-of-place refugee boarder.

When you are going from very active (sliding down the slope) to fairly inactive (riding a lift or sitting around the deck), you will want to be able to quickly adjust your layers to match the balance between your body heat and the air temperature. So outer shell, heavy fleece layer, light fleece layer, long johns provides a fair amount of adjustability to regulate how hot you feel. The warm all-in-one jackets are for low levels of activity, not for the situation you describe.

9:24 a.m. on January 29, 2004 (EST)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Jorge E Rosales, Jorge Rosales

Bill,

Thanks for your comments. I appreciatte that.

JR

9:26 p.m. on February 6, 2004 (EST)
37 reviewer rep
747 forum posts

Quote:

You will need an insulating layer, such as a fleece jacket, under the shell. Although I do not have a very high opinion of TNF gear, it is definitely better than Columbia gear (I have had both brands over the years). If I were looking for a hard shell these days, I would look to Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, and Arc'teryx before TNF -

I would never disagree with Bill, but I might suggest that he has a lack of experience with TNF jackets... (;->)

I have nearly as many shells as Bill and I do like my Marmot shells but I also like my TNF shells. My wife still wears my first gortex TNF mountain light to work everyday that it rains in San Francisco and besides being just a little bit faded it still performs flawlessly and the snaps and orignal zipper are perfect. Also TNF is famous for making nice fitting hoods.

A mountain light would be appropriatee for your needs, but maybe a down jacket under would be nice it so size it appropriately...
Jim S

1:16 p.m. on February 9, 2004 (EST)
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TNF experience

Quote:

Quote:

You will need an insulating layer, such as a fleece jacket, under the shell. Although I do not have a very high opinion of TNF gear, it is definitely better than Columbia gear (I have had both brands over the years). If I were looking for a hard shell these days, I would look to Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, and Arc'teryx before TNF -

I would never disagree with Bill, but I might suggest that he has a lack of experience with TNF jackets... (;->)

Well, Jimmy, I do use my TNF Kichatna a fair amount, but only as a beater jacket when I am not worried about how the DWR does not last. I also wear a couple different pairs of TNF Supplex pants for a lot of my day hikes. But I have never understood why renewal of the DWR on all the TNF jackets we have among the various members of the family does not hold up anywhere near as well as our Marmot, Patagonia, and even Sierra Designs GTX shells. And the Kichatna is still in the TNF catalogs as their top of the line jacket (current version is rather different than mine, though). The other reason I have a poor opinion of TNF is that if I put the various jackets side by side, the workmanship of the TNF jackets is definitely inferior to the others. I will say, though, that my TNF Antarctic jacket is far superior in design and workmanship to the Kichatna (that's the one you got if you contributed more than a certain amount to support Will Steiger's Antarctic crossing expedition about 20 years back, but it is also GTX generation 1).

Take a good close look at the stitching, way the Velcro and snaps are placed, attachment and alignment of the zippers, etc, on your TNF jackets and compare it to your Marmot jackets, for example. Both are 3rd World manufacture these days, but Marmot (and several of the others) somehow exercise better quality control.

I got a good look at the Arc'teryx jackets this weekend and was very impressed with the design and workmanship. When it started snowing and blowing heavily Friday afternoon, I borrowed one from the rep for a while and am almost tempted to buy one.

And, Jim, it isn't so much that I think TNF is K-Mart/WalMart/Sportmart quality. Rather, it is that for the same money (or even slightly less), you can get much better quality (and better customer service) from Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, Sierra Designs, Arc'teryx, or Patagonia. TNF were good from their startup until the late 80s, when their quality dropped substantially (coincident with their outsourcing a lot of work to SE Asia). It does appear that TNF has started to improve things recently since being taken over by VF, but keep in mind that VF's other subsidiaries in the outdoor business are mass market. VF's main goal in acquiring TNF was to add a prestige name to their outdoor lines, which hopefully means they will work to bring back the quality that TNF was when they were one of the few games in town.

August 22, 2014
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