Need a new jacket/shell

8:55 a.m. on February 20, 2012 (EST)
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I'm looking to replace my TNF Mountain Light Parka from 2005.  I use my TNF Denali fleece as a zip-in liner.

What do you suggest as a replacement??

11:13 p.m. on February 20, 2012 (EST)
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well, the north face still makes that jacket, and it is one of the few shells in the north face line that has the zip-in capability.  it is on the heavy side at 26 ounces. 

i guess my question is, are you looking for something different than what you already have, and if so, what do you plan to use this for?

a few general observations:

-figure out what you're going to use the shell for and what features are important to you, and make sure that whatever jacket you get meets those needs.

for example, some jackets have zippered armpit vents, some much larger  than others, and that is a big help for ventilation if you need it.  also, you can find shells that are quite a bit lighter-weight than the TNF mountain light but still very durable.  it could cost a little more, but you could conceivable cut 8-10 ounces off the jacket weight without appreciably hurting your wallet.  older jacket models are often a great bargain.  look at the north face point 5 jacket, a closeout that is widely on sale.  size medium weighs about 18 oz., gore tex pro shell.  Westcomb's eVent cruiser or specter jackets about 16 oz. and 12 oz, respectively and are on sale at various websites. 

-shop intelligently.  figure out what you want, then spend a little while googling the specific jacket.  also worth checking, the classifieds on this site, and other avenues where you might pick up a lightly used jacket for less money.  so long as it isn't terribly worn or mistreated, a round of nikwax tech wash and wash-in DWR will usually make a used jacket pretty much new.

-consider alternatives to gore tex.  eVent is an established, well-tested and effective waterproof/breathable membrane that is as good as or better than gore tex.  REI, westcomb, RAB, montane, and wild things all make great jackets with eVent. 

there is a new waterproof/breathable membrane, polartec neoshell, that may also be worth considering.  i haven't used it, and it's new technology, but is has received good reviews.  marmot, RAB, westcomb, and a few european brands are using this in some of their hard or soft shells.  because this is the newest one on the block, you will have a more difficult time finding a bargain, and this membrane doesn't have several years of consumer use to recommend it. 

7:29 a.m. on February 21, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks for the response!

I don't necessarily want anything different, I've enjoyed the jacket for 7 years, but it's time for a new one.  I basically wear it everyday during the winter with my denali fleece zipped in, but I also like the fact that I can take out the fleece and wear it as a lighter raincoat in the spring/summer/fall.  I do wear it to go skiing, but that's only once or twice a year out in Colorado, most of the time it's just for everyday wear here in Connecticut.  I've looked at the new Mountain Light Jacket and it's very similar.  The only difference that I notice are there are no pit zips in the new one, and my old one says "Summit Series" where the new one does not.  I don't have to stick with North Face, but already have the denali and also another TNF liner that I could use.  I got the Mountain Light on sale for $180 so I'd like to stay around there, but could go a little higher if it's a jacket that's worth it.  Thanks for your help!!

11:05 a.m. on February 21, 2012 (EST)
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you could definitely stay within your budget if you buy the same jacket.  try eastern mountain sports, USoutdoor, or the big winner, 6pm (large sizes in lime green, under $140). 

out of curiosity, why are you replacing the old one? if it's a manufacturing defect, The North Face may be willing to replace it - they have and honor their lifetime warranty.  i first got a TNF Mountain Light in the early 1990s.  The seam tape started delaminating about eight years later.  i called customer service, got instructions about laundering and sending it back, expecting them to re-tape it.  instead, they sent me a brand new one, free of charge. 

3:34 p.m. on February 21, 2012 (EST)
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I got it caught on a chain link fence and ripped a hole in it...

I bought the new Mountain Light at EMS for $179 (in black).  Is the only difference between the Mountain Light and the Varius Guide, that one is Gore-Tex and one is HyVent?  Any other suggestions?  I'm going to drive myself nuts over choosing a jacket!!  I just need to buy one and be done with it!!

8:52 p.m. on February 21, 2012 (EST)
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There are WAY too many options!!!

North Face, Marmot, Arcteryx, Mountain Hardwear, REI, EMS, etc....

Should I stick with a TNF Shell since I have the Denali and another TNF Fleece, or just get a ski jacket that is insulated?

8:56 p.m. on February 21, 2012 (EST)
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Welcome to Trailspace rpearlberg, glad to have ya aboard. 

You don't necessarily have to get a shell that is insulated. There is nothing stopping you from layering your Denali fleece under any shell out there combined with a base layer.

Just when purchasing make sure you compensate for the layers when it comes to fit. 

4:54 p.m. on February 26, 2012 (EST)
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74 forum posts

North Face makes a fair amount of "tri-climate" jackets which are shells with a fleece or light down jacket that zips in. I have one from a couple years back and it's a solid jacket. If you're a TNF fan go on their site and narrow it down to something you like and go online and price it out.

If you're looking for just a regular shell I would consider some of the new Mt. Hardwear shells like the Drystein or Kepler Jackets. They have that new Dry-Q tech that makes it pretty bomb proof. A bit pricey but you can find them online fairly reasonable now with all the clearence deals going on.

If you're on a budget, I would check out Eddie Bauer's First Ascent line. I picked up their Mtn. Guide shell last year for around $70.00 on clearance marked down from $200.00 and it's a great shell. 

If your looking for a good down jacket there are plenty of options. I own a Mtn. Hardwear Sub Zero jacket which is probably my favorite down jacket. They have an updated model of that jacket called the Hunker Down jacket and again you can pick one up fairly cheap online, or go with the TNF Nuptse 2 jacket which has been around awhile. If you want to go even heavier check out TNF McMurdo Parka which has been around awhile. I own that one to and it's great for nasty Chicago winters.



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