The North Face Mountain Guide Jacket
The Mountain Guide Jacket has been discontinued. It last appeared in The North Face's 2011 product line. If you're looking for something new, check out the best waterproof jackets for 2024.
This is a good jacket with some flaws.
First its virtues:
It is completely water/windproof, warm, and fairly comfy for a tall person. The sleeves are long enough to cover my arms when they're above my head (although my movement is more restricted than they say it will be in the literature). The length in the back is great, and the high abrasion points are well proteced. I personally really like the napoleon pocket and the double slider feature of the underarm zippers.
I owned a Mountain Light jacket for three years and whenever I zipped it all the way up, it would choke me. TNF seems to have alleviated this problem in this design
TNF has crappy zippers. I own several pieces of NF gear and ALL the zippers catch on the fabric and are and incredible pain to zip up. The problem was worse on my Mountain Light jacket, and after my main zipper blew out and I hassled with North Face for about nine months, they finally agreed to replace my Mountain Light with a Mountain Guide if I just paid the difference. Then the exact day I got home with my brand new Mountain Guide, the bungee cord around the hem pulled out. Another month of hassles with the warrantee dept got me another new jacket.
One other feature that truly baffles me is the powder skirt. It works great if the jacket has no liner. But once you zip in either the fleece or down liner, they completely get in the way of the front closure of the skirt. This may have been designed this way but to what end I do not know.
Anyway, good overall jacket. The fleece lining makes it warm enough to wear in mildly cold temps without a liner, but it's definitely too warm for muggy summer conditions. I didn't have to pay full price for it up front, so I would suggest looking into comparable jackets from other makers if you're on a budget.
Fabric: Taslan, Nylon & gore-tex
Price Paid: $400
The jacket that hooked me on Gore-Tex.
This is the original jacket that hooked me on Gore-Tex products. I have the original versions from the late '90s. I used if for a ski jacket along with an everyday jacket for many years. While not as breathable or light as today's Gore-Tex jackets this was definitely a great jacket for it's day that is still being used today.
I still use it anywhere I want to stay warm and dry but don't want to worry about getting another jacket ripped or dirty like snowblowing the driveway, trimming trees, etc. The only wear and tear is that the color has faded and the outer DWR coating is gone, but that doesn't stop me from staying dry.
I love the location of the handwarmer pockets and the napoleon pocket is perfect for storing a phone and keys. The Gore-Tex keeps the wet out but the inner lining does inhibit some of the breathability. It is also a bit heavy for the warmth.
Overall it was a great purchase despite the initial high price.
As a disclaimer, I am affiliated with Gore for product testing of Gore-tex products for the purpose of product review and recommendation. I do receive items from Gore for these purposes.
Source: bought it new
My wife bought two of these jackets for our most recent trip to Eastern Europe. I thought that the cheap heavy-duty nylon hooded pullover was just fine but apparently she did not agree, in short the jacket was money well spent. It covers all temps from late fall to early spring. For those occasions where space is a premium this and the fleece liner will cover just about anything.
We traveled from as warm and geographically west as the Canary Islands to as Far East as the mountain border of Checslovakia and Poland. The jacket with the accompanying liner proved to be very warm, dry and adaptable.
The only thing that I noticed was that the Velcro is causing a little damage to the jacket but other than that it is fine. It is a truly outstanding cool/cold weather travel jacket. There are so many large pockets, and hidden pockets that you will feel your valuables are very secure behind the heavy-duty zippers and Velcro.
Just a quick side note: Beware of imitations being sold on Ebay and elsewhere. We were almost taken before we found some web sites that pointed out what to look for— in a nutshell only buy from a reputable merchant if you are buying it for its capabilities otherwise you will be sorely disappointed! Here is the web site:
and here is a link to the Ebay discussion boards on the subject:
As a not too reformed boy scout, this jacket may be overkill, until you get more than a shower and a breeze. It is absolutely watertight, wind tight, easy to move in and tough as nails. It is a hefty 2.5 lbs., but for climbing above treeline, it always makes me feel warmer due to the liner, which can allow for a lighter fleece underneath. It does not ventilate particulary well, but does seem to distribute sweat due to the liner. It is very well designed and keeps drafts out due to numerous cuffs in the bottom hem and waist area. I compared it to other TNF jackets and Marmot, and find this jacket to stand up well in less favorable weather, because of its slightly longer back which covers your seat, and heavy material at shoulders and elbows, which withstands ropes and backpack straps without a trace of wear. Easy to adjust closures and elastics with one hand, even in mittens. Too much jacket for backpacking in moderate weather. Well made, as it ought to be for the price. I special ordered through REI. I would not have this as my only waterproof, but would not trade it in soggy, cold and windy conditions.
Fabric: 2 ply Gore Tex
Price Paid: $395
(yes things are more pricey in Europe...)
So I HAD a 2007 model of this jacket, which I was hugely impressed with, fantastic (albeit 2 layer) Gore-tex pro shell, highly abrasion resistant, stretch panels on shoulders, powder skirt, waterproof zippers etc. etc.
Now, this jacket was stolen from a locked car a month ago...so ordered the 2008 version with the insurance payout.
I'd just like to say just how dissappointed I am in TNF. The 2008 model is now single ply regular Gore-tex, flimsy feeling nylon outer that wouldn't last a minute on a real rock without being torn to shreds, lower quality design with no high strength pannels, and a removal of the zip in fleece liner design of 2007. The cut of the jacket is slightly different as well, and the 2 to 3 inch wide panels that masked the pit vents are now gone.
This jacket is still priced at the 2007 level though the quality and spec is now closer to a $100-$150 jacket, all it has from what I can tell is the "Summit Series" badge.
Needless to say it's going straight back for a refund. please don't buy this jacket, spend your hard earned cash on an Arc'teryx or similar. Very poor North Face.
Price Paid: $500
I hope this may help any prospective buyers who are considering TNF.
The jacket has enough features to consider it as overkill, but you will appreciate them when you need them. The strong fabric is great, and the core vents on the 2000 model are much more convenient than the pit zips.
For those who complain about the fit of TNF jackets, just try a jacket on before you buy one. I would also recommend a darker colored jacket as the lining shows through the light colored shells. Many people also criticize TNF for being trendy or selling out to the general public, but it happens with everything. I have lived my whole life in San Diego and seen this many times with surf clothing. When a company has a loyal following and becomes widely known, the people who fancy themselves as knowing something that nobody else does get mad and move on to some other "boutique" brand. I'm sure that yuppies will be wearing MTN Hardwear soon enough.
It isn't worth it to pay anything close to the $410 list price for this jacket, so just be patient when searching for a good deal. I got mine at campmor for $199.
Fabric: 2-ply Gore-Tex
Price Paid: $199
A large complaint of other reviewers of TNF product is the price. This shouldn't be a problem with the popularity of this brand. I found this shell for $259.99 -- not on sale. TNF doesn't have very good customer support though. The warranty is great, but it usually takes some time to get things fixed/replaced. I haven't had any more trouble with this shell than with others I've tried from Sierra Designs and Mountain Hardwear. The complaints are true, however. The jacket (mine is a yellow color) will show the darker color underneath the yellow DWR nylon outer fabric once the fabric becomes saturated with water (this will happen on ANY jacket after heavy rain). This is just appearance, not function, and is not noticable on the darker jackets.
This jacket has a great fit. The arms seem longer than previous models -- which was a complaint. I would recommend this jacket, but I think you would be better off spending the extra money on TNF Kitchatna 3-ply shell. It is more durable, but at the same time, heavier and more "crispy."
Fabric: Taslan/ 2 ply Gore-Tex
Price Paid: $410 MSRP
Would not buy a North Face jacket again following this experience.
- Excellent pocket placement
- Breathes very well, until 'wet out'
- All season use, great in winter
- Gore-tex inside jacket is shredding
- Proper washing and DWR spray couldn't restore repellency
- Problematic zippers; pocket liner not durable
- Outer layer 'wets out' after one year
Bought this jacket from a North Face dealer online. Thought it was a great deal at the time: <300$.
Would definitely not buy a North Face jacket again following this experience. North Face warranty is not what it used to be, and surprise surprise neither is the quality :(
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $300
This is the best jacket I have ever bought. It was an incredibly expensive jacket to purchase as North Face does not stock Australia. It is one of the only brands of jackets with pit zips to let out extra heat. In Australia you have to get pit zips specially tailored into jackets you buy as Gore-tex doesn't endorse it as a waterproof garment if it has pit zips.
I hiked around Uluru Ayer's Rock in Central Australia recently in a huge storm and it kept me perfectly dry and at a comfortable temperature. It has a great series of pockets to store stuff and a skirt to keep snow out when boarding. Hood is generous so you can wear a beany to keep your head warm. Goretex is hard wearing. Nothing to complain about except the price.
Fabric: 3 Ply Goretex
Price Paid: $650 (Australian)
I tried on two Mountain Guide jacket in men's medium. A red one and a yellow one. I notice the yellow one overall has a looser fit than the red one. My first instinct was the red jacket is a women's medium, upon checking the tag it's a men's medium also. I check where the jackets were make, the red jacket is made in China and the yellow jacket was made in Indonesia. I ask a salesperson whether he has any knowledge of the fit difference relevant to place of manufacture. He was as amazed as me. I try on another jacket made in China and again it's a tighter fit. I don't know whether that shipment of jackets where mistagged? I don't know how widespread this is, so beware.
Fabric: 2 PLY GORTEX
Price Paid: $325 CAN.
I have to agree with the others that the cut and design of this jacket falls short. It is cut in such a way that the armpits are very tight, it is so strange. I think it might have to do with a poor design/implementation the armpit zippers --after wearing the jacket for a day, you actually have chaff marks in your armpits from the zipper scrapping you! Also the hood is detachable, but there is no place to put it, and it is bulky, so if you put it in a pocket, you have to live with the bulge.
Price Paid: $188
Well I'll have to say that I'm pretty happy with it. there are a few problems though; It wust be made for small people -- I'm 6'2" and I have the XL. I find that the armpits are cut way too low, which means the jacket snags and lifts when my arms are out-stretched above my head (not an ideal design for climbing). The fleece zip snags the outer zip and the fit is too loose! the fold away design for the hood dosen't work very well either. Other wise it's a good jacket and protects well!
Fabric: 2ply / 3ply
Price Paid: �300
I've always liked TNF equipment but they seem to have lost it on this one. It could have been a good jacket but the sleeves are too short -- My girlfriend's Mountain Light jacket, a woman's size small, has longer sleeves. Also the sleeves are not cut to allow reaching upwards movement.
The elastic draw cords also appear to be poorly sewn in and become detached very easily.
I thought this jacket would have been just a longer version of the (excellent) mountain jacket but in fact it is very disappointing.
The Mountain Guide is very similar to the Mountain Jacket. It has a longer reinforced butt area which is nice for snowboarding. The jacket has a problem with the zippers brushing against a cold chin, which turns miserable. A neck gaiter is a must. There are two sets of zippers one to zip in an extra fleece so it's double the problem with two zippers. The North Face really needs to put some plush material near the face.
Price Paid: $375
This jacket is just right (if not overkill) for those of us who backpack, winter backpack, snowshoe. It's totally water tight, the lining is like a lightweight fleece, the pit zips are huge, it's very durable, and keeps out all elements. I think you could use this jacket for mountainering but, i would probably buy a 3 ply for that. But it is a great jacket.
Fabric: 2-Ply Gore-Tex Taslan
Price Paid: $265
I have absolutely no complaints about this jacket. It keeps me dry and I do not sweat (too) much. The pit zips work well but I would advise you to wear a polartec jacket with pit zips too. Only then they work really well.
The pockets are well placed. I bought it 2 years ago and so far it is going strong.
One to recommend!!!
Fabric: 2-PLY GORE TEX
Price Paid: 15000 BELGIAN FR.
This jacket completly bombproof. It does a fantastic job of keeping the water out. It has pit zips, ergonomic hood, the whole nine yards. One thing I really like about the jacket that the hood allows you to wear a helmet underneeth it. I have absoloutly no regrets about buying this jacket.
Fabric: Ambush Gore-Tex 2-ply
Price Paid: $395
This is a follow up on the review I wrote a long time ago. The jacket is no longer in my possesion, because it leaked and I got a refund. I guess my review was a little too optimistic...
Fabric: gore tex
It is a great jacket! It is wonderful in rain and snow, but still breaths well in warmer weather. Downside is that it is expensive. I have mine for about three months and it has already paid for itself.
Price Paid: $395
Pricey but worth it. It's loaded with features. Comfortable to wear and good protection from wind, rain and snow etc. Maybe go for a three-layer jacket for really extreme stuff though.
Fabric: 2-ply Gore Tex, Taslan and Ambush
Price Paid: £270
I think that even though it is a nice jacket, it is a big fat ripoff to sell a two-layer jacket for 400 bucks, even if it is North Face.
Fabric: two-layer gore-tex
Price Paid: $400
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