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The North Face Mountain Jacket

rated 4.5 of 5 stars

The Mountain Jacket has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best waterproof jackets for 2024.

photo: The North Face Mountain Jacket waterproof jacket

I have found this web site very good when you are looking for some new outdoor gear and because the reviews that I have seen here have helped me much I want to help other readers. I know there are people looking for new jacket, and I want to tell my opinion.

I have used TNF Mountain jacket for one winter. I must say that it is the best jacket, if you are looking for multipurpose jacket for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, everyday-use and other winter sports. I have used the Kichatna too, and but I think there are many reasons to choose a 2-ply jacket instead of 3-ply.

A 3-ply jacket is a mountaineering tool for very hard core mountaineering or skiing thru Greenland etc. The material of the jacket is not as soft as in 2-ply jackets because of the third laminate, and using such a jacket creates ugly noise. 3-ply jacket might breathe little better but the difference is so little that it doesn't matter: if you run fast for an hour you are totally soaked wether wearing a 2-ply or a 3-ply jacket. Of course there is no liner that would be wet and cold in 3-ply jacket, but I have found that the ThermaStat liner in Mountain jacket dries up very fast.

A 3-ply jacket wears much faster than a 2-ply jacket. The outer ripstop fabric looses fast it's DRW water repellent, and then your jacket gets cold and heavy, because the water gets thru the outer fabric and in a rainy day when sun doesn't shine it takes very long time to dry again. I have found that the DRW in 2-ply jackets stays somehow better, or maybe it is the outer fabric of Kichatna, I don't know, but the fact is that after few years of use, the DRW is finished, and it doesn't help much to add it as spray etc. Also the gore-tex laminate in the edge of gore seam tape seems to wear faster in 3-ply jackets, and that means that the jacket is not waterproof anymore.

In very challenging conditions, the advantage that there is no liner that would be wet and cold for half an hour after hard work can be so important that it is vise to buy a new Kichatna after every other year (I think it's the same thing with Marmot Alpinist Climbing Jacket III and all that kind of jackets). But be a realist, few of us are North Facce Athletes or Himalayan climbers, If you are looking for a jacket to be used in mountaineering few times a year, ice climbing, backcountry skiing in Lappland once a winter, in your Annapurna trek in Nepal, then I think you should buy the Mountain Jacket or some other 2-ply jacket. It has so many advantages, that for normal user it is the best jacket available. Good Luck!

Fabric: 2-ply Gore-tex with Thermastat lining

The North Face Mountain and Mountain Light

I have owned both coats for several years now and love them both. Both of these are well made products. Of course, these are the ones with the pit zips. I wouldn't have them any other way. I don't care for the core vent coats.

It is funny to read all of the complaints about the light version. You people are comparing apples to oranges. The Mountain Light is a three season coat, that one can stretch to four season with a zip in fleece (ie, the Denali). I have used it year round.

I do prefer the Mountain for winter sports (hiking, skiing). I have used it with and without a fleece. It is great both ways, just depends upon what I am doing.

Otherwise, I like the Light for all around use.

For those of you who hate TNF, just as it is trendy for people who would otherwise not have such gear to wear it for the name, it is trendy for you to put down the company and its products. I have been using TNF gear for 27 years. The only complaints I have had was a seam split on a pack once, but TNF repaired free of charge and quickly, too, and yes, I have caught the liner on my Light once or twice in the zipper. Big deal.

I would bet my life on the TNF gear that I have.

Fabric: Gore Tex 2 ply

I bought my Mountain Jacket about three years ago, never failed me. During the big Montreal Ice Storm it revealed to be extremly reliable. When you are buying a jacket, if you're a serious hardcore outdoor person you know that you can trust North Face. If you need a waterproof jacket to walk your dog than you probably don't need a $600 (CDN tx incl.) But on the other hand if you're going trekking when the weather is uncertain... I wouldn't trust anything else because I hate to get wet even though I'm a rafting guide.

Last Christmas I went to buy the linning to put inside and realized that TNF have changed all the zipper thus making everything not compatible... Instead of being pissed I just called the rep and he told me to send it back to have the zipper changed. That's what a called service. Than By keep chatting with him he simply told me that on second thought he would replace the entire jacket by their latest model. How can someone expect more that that? So to make a long story short I don't think that I will ever buy anything else than North Face simply because North Face products works and they stand by their product. My only advice to those who aren't happy with North Face, just call the rep and he will make sure that you will become an happy customer. But don't abuse it...

Fabric: Cordura Gore Tex 2 ply
Price Paid: 495 CDN

This jacket is a piece of equipment that will save your life in extreme wet and windy weather. I have sampled many Gore-tex jackets, and this is the only one that kept me dry in a downpour. It has 3 interior pockets to store things, and keep things from freezing (snacks and drinks). The two outer pockets are roomy enough for extra "snivel" gear.

The hood is extremely functional, and allows you to adjust the fit to a "T". The drawcords can be tightened or loosened without taking your mittens off. And, the armpits can be ventilated easily on the move. Not to mention, the jacket has a lifetime warranty. North Face is really good about making repairs if you happen to break a zipper or draw-cord.

This is the best "Weather Proofing" layer you can buy, and once you own one, you'll never want to buy another jacket. On a satisfaction scale of 1-10, I give it a 15. Kudos to Northface. It's like the Ferrari of jackets.

Fabric: Shell: 100% Nylon Laminated w/Gortex PTFE LININGs 1: 100% Polyester LININGs 2: 100% Nylon
Price Paid: $375

I recently bought a 1996 Mountain Jacket and a Denali Fleece for use as a liner. It has worked extremely well in all conditions I have encountered so far. On a recent snow-camping trip I took to Bear Valley, CA, with MAS (An excellent climbing/skiing/telemarking/snowboarding/mountaineering guide and instruction company: the Mountain Jacket kept me warm and dry even after several hours of digging a snow cave.

Also, when it gets extremely windy, I have found that the hood does a very good job of keeping the wind from blowing directly into my face. Additionally, the jacket design is second to none in terms of intuitive design. The velcro on the sleeves allowed me to easily take on and off my guantlet gloves (also NF) w/o having to struggle w/ a sleeve that was too large or small.

Although the price of this jacket is prohibitive for many people, you really do get what you pay for.

Fabric: 2-ply Goretex
Price Paid: $375

I bought my Mountain Jacket several years ago because it seemed to be one of the more rugged jackets on the market. I have used it for skiing, fishing, canoe tripping, deer hunting hiking, camping etc. it is basiclly bulletproof. After 3-4 years of heavy use it has faded a bit but still looks as good as new. Put a 5 inch rip in the middle of the back last year with a ski blade (my fault, not the jacket's).

PROs: awesome protection from nasty Canadian weather.

CONs: does not breath very well (I'm assuming because of the liner) in nice Canadian weather.

Everything said and done, this jacket works very well for outdoor activities in a cool & wet or cold climate, this is what it was designed for. You can tell some thought has been put into the product, it does not pull or bind during activities...

Fabric: Gore
Fill: nylon Liner
Price Paid: 450 (CAN)

This jacket is great. The first one I got I pulled a zipper tab off the jacket and sent it back to be fixed and I got a NEW one! With an apology letter saying that they made sure that the zipper tabs on the new jacket would not screwup, ever! Since then it's been to Grand Teton (in the summer and the winter twice) and many other Teton range climbs. Also ice bashing in Colorado and Wyoming @ Miami Ice (where it had an unfortunate accident with an ice a, yet lived to climb another day.) Also to 17'500' on Denali (you know how beautiful that Alaskan high altitude weather is, ha!) and next summer it will be, hopefully, on the summit of Acachangua in Argentina. This thing will probly out live me. If you don't have one you should!

Have fun

Fabric: 2-layer gore-tex
Price Paid: $375

Is everyone sick of TNF bashing? Ok, so they sell it at department stores and for some reason the hip hop crowd loves them, but hey if they want to pay alot of money to wear it around the city -- whatever. I have taken this coat in the White Mountains of NH many times. It has preformed great in -30 temps with heavy snow and 50-70 mph winds. Ok this is not the Himalaya, but the Whites do get some pretty brutal weather. It keeps me dry and windproof. I think TNF still makes a good product and with their frequent sales and outlet stores -- they make it affordable to those who can't afford to spend on the other "cool" brands. If you can get this jacket for under $300, it will perform well and for a while. Enough said.

Fabric: 2 ply gore tex
Price Paid: $280

I got my jacket on a super low deal, and since then I have worn it everywhere--skiing, fooling around outside, going to freezing cold hockey rinks where I was wet and going to extremely cold mountain peaks. (-2 at the top with a wind chill that made it feel like -20) I only have a fleece zipped into it and it as toasty as a microwave. The waterproof and windproof shell is made out of a tough fabric that has so far withstood everything--dogs clawing at it, ski poles hitting it and ice tearing at it. basically, if you do not like parkas or they are just not the thing for you this is the perfect jacket for cold weather in windy and wet conditions. Oh, it has another plus--since it is short you can wear a harness with it.

Fabric: GORE-TEX
Price Paid: $200

Kick-ass product, which is what I've come to expect from TNF. Used the jacket on a Rainier summit in 2000 when I had to stand beside the ruts for 45 minutes while another climber was taken down to Disappointment Cleaver. The wind blew and the water bottles froze, but not me. I was toasty warm with the hood pulled tight around my head.

I'm 5'7", so this length works better for me with a harness than the longer-length Mountain Light. I have a 200 weight and a 300 weight fleece that are integral to the jacket. The velcro adjustments at the cuffs are a breeze, with maximum flexibility. Articulated elbows and hood are great features as well. You can buy an older version with the pit zips instead of the core vents and save yourself big bucks. Get one and never look back.

Fabric: Goretex Shell
Price Paid: $395

I have the same opinion of this jacket as with all other TNF gear. For around-town use, maybe mild weather, it is a pretty good jacket. But held up to the weather that it is made for, it fails badly. The seams leak water and I wonder if it is truly wind-proof as opposed to wind-resistant, since I rarely stay warm in it. But worst of all is the zipper. TNF needs to start making zippers that don't catch and tear the jacket, because I've seen the same problem in their $600 sleeping bags as well. My suggestion is to buy Mountain Hardwear, as you will never, ever go wrong with their gear. And guess what? Their zippers even work!

Fabric: Gore Tex
Price Paid: $249

For the price I paid there isn't another jacket on the market I would rather have. Not necessarily a summer jacket, but awesome for any other time of year. I'm very picky with my gear and this thing is well designed and well made. What I like most is the cut of it. It's not a full length parka with too much fabric to get in the way. Just a trim athletic fit with freedom of movement. The fabric is tough as hell. The hood works well. No complaints. If I were to pay full price, I probably have gotten something different, but since TNF is so easy to find on sale, every smart buyer should get one.

Fabric: 2 ply G-tex
Price Paid: $270

I've always stayed dry and warm with this jacket (coupled with the bib pants), even in the most extreme conditions. Best jacket I've ever had.

Mine is the old design from the mid-'90s and it's cut short for a harness. This is much better than the others that are cut too long... the long ones are okay for backpacking, but for climbing the short cut is better and doesn't get in the way.

Only problem with mine is that I bought it in Europe and the stupid zippers are backwards -- makes it impossible to zip in a liner.

Price Paid: Don't remember

An amazing jacket. Lots of pockets, cozy lining and perfect hip length. Arms are kind of long though. When teamed up with the Nuptse down filled liner it is toasty. I've worn mine in -40 degrees Celsius temperatures up here in Canada and it has performed flawlessly. It is kind of pricey, but this is one case where you get exactly what you've paid for. I would highly recommend this jacket to anyone.

One word of warning, avoid the Mountain Light Jacket. What a disappointment.

Fabric: 2-ply Goretex
Price Paid: $375

My Jacket is almost 5 years old and has found itself in many situations from 300 miles off the coast in the Atlantic, backpacking, sking, and high angle SAR rescues. Other then killing the zipper the jacket has functioned flawlessly with several different liners in many climates. I think any short comings on the jacket have been corrected since my purchase, ie. hook & loop to keep pit zips open and new type of zipper. Overall a great jacket that will not disappoint any hard core adventurer.

Fabric: Gore-Tex 2-ply fabric, Supplex Tasian, Ambush Cloth
Price Paid: $350 or so

I went to Galyans shopping for a new shell. The salesperson (at two different locations) told me they have had many quality control problems with the NF shells. He said they have a section in the stockroom with return defective items and it has a lot of NF shells, and none from Mountain Hardwear or Marmot. He even showed me jackets on the sales floor that had seams pulling apart and pockets sewn in poorly. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Fabric: Gore
Price Paid: $325

I had a Mountain Jacket from years ago that delammed. As a replacement they gave me the "new improved" Mountain Jacket with core vents.

What a piece of junk. If you are at all active core vents are garbage. They don't stay open at all. When I'm randonee skiing (climbing) I usually unzip the stupid thing as it's the only way to vent. Needless to say this really doesn't work well when it's snowing hard.

DON'T buy this jacket.

Price Paid: none

This is a great coat. I've owned two of these coats, the first one was a '94 model (it was burned in a fire). The '96 model is very well designed, some of the minor problems with the '94 were corrected on the newer coat. (Velcro to hold pit-zips open, better cuff design, better hood design, etc...). This coat is extremely waterproof (and when combined with a down or fleece liner, will keep you warm in virtually any weather).

Fabric: Nylon / Gore-Tex, Ambush Cloth reinforcement at wear points
Price Paid: $375 (US)

For the last five years I have been a deticated customer of TNF and when I needed a new jacket I looked first at North Face. I purchased a Mountain Jacket about two years ago and ever since I have had notihng but problems. The shoulders leak on the seams, the zipper is very rough, and the velcro on the wrists do nothing but flop open. I recommend that you look elsewhere in buying a jacket.

Price Paid: $365

I bought my jacket last year and I have loved it. I live in Buffalo, N.Y., and up here my jacket gets a whole lot of use with our 75 inch average snowfall. I also wear it in the rain. This is by far the best jacket that i have ever owned. I also bought the fleece liner that goes in the jacket and when it is in the 40's I wear it around town.

Fabric: Gore-tex
Price Paid: $365

This is truly a outstanding jacket. Features like the hood and how you are able to adjust it and how much it covers is excellent. Also the cuffs and how they allow you to put on your gloves after putting on the jacket is nice too. I put my jacket through hell mountaineering in Colorado and it came out perfect. This jacket can go through anything and I would definitely recommend it.

Fabric: 2-ply goretex
Price Paid: $380

Version reviewed: 1997

For me the sleeves are rather long for normal use, for climbing they will be okay. I like the feature to adjust the hood, drawcord etc with one hand. The collar is not my favorite, the hood is rolled up to form the collar. Overall it is a very nice jacket and I hope to have lots of fun and good hiking with it.

Fabric: 2 ply Goretex
Fill: Thermastat liner
Price Paid: DFL 799,--

High quality jacket. The Mountain jacket has a lightweight lining that the Mountain Light jacket does not. So in warmer temperatures wearing the jacket without any zip-in layers is comfortable. Having a "gore shell only" can be chilly when wearing alone. This jacket is bit pricy but the quality and life time warranty makes this article worth ever penny! You won't be disappointed.

Fabric: 2- Ply Gore tex
Price Paid: $375

I've had it for six years now, and it is the best jacket investment I've ever made. I remember those years in the past where I would buy some shitty jacket every year, just to replace it the next. Until I tossed down the big bucks for this. Now I'm always warm and dry. Buy it, you deserve it.

Fabric: Gortex and other stuff
Price Paid: You can get them for $250 on the web

The greatest technical cold weather jacket I've ever owned! Combined with TNF Polartec liner (Denali) it is incredibly warm. I use the jacket primarily for skiing, and it works out just great. I especially love how waterproof and windproof the jacket is. I would definately recommend this piece of extreme-wear to anyone who wants to stay dry and warm!

Fabric: 2-Ply Gore-Tex
Fill: Polartec Fleece Liner
Price Paid: $375

I think that this is a very good jacket. It allows you the movement that you need when climbing. It stops all the wind and rain but lets your skin BREATH! Everything about the jacket is perfect except the hood. It isn't the most comfortable thing in the world and it doesn't stop the wind getting to your face.

Fabric: Gore-tex
Price Paid: £260

It is red and really the best jacket that I have ever owned. it has the ski skirt and all of the bells and whistles. It is a shame that the jacket is just so expensive, but it does the trick when you go skiing warm and dry that should be something that North Face is known for.

Fabric: Gortex

I just bought my second mountain jacket. My first was purchased in 1983 ($250), and has performed extremely well. Through 14 years it still shed water beautifully. I would not be replacing it except that I have literally worn it out after wearing it almost every day since I first purchased it. I'll never own another brand of jacket.

Fabric: Gore-Tex
Price Paid: $375

I love this jacket... I got it in '95 and never take it off. If you have any doubt in the weather just take the Mountain Jacket and the Denali (fleece that zips in it) and you're set to go. You have to get one..

Fabric: 2-ply Gore-Tex
Fill: CoolMax Lined
Price Paid: $375 US

Really nice jacket, but a bit too expensive. I guess you get what you pay for. North Face outlet in Berkley sells it for $279, but no mail order.

Fabric: Gore-Tex 2 ply
Price Paid: $375

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