Gear Review: North Face Torpedo Jacket

So, my first review of a great jacket.  Sorry for the time between posts.  More inspirational stories, an update on the success of my diet, my training regime for my next races, and my next run for SouthSide (which will really be a year long challenge, but more on that later!)

Here are my impressions of the North Face Torpedo Jacket:


Wind Resistance   A
Comfort   A
Convenience   A+
Style   A
Front View

Front View

All runs were in sub-25 degree temperatures (I know that’s nothing for you up north, but them’s the cards I was dealt) with one of the days being pretty windy (various weather websites had the “how it feels” temp down to 15), and one of the nights being a half marathon called the Shivering Icy Trail Run (I may post a race report once my fingers finally thaw).  Because I don’t mind running in extremes as long as I can create a comfortable environment bubble around me, I used it as a shell over two thermal layers.  Sans the shell, the wind would cut through these layers like a scythe, as was evident by my having to cut my planned 20 mile run short because the gloves I was wearing were not up to the task.I’ve test-driven the North Face Torpedo jacket on more than a few cold days here in St. Louis, and I’ve got to say, I’m impressed.  I started looking for a good light, yet wind and water resistant jacket when my bulkier jacket became too cumbersome and my lighter jacket that I use for running in the Spring and Fall was not up to the task of cutting the winter wind.

Wind Resistance- A

While not completely blocking said wind, the jacket performed very well.  On longer runs, I employ a run/walk pattern and during the walking bits is when I need heat retention.  The jacket took more than a few gusts full on and I only felt the slightest discomfort on either my core or my arms (hands, as mentioned before, were another story).

Comfort- A

SONY DSCEven though I don’t swing my arms like Phoebe when I run, I don’t like to feel restricted.  The jacket was true to size and even with two thermal layers underneath, I felt like I could move very well.  Because it’s light, I wasn’t weighed down (although if you do ever feel weighed down by a running jacket, you probably should consider adding some upper body conditioning exercises to your training routine) and the collar was felt-padded (not sure of the technical term), so even fully zipped, I didn’t experience any chafing.  There’s no cord to draw the bottom tight, which I find nice, but not necessary as long as I tuck my other layers into my bottoms.

Convenience- A+

The jacket has two front zip pockets that I used for both keys and my iPod.  I like the fact that North Face connected the interior liner of the pockets so it could be used as additional.  My favorite, though, is the dual back pocket.  SONY DSCFirst, an accessible pocket that could be used for a water bottle or food, and a zippered pocket to hold the keys you don’t want to put in the front pocket.  Counting the interior pockets, that’s six total!  It doesn’t have a dedicated music player pocket, but I’ve always found the holes to push through your earphones fiddly (another technical term), so I don’t consider that a negative.

Style- A

Good reflective strips, choice of colors, and I just look good running in it! SONY DSC

So, a great jacket that I will be using for a while.  Questions initially about water resistance, were laid to rest during the Shivering half marathon.  It was cold, then rainy, then sleety, then ridiculously cold over the course of a few hours and the jacket kept me dry (can’t say as much for my gloves or shoes, but my torso was fine!)

Finally, quick poll- since I’m a bit of a gear geek, I’m happy to review more products I use, but if it’s a waste of your time, let me know. I’ll go with the majority.