Climbing Gear Reviews takes a look at the forthcoming 2012 collection from The North Face.
Taking a morning out of my Lakeland holiday, CGR was invivted to The North Face UK HQ for a sneak preview of the new Spring Summer 2012 clothing range. Perhaps you’ve driven by on your way to complete the Kentmere Horshoe, or bouldered at Little Font or Badger Rock, or even been for fab coffee and cakes at Wilf’s. I bet you didn’t know you were very close to the UK HQ of The North Face, tucked away in the sleepy backwater of Staveley, Cumbria.
Greeted by the lovely and knowledgable Penny I was shown the complete collection for next year, here are some of the pieces I think you should be looking out for:
Alpine Project Jacket, a great looking lightweight shell made from GoreTex Active Shell, lighter than Paclite a great looking fully featured fully zipped shell to keep in your pack for when the weather turns nasty. There is also a stylish womens version.
Alpine Project Wind Jacket, a fully featured smock style pullover for when the wind gets up, it’s got a DWR so should even shed the odd shower or two. This looks like a beefed up version of the popular Verto wind jacket.
Snake Eyes Full Zip Jacket – is this a contender for the mighty Patagonia R1? Could be; made from Polartec Powerdry and featuring a grid pattern to wick out that burly sweat, a napoleon pocket for the Blackberry and even a couple of handwarmer pockets. Looks versatile enough for all your mountain activities.
Verto S4K GTX, a new venture for TNF. They’ve been making footwear for some time now and most will have heard of or owned a pair of Hedgehogs. They’ve used that knowledge to produce a range of lightweight performance mountain boots and the Verto SK4 looks a nice lightweight technical boot. It is crampon compatible but its lack of front bale lip means that it’s more suitable for summer alpine or UK winter mountaineering. It looks a nice boot though and I reckon they looked good enough for UK Mixed up to Grade V.
To go with the boots TNF have produced another first for them – gaiters. You’re either a gaiter fan or not. I am, as I feel my feet are warmer and drier with them on, especially in the bitter December months when the snow hasn’t consolidated. So, the Gore-Tex Gaiter (that’s it, no aggressive name for these) are made from heavy duty 3 Layer Gore-Tex and Bombastic Cordura. Reinforced with burly Hypalon in all the high wear areas including a separate interior instep loop for emergency repair. They are also colour coded for ‘fast on/off’ (as we know you’ll be desperate to get out of your pit and crank when it’s 3.00am and -12ºC).
There’s also some other footwear, so look out for the Havoc Mid Hiking boots and shoes which look pretty funky. The Verto pack (which we reviewed this spring) now comes in a 32L version and continues the ultralight, packable concept.
There is also a couple of pairs of climbing specific pants that interested us:
The Highball Pants – are made from a durable and stretchy
Nylon material and have some climbing specific features
such as diamond gusset, articulated knees and a harness compatible waistband.
The bouldering dudes and chicks also get their way with the funky, urban looking Bat Hang Demin Pants. Double layer knees, diamond gusset, articulated knees and a slight stretch mean you can crank those high steps and rap to your hearts content.
For Autumn 2011 there’s the timely Diez jacket, designed as a premier layer: Highest Quality 900 fill down insulation combined with Pertex 20 denier nylon ripstop fabric and welded baffles offering lightweight protection during all-out, alpine-style summit attacks. RRP £230
There’s stacks more on offer but we’ve selected the products that we feel would interest climbers so look out for them in the shops this coming winter and spring and Climbing Gear Reviews will be reviewing some of them to help you make an informed decision.