We take a detailed look at the ultimate winter pants from The North Face and say ‘…bring on the rain’
The North Face Men’s Point Five NG Pant is a fully featured mountaineering shell pant made in 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell for serious alpinists.
The North Face has really made progress with clothing design since their collaboration with the instructors at Glenmore Lodge in Scotland. Scotland has some of the wildest and most changeable weather conditions in Europe so any clothing designed to operate there is going to be well designed.
The North Face Point Five NG Pants didn’t disappoint, they have performed excellently in every situation I tested them in from all professional day wear to technical rock and winter climbing. I would even say they have been the best pair of hardshell pants I have ever worn!
Ah, Point Five. Any UK winter climber will have fond memories of their ascent of this most classic of winter routes. Even if you haven’t done I’d bet good money you would want too! So it’s great to have TNF’s premier hardshell pants named after an iconic and world class route. In these days of softshell pants it’s easy to ditch the hardshell pants in favour of lightweight climbing. But it’s only when the weather turns nasty or you’re standing under thawing ice in your own little shower that you begin to appreciate them. So having a pair of well-designed hardshell pants is worth an investment.
The North Face Point Five NG Pants are a fully featured hardshell pant made using Gore-Tex Pro Shell. This is a lightweight; three layer fabric that worked a treat in active use, the fabric was light when wearing them, very waterproof and hardwearing, so ideal for Scottish Winter, serious Alpine climbing or any cold weather mountain activities. There is a great hardwearing crampon patch that is an extra layer to the Gore-Tex so you have double thickness in this area. The Point Five trousers also have an integral gaiter, which had a zip closure and lace hook on the front. This kept the worst of the snow out of my boots but they only worked well with a boot with a high ankle to it.
The fit of the Point Five NG pants was absolutely brilliant; they have been the best fitting hardshell pants I have worn in long time. The fit is fairly, but not aggressively, athletic and they are obviously made for climbing in. They positively slid on and then seemed to fit very closely. The waist is lined with a nice tricot lining which is glued in but not laminated – this is important to note as the lining will last longer and not rub off over time. They have a press stud fastening and then further fastening by a hooked metal buckle. I can see the idea of this as it slims the profile when wearing a harness, but I would have liked the loop in the webbing to have been a little bigger as the buckle was awkward to use with gloves on. I reckon, though that the idea is when the belt is on its staying on all day. The whole waist area is designed to be comfortable with a harness on and it most definitely was pretty much perfect, The North Face Point Five NG pants excelled in this area and got five stars for the design in this area. They also had a nice, high back that helped keep the wind out.
The pants had an innovative, removable braces set up that worked just with front loops. The braces are fully adjustable both at the front and at the back via a hyperlon cross buckle. I’m not a great fan of braces but these worked really well. The idea being that they keep the back of the waist clean and comfortable on long belays with a harness on. A nice innovation and you can tell they have been designed by winter climbers.
The leg fit was also excellent, the regular inside leg is a 32” and this felt about right for my 175cm frame. The YKK Aquafoil style side zips, with a storm flap, ran the whole length of the pants and this was great for both putting on with boots on and also offered a little adjustment at the waist. The zip tag again was a little small and I would have liked to have had a more glove friendly one to make the zip action a little easier. The style was quite wide fitting, so the trousers had a definite ‘boot cut’ feel to them. This didn’t mean they got in way of precise foot placements or crampon work however as they worked a treat.
The North Face Point Five NG Pants also come with three pockets, two slightly angled waist pockets and a thigh one. I felt this was a little excessive, the two waist ones were handy when walking in when it was windy but the thigh one felt a little redundant and unnecessary. They were well designed however and didn’t detract from the climbing.
I’ve worn The North Face Point Five NG Pants all season, non-stop for everything both professionally and recreationally. They are fully waterproof and never leaked once even in all day rain. I’ve worn them rock climbing, scrambling, winter climbing, for mountain days and they have performed brilliantly. Once I have them on I feel no need to take them off. They really are an ideal winter climbing hardshell trouser that will serve you well for many seasons.
They come in three colours, I tested the Forest Night Green, they also come in Black and Sulphur Spring Green for the extrovert. The waist sizes range from 30-38 inches and the leg sizes are Regular and Long.
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