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this company has balls

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Below is a photo of a section cut out of a North Face jacket called a THERMOBALL FULL JACKET? A friend spent the money about $199.00 for it to cut it open so he could send me a sample of the material so I could tell him about the insulation in it. To call the Thermoballs insulation is an enormous stretch of the description of insulation. The fiber that you can see I took out of the area shown on the left side the third rectangle down. This product was developed by DuPont I believe in the 1970’s and they a banded it. They were trying to duplicate a down cluster but failed. All these years later in desperation to make a product that is synthetic that will work as an insulation Primaloft has latched on to this product which they actually do not make. As far as I know it is made in Italy.

In order to use it, it MUST be quilted in very small areas as is seen here. It measures 2 inches by 1 ½ inches. Any larger and when you wash the garment the fiber will bunch up and be less than useless, I say less because it is useless to begin with as an insulating medium.

The second picture shows the thickness of the garment, about 0.37 inches at the thickest point, which is the center of each quilted pocket.

In this photograph the thickness or lack thereof is very visible. Note that every stitch line is the thickness of the two fabrics laid on top of each other, so there is no insulation there that area is where I removed the fiber seen in the first picture.

Like I said this company as well as the Primaloft company has balls.

Gerry Cunningham the original owner of Gerry Outdoor Products wrote a booklet “How to keep warm” which I have referred to for years. I consider him to be the father of the outdoor industry and my mentor. In his booklet he has a graph showing what is needed in inches to stay comfortable at various temperatures. I am choosing only one; walking when the temperature is plus 30 degrees F, one inch of insulation is required.

I went into the North Face web site to get information about this specific garment. I also called the North Face company and inquired about a guide line for wearing this garment in temperatures. The woman I spoke with told me that they DO NOT temperature rate their outerwear. That is what I was told when I spoke with Wolverine World Wide about their boots. Since these companies have no confidence in how well their products are supposed to perform it is easier to not rate them.

However, in the case of the North Face they do say some interesting things about the construction of this jacket product, i.e. that the jacket and I quote “is streamlines BAFFLED contours to fit your body.’ That is a baffling statement for me to read or anyone else who happens to know how down bags are made with baffles that separate the sections where the down is blown in. This garment was initially quilted on a quilting machine and the stitching is sewn through, it is definitely not a baffled construction. They further state and I quote “Thermoball jacket offers ultralight, highly compressible synthetic insulation to keep you warm in a variety of WINTER conditions. Our new insulation technology features round Thermoball clusters that trap and retain heat to achieve PHENOMENAL warmth in cold, wet weather. Wear or pack this ultralight jacket for RELIABLE insulation while WINTER camping in the backcountry.” (All words capitalized were done by me.)

Looking at one of these garments in a Sports Authority retail store caused me to shake my head knowing that there are many people who will buy a North Face garment at any price and when they are cold because they spent the money will otherwise defend the purchase. Brain washed I guess.

These garments are less efficient than the jacket liners I make that sell for $35.00.

This in my opinion is a serious situation of buyer beware. However, if you happen to live in Key West Florida one of these jackets will work fine if you are flying fishing for bone fish or tarpon.

Both companies have the balls!

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