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July 2015 Issue
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The North Face Hyalite

Price:

$550

Our Rating:

Built to meet the high demands of alpine environments, TNF’s Hyalite uses breathable, waterproof HyVent Alpha 20D three-layer fabric to provide light (only 373g, w: ), durable performance.

A relaxed, generous fit, the Hyalite has good length in the sleeves and torso, with plenty of room for extra layers, and allows for arms-raised poses without the hem rising up.

Water-resistant pit zips are positioned a little forward-of-centre for accessibility, and are a great length, providing optimum ventilation and access to the pockets on your mid-layer beneath. There are two mesh-lined external pockets and on the inside are an open-topped and zippered pocket.

The front zip is smooth and does up nice and high to cover the chin. The problem here is the chin guard, which, although long and wide, becomes obtrusive and damp in continuous bad weather and from condensation breathed out by the wearer.

Hem adjustment is incredibly easy. Cinch cords in the hip pockets offer one-handed operation – whether tensioning or releasing them. The helmet-compatible hood isn’t too voluminous to wear without one, and when adjusted vertically and horizontally, fits like a hat, moving nicely with your head without the peak sitting too low across your face. In fact, the stiffened peak is at a perfect height for visibility in all directions, but the encapsulated hood adjusters are awkward to reach, with the horizontal one being set high on the crown and the keepers for the vertical difficult to find and operate.

Although priced at $550 and intended for high-country use, the Hyalite is loaded with features, is comfortable and accommodating and would make itself at home as a general purpose jacket, whether on the coast or in the mountains.