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July 2017 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Insulated jackets

The North Face Morph

Price:

$500

Our Rating:

The Morph is a lightweight, 800-fill down jacket that delivers an impressive amount of warmth. Weighing 312g (w: 282g), it is also the lightest jacket we reviewed.

In addition to the 800-fill down, which provides more warmth for less weight and a greater compressibility than most of its rivals, a 20D nylon outer fabric saves weight.

A breast pocket and two ‘hand-warmer’ pockets, all zippered, and a waist cinch cord to keep drafts out, complete the jacket’s features. The movement on the zips is smooth, particularly on the main zipper, which is slick and snag free.

One of the first things I noticed when I took the jacket out of its packaging was the puff of down that billowed around it. The North Face talk up its new stitchless baffles, but the seams appear to continuously leak down. This may turn out to be immaterial to the longevity of the jacket, but it doesn’t give the impression of quality and craft you’d expect in a premium jacket.

Another drawback of the Morph is that it’s the only jacket in this review that doesn’t boast some kind of water-resistant filling. Hydrophobic-treated down is fast becoming the norm, especially among high-end jackets and sleeping bags, so this seems an odd omission in this jacket. In all likelihood, it reflects that it is designed for North American winter conditions, where dry, sub-zero conditions make water resistance somewhat moot, but that’s not so in New Zealand conditions.

This jacket offers remarkable warmth for weight and is a good choice for winter adventures. But the price tag, the amount of down leakage and the fact the jacket does not use a hydrophobic down fill are minuses.

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