Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The North Face S/S'14 Running Gear Review

Wearing my TNF gear, yo.

As much as I love reviewing shoes, I really like reviewing running apparel. You can have the most amazing shoes on your feet when you go out for a run, but if the apparel doesn’t feel right it can still make for a pretty lousy run.

After our Fall/Winter ’14 The North Face apparel review, The North Face sent us some of their Spring/Summer ’14 running apparel and Mountain Athletics line-up to review for our blog. I’ll definitely say that over the years The North Face has become one of my favorite companies for both casual and running apparel. Here’s a list of what is reviewed below:

The North Face Torpedo Jacket
You can tell a lot about a jacket by the way it feels before you put it on, but not always. When I first got the TNF Torpedo jacket, I thought it would make a great jacket for colder weather (when layered), early spring/late fall mornings, or even as a stowaway jacket during the summer. That seems to cover most of the year except crazy cold winter temperatures, right? Right.
TNF Torpedo Jacket
I’ve run in this jacket in about every temperature you can imagine that occurs between 30*F to 80*F. It performs well in the cold when layered with The North Face (INSERT). When it’s between about 45-60*F, I usually wear The North Face (Better Than Naked) top underneath and it’s perfect. I’ve even worn this jacket to test up to 80*F on a shady, windy day, and while I was worn, when I kept it unzipped almost all the way it was OK, especially when it was raining pretty hard.
TNF Torpedo in its natural environment
When it rains or snows, the jacket gets wet for sure since it’s not waterproof but it’s resistant enough that I didn’t get soaked underneath and it dries pretty darn quickly.

I’ll also add that this jacket is quite wind-resistant.

The back pockets were great for putting my train pass, some money, phone, and some gels.
TNF Torpedo Jacket - The pockets on the back and the vents, love it!
It also makes for a pretty decent everyday jacket. Multiple uses!

The North Face Mountain Athletics Ampere Short-Sleeve Crew
I was super excited when TNF sent us some of their new Mountain Athletics gear, which is a new line of clothing from The North Face designed for multiple outdoor activities while providing the classic TNF durability. The Ampere Short-Sleeve crew has quickly become one of my favorites. Besides having a somewhat athletic fit, the Body-Mapped ventilation and FlashDry-XD fabric makes this shirt one of a kind.
TNF Ampere Shorts Sleeve
I primarily used this shirt to either layer during colder temperatures or as a stand alone during warmer temps, so it’s quite versatile. I think this shirt particularly excels in moderate to warm, humid weather and rainy conditions. No nipple chaffing occurred while wearing it, which is a big plus for me. Even after downpours or even light mists, the Ampere SS crew dries very quickly on the run. On humid days, it wicks sweat away just enough so that it doesn’t becomes like a typical technical shirt that is just soaking wet afterwards. It dries off and keeps me cool during humid runs.
Crushing some loops in the TNF Ampere Shorts Sleeve

The North Face Mountain Athletics Kilowatt 1/4 Zip
Another classic from the new Mountain Athletics lineup is the Kilowatt ¼ zip. This piece has abrasion-resistant fabric, which should be good for those of you carrying sandbags or using ropes to climb during inclement weather, cooler weather, or windy conditions. I just run, so I cannot comment on this, but this long-sleeve 1/4 th zip has the feel of durability and quality.
TNF Kilowatt 1/4th Zip
I wore the Kilowatt primarily on really windy, cool, or rainy runs when temps were 65 degrees and under. If it was around 50-65 degrees, I would wear it without any layers underneath, under about 45 degrees, though, I would layer it with either TNF Better Than Naked shirt or the Ampere Short-Sleeve crew. Again, the FlashDry-XD technology is legit – whether in rain, snow, or humid conditions, it dries quickly on the run and never has that “heavy from water” effect that is common in most technical fabric.

The North Face GTD Running Shorts 5”
The GTD running shorts 5” are without a doubt one of my favorite shorts. While we here at Vagabond Running like to run in short-shorts, sometimes it’s nice to show a little less leg. For some reason, when it’s super humid or rainy, I tend to chafe a bit more, and I appreciate the extra material running down inner thigh that prevents chaffing. The FlashDry technology also meant that on humid and rainy runs, the shorts don’t stay wet that long, which I REALLY love. Nothing like running in wet shorts for more than an hour to ruin a perfectly good run in my opinion. I also like the liner brief, which I come to expect in all my shorts now. That extra support is nice. There’s also a back zip pocket that is just big enough to hold some cash, a gel or two, and my house keys without weighing the shorts down. The elastic band is loose enough around the waist that I never feel any discomfort, which is important since I have a sensitive GI.
TNF GTD Running Shorts 5"
5/5 here. Love this gear; love The North Face. Not only is this great gear for Spring and Summer, but it's solid gear for Fall, too! We at Vagabond Running highly recommend the TNF gear reviewed above. 

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