Reviews - Gear Review: The North Face Verto jacket
This article was first published in the September 2011 issue of Climber magazine
THE NORTH FACE VERTO JACKETRRP: £110
Features: Helmet-compatible hood, performance fit, elastic cuffs and hem
Fabric: Pertex Quantum 100 per cent ripstop nylon
Colours: Available in Taxi Yellow, Centennial Red, Deep Purple, Voyage Blue (men's) and White or Fuschia Pink (women's)
Product info: www.uk.thenorthface.com
Back in the 70s a computer with the processing power of your average modern day PC would have filled up an entire room and needed its own power station. Nowadays you can fit more music than you'd ever want to listen to on a gadget the size of a matchbox. It may not be quite on the same scale as Moore's Law but the outdoor clothing and equipment industry is also engaged in a battle to produce ever smaller and lighter kit. One of the latest products aimed at this category is the Verto jacket from The North Face, pitched as a no-frills emergency ultra-lightweight windproof/water resistant jacket for climbers.
(Right:The North Face Verto jacket in the rather bright 'taxi yellow')
The first thing you notice about the jacket is just how light it is at 91g and how small it packs down. The material is also incredibly thin (so thin you can see through it). Despite this it's pretty strong, being made from Pertex Quantum 100 per cent ripstop nylon – though it's obviously not going to be as durable as a proper shell jacket. The design has been well thought out – it has a helmet-compatible hood, full front zip and a chest pocket into which the jacket is stuffed when you want to pack it up, and a loop so it can be clipped onto the back of your harness. Fit and cut are also well-proportioned – not too loose or baggy but still enough room to fit over a base layer or soft shell. And there's no fuss with Velcro tabs or fastenings with elastic bound hem, cuffs and hood. The colours (we had 'taxi yellow') of the Verto range might be a tad bright and full on for some tastes – but then this is purely a functional jacket for climbing and not something to wear down the pub (you would certainly stand out if you did).
We took this out on multi-pitch mountain crag routes to test and it took up no space, was quick to pull on and even quicker to pack back down into its pocket again. It's certainly not a replacement for a shell jacket but superb as a lightweight back-up to keep in your pack.
An astonishingly lightweight and tough emergency jacket that can be clipped to the back of the harness on good days when there's a chance of the odd shower or wind higher up. Not the cheapest out there, but the Verto does exactly what it says on the tin. Easy to put on and quick to pack down with well thought through no-frills design. If we had one suggestion it would perhaps be to have it available in some less lurid colours for the more conservative amongst us.
(Above Right:The Verto jacket easily packs down and clips to the back of your harness.)
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