The North Face has created a tech-packed, ultra specialised collection for high-alpine adventures. The 21-piece Summit Series Advanced Mountain Kit introduces five new, proprietary tech and construction innovations, all aimed at helping the wearer take on some of the Earth's harshest environments. If this all sounds a bit familiar, that's because the collection was first announced in early 2020, but the launch date was pushed back as a result of the pandemic, which means it's only just now on sale.
The pieces are designed to be layered together to create one super breathable, packable, lightweight system. Let's take a closer look at some of those new fabrics and technologies.
First up, Cloud Down, which appears in the L6 Parka. TNF makes some of the best waterproof jackets around, but this – as you'd expect – is an entirely different beast. Cloud Down uses an offset baffle construction between the inner and outer layers to give more room for the down to loft, delivering the most warmth in the lightest package. It's aptly named, because this coat is the puffiest, snuggliest looking parka we've seen for some time. It has a distinct Michelin Man vibe that we imagine we'd appreciate on the top of a snowy summit.
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That's not all on the down / baffle front! The range also introduces something called 50/50 Down. From what we can gather, this combines down-proof baffles with a face fabric that's ultra-breathable, to allow heat to escape when it needs to.
Moving into some of the lower layers, you'll find 'FutureFleece'. This new technical fabric is constructed from hollow, octagonally shaped yarn ('Octa-yarns', of course) that again delivers better thermal performance and a light weight.
For the base layer that sits next to the wearer's skin, TNF employs a new a 'Dot Knit' fabric that aims to put it a cut above the best base layers currently on the market. There's a hydrophobic inner with a hydrophilic outer, and the sweat gets pulled through holes in the fabric, away from the skin.
The range also uses Futurelight – TNF's ultra-light, breathable waterproof fabric, already found in many of the brand's other garments.
North Face reps say the innovations reflect years of research. In line with the brand's 'Athlete Tested, Expedition Proven' mantra, TNF also roped in elite professional alpinists to collaborate on the design and testing of the system.
“This kit, and the process to develop it are extraordinary. The level of detail and thought behind each piece is noticeable," says professional alpinist for The North Face, David Göttler. "This is simply the lightest, most functional kit I’ve ever worn, anywhere in the world and I’m looking forward to many more adventures in it."
Check out the full range on The North Face site here.