Although I received The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket in April, I couldn't properly start testing it until later, thanks to the unusually dry weather we had in the UK. I should be so lucky, as the closer we got to winter, the more miserable the weather turned, allowing me to push the jacket (and me) to its absolute limits.
I've been using one of the best waterproof jackets from The North Face for the last few months, and it's safe to say that should the weather ever turn extremely miserable, I'll be choosing this jacket to protect me from the elements – the Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket does wonders in keeping you dry and safe.
That said, it isn't my first choice regarding anything but the worst weather due to some technical issues. Neither of these takes much away from the experience, but combined, they make The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket somewhat less competitive in its price category.
Read my full The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket review below to find out if this is the waterproof jacket you've been looking for or if you're better off with a similar model from another brand (or TNF).
The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket review
The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket review: price and availability
The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket was launched in April 2023 and is available to buy now directly from The North Face UK for a recommended retail price of £270 (approx. $342.54/ AU$ 509.45, exact US and AU price and availability TBC).
It's available in both women's and men's versions in two colourways (each). The women's version of The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket comes in Dark Sage and TNF Black, while the men's variety Optic Blue and TNF Black colours.
The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket review: specifications
- Type: shell
- Best for: hiking, mountaineering
- Waterproofing technology: TNF DryVent 3L
- Waterproofing (HH): approx. 30,000 mm
- Breathability: no information available
- Fabric: 100% Nylon With Non-PFC Durable Water-Repellent (Non-PFC DWR) finish
- Hood: helmet-compatible
- Pockets: one zipped Napoleon chest pocket, two zipped side pockets, and one stuff pocket (inside, right)
- Pit zips: yes
- Sustainability: not applicable/not sustainable
- Weight: 21.7oz/ 616g
The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket review: design and build quality
The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket uses the brand's DryVent technology and is constructed with a semipermeable polyurethane coating. The 3L variety is reserved for the most technical garments in the collection and uses a 3-layer construction.
Featuring a non-PFC DWR external layer, the Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket is best suited for technical activities, such as advanced hiking and mountaineering. It has oversized pockets that sit higher, so you can access them even when wearing hiking backpacks (e.g. The North Face Trail Lite Backpack), a large Napoleon pocket for maps, pit zips for improved ventilation and an adjustable helmet-compatible hood.
The construction is superb, albeit a bit stiff and heavy. A men's medium Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket weighs a hefty 21.7oz (616g), and due to the thickness of the fabric, I found it impossible to fold it into its stuff pocket (I used the hood as an oversized stuff pocket).
All those qualities make the jacket an excellent rough-weather shell, but they certainly don't add to its versatility, which is why I wouldn't choose The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket for hikes in interchangeable weather. The Arc'teryx Beta Waterproof Jacket is a better option for that.
The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket review: performance and comfort
The Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket was launched as part of The North Face Technical Hike Collection in April, which, if you ask me, is a bit of strange timing for something as rugged and weatherproof as this shell. This is also why I waited so long to test it; I had to wait for the weather to decline so I could see just how waterproof the jacket was.
The jacket is indeed highly waterproof, and I couldn't feel any wind while wearing it, either, thanks to the 3-layer DryVent protection and the adjustable bottom hem and cuffs. Some reviewers complained about the size of the hood – it's helmet-compatible, after all – but I found it just fine. Maybe my head is as big as others' with a helmet on? It's possible.
I appreciated the thickness of the material and the infinitely adjustable hook-and-loop-fastened cuffs of the Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket in windy conditions – those Velcro-style cuffs provide a better fit than jackets with button-fasteners (see also: Jack Wolfskin Tapeless 2.0 Jkt review).
One advantage of the stiff fabric is that it doesn't roll up under your backpack, exposing your lower back to the elements. I found the length of The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket perfect; it's not long enough to restrict your movement but long enough to cover some of your glutes.
Ventilation in the jacket is okay, although some might find the addition of pit zips a telltale sign that it can get hot in the jacket. As I always say, there is no such thing as 100% waterproofing combined with 100% breathability; in this case, the Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket is more waterproof than breathable.
And there is nothing bad to say about waterproofing. The DryVent 3L construction provides an equivalent of 30,000 mm (HH) waterproofing, which is exceptionally water-tight. If you need a jacket that will keep you dry in a tropical storm, The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket is what you need.
The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket review: verdict
If you read my The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket review above (and didn't just skip to this part using the jump links), you know this shell isn't the perfect waterproof jacket for all occasions. It's a bit stiff and heavy, and the Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket isn't the most breathable garment, either.
However, it's a superb outer shell for mountaineering and other outdoor activities where you need the best protection against the elements. This jacket will keep you bone dry, thanks to the 3-layer DryVent construction, the large hood and the adjustable cuff and hem.
Highly recommended for those who need the best protection from the elements and need a reliable outer shell when hiking up mountains or trekking coastal paths in December with the wind blowing into your face horizontally. If you need something less hardcore, check out my recommended alternatives below.
The North Face Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket review: also consider
The Mountain Equipment Makalu Jacket is the reason why I didn't give the Stolemberg 3L DryVent Jacket five stars. Powered by Gore-Tex's new ePE membrane, this superb waterproof outer layer that will protect you from the elements in the mountains or anywhere else where you might need a reliable, durable, waterproof shell for walking or cycling. It's really good. Read my full Mountain Equipment Makalu Jacket review.
Another excellent alternative is the Columbia Ampli-Dry Coat. It's an affordable, unfussy, highly functional waterproof jacket that keeps the elements at bay without sacrificing too much on breathability. For the price, this is an excellent option for those who mainly stick to day-length dawdles in non-alpine environments. Read Pat's full Columbia Ampli-Dry Waterproof Jacket review.