You all know I’m a fan of outdoor gear, particularly the colourful, non-hideous, kind. When I’m out adventuring, ice-climbing in Finland or abseiling down a waterfall somewhere, I need to know that my outdoor gear will keep me dry, supported and warm or cold depending on the environment. So when Millets gave me the chance to test out some of their new North Face outdoor gear, of course, I had to accept the challenge. I selected a pair of shoes, a jacket and a fleece and they were kind enough to gift them to me. Before this I had only owned one North Face product (a fleece), but I’d heard great things about the brand so I was excited to test a variety of their wares on some good, muddy, Irish terrain. Now, let me tell you how I got on with my shiny new outdoor gear and whether or not I’d recommend them for your future adventures!
North Face Gear Review – What Did I Think?
Women’s Hedgehog Fastpack Gore-Tex Shoe
I chose these walking runners as I already have a few pairs of walking boots. I wanted to try walking runners as packing walking boots as well as a pair of normal runners takes up a lot of space while travelling. So I figured, these are a neutral colour, so I’ll getaway as wearing them as if they were normal runners too and hence won’t have to pack an extra pair of shoes in future. As most of you will know, when you first get a pair of walking boots, you need to break them in. You can’t just put them on and expect them to feel comfortable. You’ll need to take them on a few trial runs before you attempt your next hike or risk blisters and bleeding ankles. This is NOT the case with these babies. From the minute I put them on I felt like I was walking on a cloud. They never once felt uncomfortable. I kept telling everyone “They’re the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn”. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever put a pair of shoes on that fit so perfectly straight out of the box. I reckon it’s the Vibram soles! As I mentioned above, I hoped that I might get away with wearing them as every day runners too, and I did. Going through security in the airport I didn’t even have to take them off, which I absolutely would have had to do if they were hiking boots. The black colour meant that they went perfectly with my jeans and leggings when out and about exploring a city, without making me look like a lost hiker. I wore these hedgehog (cute name too) fastpack shoes in snow, ice, rain, mud and sand and never once did my feet get wet. The Gore-Tex did its job perfectly! ANYWAY, I highly recommend them if you’re looking for a new pair of walking/hiking/outdoor boots. At £110(€125) they are a big purchase, but still relatively cheap in comparison to other hiking boots and brands. And, well, it’s a small price to pay for what are the most comfortable shoes my feet have ever encountered. You can find them here.
Women’s Quest Waterproof Jacket (Pink)
I LOVE a colourful jacket. And a thin, light waterproof jacket is ultimately more useful than a large, heavy padded one. You can pack it easily and it’s perfect for layering. You can use it for hot and cold climates, which is handy for me with travelling. I don’t have to think of it as a seasonal item. I wore it with only the fleece underneath. It kept me dry and I didn’t feel the wind at all, everything you would expect from a waterproof jacket. The sleeves are elasticated at the wrists instead of Velcro, which I personally LOVED and found a lot less fiddly. The hood can be adjusted to fit perfectly and stay up via a toggle at the back. It does come in other colours but as I said before, I love bright colours. I always recommend getting a size bigger in waterproof jackets so that you can put a few layers under them without worrying that they won’t zip up afterwards. The normal cost is £95 (€105), but look for sales and you could get it at a fraction of the price. I’m pretty sure it’s around £66 at the moment in the Xmas sales. You can find the jacket here.
Women’s 100 Glacier Half-Zip Fleece (Black)
I’d always recommend a full-zip fleece, which is more convenient for getting on and off as well as ventilation. North Face have plenty of these, but for some reason I have two of the half-zip ones. I have one in black and one in bright blue. They’re great for under a down jacket and waterproof jacket in a cold environment. I’ve worn mine in Peru hiking the Inca trail, in Finland, and, of course, in Ireland. My original one has lasted for nearly 7 years, and casting around £45.00 (€50) that’s pretty good value for money. I like the simple logo and the high collar to keep you extra toasty. I’m 5 ft 8 inches and the sleeve length was just right for me on the “Large” size. I would say these fleeces run small, size-wise. If you like a more loose fit then definitely go a size up. But maybe that’s just because I have giant boobs. That’s really the only minor negative thing I have to say about this fleece. It’s an incredibly handy item to have in the backpack/suitcase/wardrobe and I’m happy to recommend it. You’ll find it online, here.
If you want to shop the North Face range then make sure to check out the Millets website here.
*Millets did provide me with these 3 items of North Face outdoor gear as a gift. However, as always, these opinions are completely my own. I was not paid to write this article and Millets had no editorial control of this review. *
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