The competition in the ultralight waterproof/breathable rainwear department will be heating up with North Face's introduction of their 5.4 ounce Triumph Anorak in early 2008. No, it's not the very lightest (the Sierra Designs Isotope Jacket at 5.2 ounces holds that claim), but the Triumph is sweet and definitely worth considering.
The North Face Triumph Anorak modeled by Backpacking Light's Techniques Senior Editor Mike Martin.
What's unique about the Triumph is that it's built with only two fabric panels - the hood and the body - to eliminate seams and save weight. The fabric is 15 denier (2.1 oz/square yard) HyVent DT, which is an applied polyurethane coating with a textured print matrix that physically separates the PU coating from the skin to give it a “dry touch” feeling. The textured coating eliminates the need for a liner and is commonly referred to as a 2.5 layer fabric.
The Triumph's 2.1 ounce HyVent fabric is a bit heavier than Sierra Designs' 1.17 ounce Nanotech fabric, but it creates a sturdier feeling rain jacket. The Isotope by comparison feels more like a windshirt.
Feature-wise, the Triumph is fairly Spartan, as one would expect. It has a nice fitting adjustable hood, short front zipper, one chest pocket, water-resistant zippers, elastic cuffs, and hem cinchcord. The Sierra Designs Isotope Jacket is more feature-rich, with a full front zip, two zippered chest pockets, and two inside drop pockets.p>The ultralight choice stacks up between the sturdier but more Spartan TNF Triumph Anorak versus the wimpy but more feature-rich SD Isotope Jacket, and the deal breaker will likely be found in their comparative performance and cost. Yes, cost is a significant factor; the Triumph costs a steep $179 while the Isotope is only $90.
We are anxious to get samples and test both jackets side by side in the field. At this time I'm not recommending the TNF Triumph over the SD Isotope, but I do believe it will be a strong contender.
Bummer: it's available only in black or white, and the cost is steep at $179.
Specifications and Features
- Manufacturer: The North Face
- Style: Anorak (pullover)
- Fabric: waterproof/breathable HyVent DT 2.5 layer (polyurethane coated ripstop nylon (2.1 oz/sq yd)
- Sizes: Men's S,M,L,XL
- Features: Two panel construction, seam taped, reverse coil zippers, adjustable attached hood with brim, right chest pocket, elastic cuffs, hem cinchcord
- Colors: Black, white
- Average Weight: 5.4 oz (152 g), verified by our scale
- Available: January, Spring 2008
- MSRP: $179