Can anybody explain the North Face trend to me? *
by Nitschke (2012-12-11 09:01:02)
Edited on 2012-12-11 09:01:15
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Their higher end technical stuff remains very good
by JPH  (2012-12-11 12:57:06)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But they definitely flooded the market with every shade of fleece jacket, though, once they convinced high school girls it was a mandatory accessory. At that end of the market, it's become more of a badge or trend product, as others note below.

I recall their founder (who's name I don't recall) laments their broad commercial expansion of the past decade or so. He's a central figure in the documentary "180 degrees South," which for all it's Birkenstock wearing tree hugger-ness, is worth watching. The eye feasts on the scenery.

I think the founder cashed out somewhere along the way and has since bought an incomprehensible amount of land in Patagonia (the region not the brand). He also married the ex-wife of the founder of Patagonia (the brand, not the region), Yvon Chouinard, who remains a close friend.


Here's the trailer


if anything, this thread has reinforced my faith in them. *
by HoltzBeWithUs  (2012-12-11 11:41:18)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


It's what every American teenager and college student must
by Milhouse  (2012-12-11 10:42:44)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

wear while in Europe. In Italy in February 2008, 75% or more of every group of American kids was wearing the same black North Face jacket.

"Mom? Can I get a North Face jacket to express my individuality? Everyone is doing it!"


What's the alternative?
by coachslacker  (2012-12-11 10:36:45)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

That may go aways towards responding to your question.


Moncler *
by bcbp  (2012-12-11 12:44:16)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Patagonia. *
by AZDomer  (2012-12-11 12:33:52)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Yes, absolutely. *
by WilfordBrimley  (2012-12-11 13:59:24)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Amen times a billion
by zahmnd  (2012-12-11 12:50:22)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Just absolutely superb products.

Then again, I get so much free Patagonia stuff through work conferences that it's hard to stay objective. Free is hard to beat.


Patagonia is insanely overpriced
by thecontrarian (click here to email the poster)  (2012-12-11 14:03:55)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But the quality is pretty solid.

I have a Patagonia jacket from 1987 that is still going strong today.


It's not overpriced if it lasts that long. *
by grnd  (2012-12-11 14:15:42)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I should have used the term "Apple-esque" or "expensive" *
by thecontrarian (click here to email the poster)  (2012-12-11 15:42:21)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


The South Butt (link)
by Tommy Baseball  (2012-12-11 12:21:06)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


We got our daughter a Lands End jacket that has been great.
by grnd  (2012-12-11 10:45:07)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Very high quality, very warm, and very well designed.


Arcteryx, Mountain Hardware, Helly Hansen, Marmot...
by Shadyirish  (2012-12-11 10:43:31)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

...Patagonia, Rab, Outdoor Research, Columbia, LL Bean, Salomon, Sierra Designs to name a few of the most widely available brands offering comparable quality and pricing in softshell jackets.


Cloudveil *
by TripleDomer  (2012-12-11 11:43:24)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Some of those brands
by Starburns  (2012-12-11 11:23:09)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Wildly outstrip North Face on the price point. I have found mountain hardware, outdoor research, and arcteryx to be significantly more expensive for similar items.


Not really, comparing similar products.
by Shadyirish  (2012-12-11 12:15:39)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

You'll pay around $100-150 for a good everyday lightweight softshell/fleece, around $250 for an all-purpose outdoor activity ready softshell, and a small fortune for mountaineering gear. It's pretty much the same pricing structure. TNF sells more in the lower end of that pricing structure, but if that is what you are looking for then other companies, like Marmot or Columbia or Helly Hansen will offer comparable variety of styles in that price range.


Marmot., Helly Hansen, Eddie Bauer...there are many. *
by ndroman21  (2012-12-11 10:43:23)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Columbia *
by DoubleDomer0307  (2012-12-11 10:42:12)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Patagonia *
by EricCartman  (2012-12-11 10:40:50)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


LL Bean *
by OGerry  (2012-12-11 10:39:21)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


If you live in New England perhaps
by NavyJoe  (2012-12-11 10:43:11)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But I can walk into a mall anywhere in the country and try on a North Face jacket. Not really the same thing with clothing from LL Bean (which I also like).


Does your jacket size really vary that much? *
by ndroman21  (2012-12-11 10:44:01)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Not necessarily
by NavyJoe  (2012-12-11 10:51:03)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But, both companies do have more products than just jackets. I won't answer for anyone else, but I hesitate to buy clothes online that I have not at least tried on before.


Their returns/exchanges are phenomenal
by 88_92WSND  (2012-12-11 18:05:43)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

and the outlet stores are spreading (not to Ohio -- please)


Its easier than wearing an "I am a tool" t-shirt. *
by 84david  (2012-12-11 10:34:53)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Well made clothing and excellent customer service.
by ndroman21  (2012-12-11 10:17:51)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Pretty simple really.


It's the Honda Accord of jackets.
by Irish Tool  (2012-12-11 10:08:25)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Wildly popular with simple styling, but most importantly it just works damn well at a solid price (bit more than a bargain brand, but no one mistakes it for a luxury item).

Despite the fact that it performs its job perfectly, it's of course positioned to be ridiculed by the Back Room for being so popular and the purchase thereof implies a lack of style /individuality /etc.


It's the Samuel Adams Lager of jackets. *
by Nitschke  (2012-12-11 13:30:41)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Two to three times the cost of a comparable Columbia.
by thersh  (2012-12-11 10:54:48)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

It is quite a bit more than a bargain brand.


That was not our recent experience.
by grnd  (2012-12-11 11:02:55)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

We just got our G13 a North Face jacket. Not surprisingly, she wanted one because lots of kids are wearing them. We checked out Columbia first on the belief that you could get every bit as good a jacket for significantly less. The comparable Columbia jacket, however, was essentially the same price as the North Face jacket.


I paid $95 for a heavy-duty jacket
by Bruno95  (2012-12-11 11:28:00)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

that does the job down to about 20 degrees, and $300 for a real winter coat. They are probably the two highest-quality things I own. The winter coat cannot be put on until the second I leave the house, or I will risk heat stroke.

Maybe other brands do a similar job, but I've never felt I overpaid for North Face stuff. It's excellent.


With some things, you get what you pay for.
by grnd  (2012-12-11 11:44:06)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Paint is one in particular. Coats and winter coats specifically are another. We've always purchased cheaper coats for our kids just because they needed new ones every year. But I wore a Patagonia coat for over 15 years. It was embarrassingly expensive but lasted forever such that it turned out to be a very good deal.

We were okay shelling out more for a new coat for G13 because she has done most of her growing (we think) such that she can have this coat for several years if not more. North Face makes really good coats. I'm not sure if North Face has lowered its prices or Columbia has raised its, but the costs were very similar.


Do you find that the sleeves are difficult to tear off? *
by Buck Mulligan  (2012-12-11 11:43:29)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Flexing does it for me. *
by Milhouse  (2012-12-11 11:47:48)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Nope *
by Nitschke  (2012-12-11 10:19:33)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Yep *
by Irish Tool  (2012-12-11 10:36:48)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Nah. *
by Nitschke  (2012-12-11 10:44:36)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I bet Malcolm Gladwell could. *
by Mr.Natural  (2012-12-11 09:55:44)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


My North Face kept me warm in the Gobi Desert in the
by dbldomer7375  (2012-12-11 09:49:55)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

depths of winter.

Those Inner Mongolian winters can be brutal.


Is your name Slawomir Rawicz? *
by CMillar  (2012-12-11 10:22:21)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Sadly, no.
by dbldomer7375  (2012-12-11 10:37:44)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

All my adventures are true. I have pictures.


Excellent. *
by CMillar  (2012-12-11 10:39:38)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


It's a common trend in specialty outdoor clothing.
by Shadyirish  (2012-12-11 09:37:22)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Companies start out being niche players, making some sort of specialized clothing. If they are successful there, they eventually figure out that there sales growth will be limited until they break out of their niche and market to a broader demographic than cave divers or artic kayakers. They stop selling sporting goods and start selling a lifestyle. Sometimes, as with A&F, Eddie Bauer, or AEO, any pretense of providing outdoor gear is abandoned, sometimes they coexist, but the quality of the outdoor wear deteriorates as it is marketed broadly (recently, Keen). North Face is not really a surprise though, they were never a great niche player (softshell jackets are their forte and are a great mass market product), they made good outdoor gear, though I never found it to be top quality or very innovative (at least in the 20 years I've been noticing such things).


Because people love bland looking outerwear. *
by CMillar  (2012-12-11 09:30:08)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I love clothes that keep me warm. *
by NavyJoe  (2012-12-11 10:12:42)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Around 2000, North Face exploded as the wilderness/snow
by undfan211  (2012-12-11 09:08:42)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

sport look took off. The North Face benefited from the category growth and took of even more because of the efficacy of their fleeces and coats, which were incredibly warm. That caused demand to soar, and the very useful fleeces became status symbols rather than purposeful apparel.

The trend was really from 1999-2003.


Kids at my high school were wearing it in the early 90's. *
by Giggity_Giggity  (2012-12-11 09:39:21)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Patagonia and NF sort of filled the void when CB...
by Shadyirish  (2012-12-11 10:04:20)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

...went out of style, and they never left. Remember CB jackets in the 80s?


I'm a little younger, but
by captaineclectic  (2012-12-11 09:54:48)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I can promise that it was insanely popular among Michigan prepsters in the late 1990s.


Probably the best jacket I've ever purchased though
by NavyJoe  (2012-12-11 09:21:30)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Got one of their fleeces at the Navy Exchange for $75 back in 2007. It's been my go-to jacket ever since.


2nd. And their customer service is top notch.
by ndroman21  (2012-12-11 10:16:55)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

They take their lifetime warranty seriously. I'm on my 2nd free shell. I bought a Mountain Light jacket in high school, abd tore it skiing 5 years later. Sent it to them, and they sent me the current version. This was about 2002.

I had that shell until about 2008, when the Gore-tex lost its ability to bead water. It still didn't come through, but it would soak into the fabric and take a long time to dry out. Called, they said send it in, and they sent me another new one.


Completely agree
by JClarke  (2012-12-11 10:07:40)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

They make good stuff...I have a 10 year old TK100 I still run in although on a recent trip to San Francisco I noticed that every other person had a NF jacket on so it's certainly trendy.


that's my issue with this thread.
by HoltzBeWithUs  (2012-12-11 10:07:02)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

their jackets and fleece are freaking warm.


Sounds like the Land Rover story *
by Ty Webb  (2012-12-11 09:14:22)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


It didn't hit the suburban housewife until 2006. *
by Nitschke  (2012-12-11 09:10:24)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Yes
by TJ Mcfly  (2012-12-11 09:08:37)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Wore NF stuff climbing Kilimanjaro.
by Wooderson  (2012-12-11 15:38:43)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Kept me warm in pitch black, -20 weather.


I do, actually, go on a lot of adventures.
by Rockbrig97  (2012-12-11 10:23:19)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I wear North Face gear when skiing, when running ultramarathons, and on my recent 4 day Inca Trail hike. It's warm, reliable, and warrantied. In short, I'm a huge fan.


OT: Inca Trail
by epmnet37 (click here to email the poster)  (2012-12-11 10:53:36)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Would you mind if I asked you a few questions about your Inca Trail trip? I'm going in March. Email attached. Thanks so much!


Rec for a guide company
by Starburns  (2012-12-11 11:20:20)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Though you didn't ask. Llama Path. Ridiculous name, excellent company.

I wore a bit of north face gear on my trek too, but the item that got the compliments from rangers and other park personnel (who I wager see more whiteys in high performance outerwear than anyone else in the world) was from Lululemon.


We're using Peru Treks
by epmnet37  (2012-12-11 11:53:09)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I think recommended by someone else on this board, now that I think about it.

Questions I have, in case others would be able to weigh in:

How important is it to have boots with ankle support? I have a great pair of Merrill hiking shoes that are well-broken in, and I don't do a ton of hiking, so I'm hesitant to spend the money on another pair of shoes that I wouldn't use much, plus they'd need to be broken in as well. (Also, they'd be pretty bulky to carry around the rest of my trip.) I'll have a porter to carry most of my things, so I'll just have a day pack. I'm thinking I might just get a couple of light-weight ankle braces to use if it seems necessary when I get there. I'm not sure if that makes sense, or if I'm just being cheap and stubborn.

Also, how much of the trail involves walking right next to very steep drop-offs? I'm not terrified of heights, and it won't talk me out of going or anything, but it would be nice to know in advance so I can psych myself up for it.


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