Are you in the market for a waterproof but breathable jacket to run in? Then check out this The North Face Flight Series jacket review, as this Futurelight running waterproof could be just what you are looking for.
It is fairly easy to only run when the weather is good. You can avoid rain, wind, fog and cold days if you want to. But as soon as you do that it impacts your training. You start picking and choosing days to run rather than running when is right for your body.
While I don’t mind jogging in the cold or the wind I draw the line at wet, purely because running in a waterproof is not very nice. My jackets either keep the rain at bay but allow sweat to build up on the inside. Or they are so breathable they don’t stop the rain. Either way I end up getting wet.
What I want is a waterproof this is breathable enough to let moisture escape. But it seems the more breathable a jacket is the less it stops the rain. I have run in jackets at both ends of the scale and neither are a very nice experience. Which is why I was keen to test the packable The North Face Flight Series Futurelight running waterproof.
Very simply FUTURELIGHT™ is a new The North Face fabric that uses nano spinning technology to provide a greater levels of breathability and waterproofness. For the first time a fully waterproof fabric has air permeability which vastly enhances breathability over traditional waterproof materials.
The nanofibre structure of the Futurelight membrane has, according to The North Face, created the most lightweight, breathable and completely waterproof material to date. Furthermore, the nano structure can be adapted to tailor its performance and durability for different activities.
The result is ultra-thin, nimble garments that feel softer, more flexible and just as comfortable as other materials. But on top of this, Futurelight also provides greater protection against the elements and it is significantly more breathable.
As we found out in this interview with The North Face sustainability manager, Futurelight is the most sustainable material they have ever created. For a start the plastic used in the fabric is 90% recycled. But at every step of production from the chemistry to the cut and sew The North Face work with partners that use sustainable and socially responsible practices.
The North Face believe Futurelight is setting a new standard in the outerwear industry. So much so that the traditional hydrostatic head and moisture vapor transmission rate (MTVR) tests do not suffice.
To evaluate how waterproof and breathable Futurelight is they needed to go further. So working with the world renowned, and fully independent, Underwriter Labs they put Futurelight through the same tests used to evaluate firefighting gear. This involved dumping over 200 gallons of water per hour onto the garment.
The good news is that the FUTURELIGHT™ fabric withstood the challenge. It received a 100 percent waterproof certification from Underwriter Labs while still demonstrating high levels of air permeability to keep the fabric breathable.
This has been backed in the real world with The North Face athletes testing it themselves. From skiing in the Alps to mountaineering in the Himalayas The North Face ambassadors have put Futurelight through its paces. They’ve climbed to the top of Everest, trekked through rainforests, snowboarded in blizzards and spent plenty of time in rainy conditions around the world.
This diverse group of The North Face athletes have overwhelmingly loved the Futurelight products.
But labs and sponsored athlete testing don’t always equate to the same experience for normal users of outdoor gear. I have had many a jacket claiming all sorts of stats, and some backed my pros, which have let me down when I needed it. So I was keen to conduct a The North Face Flight Series jacket review myself.
To do that I went running in it – in the rain. And not any old rain but seriously hard rain on a warm day to test the breathability and waterproofness. I also ran on a chillier foggy day in order to compare the performance.
Each time I ran around 7 kilometres to work up a good sweat. I run off road where there are plenty of hills so it was a proper work out for both me and The North Face Flight Series jacket.
First up in this The North Face Flight Series jacket review was a run in foggy cool conditions as per the video below. Pulling the jacket on, I was impressed with how soft the inside feels against the skin and how much stretch the material has.
Compared to traditional waterproofs it is much lighter weighing just 265 grams. It feels soft like a lined jacket but it is just a single layer. Also it does not restrict your movement at all but stretches and moves with you, unlike many waterproofs that can be quite ridged.
Running in it on a cool day I soon warmed up. The coat keeps the wind off nicely and for a thin jacket adds more warmth than you’d expect. I always work up a good sweat while running, but most of the moisture escaped.
When I got home there was just a tiny sheen of moisture on the inside of the material. It was nowhere near enough to feel damp while wearing the jacket.
It has been a shockingly bad spring and early summer here in Newhaven and for most of the UK. This has meant plenty of opportunity to run in the rain. As you can see in the video below I took it out in a proper downpour. The wind was blowing hard and there was so much rain that water was running as streams on the hilly paths I was jogging.
From this test I can confirm that The North Face Flight Series jacket is completely waterproof. The only places water got in was down the arm I used to hold the camera – it went down the sleeve. And a little around the neck where the rain was driving into my face and running down inside.
In contrast my lower half was soaked to the skin and when I took off my running shoes they were full of water! Despite the outside of the jacket being wet, which on most jackets would restrict breathability, my sweat did not build up on the inside. It was no worse then the thin sheen I experienced running in dry conditions despite it being a much warmer day and running with the hood up.
Talking of the hood, a bugbear of mine is jacket hoods that won’t stay in place. But during this The North Face Flight Series jacket review I found the hood to be excellent. You just pull the toggle at the back of your head to get the desired fit and the hood stays perfectly in place perfectly – even in the wind.
This jacket only has a single pocket which is located at the small of your back. At first I put my phone it it but it bounced around and the weight pulled the back of the jacket down making it tight around my neck. But it is a useful pocket for something light such as keys, tissues or an energy bar.
This pocket actually doubles up as a storage device as the jacket is packable. You just turn the pocket inside out and stuff the jacket in. It is fairly simple to do, although I would say the zip needs to have a pull-tag that goes both ways as inside out it is difficult to do the zip up. But once packed it is small and light and easily transportable.
The grey looking trim on the Flight Series jacket provides 360-degree reflectivity so you can more safely run at night. Reflective logos also add to the visibility. Finally, using a toggle at the back you can also adjust the hem to pull the jacket in nice and tight around your waist.
During this The North Face Flight Series jacket review I have found it to be fully waterproof and incredibly breathable. I have had plenty of waterproof coats and all eventually let water in. But I was running in properly torrential rain for around 45 minutes and there was no leak.
Compared to other waterproof items I own it is far more breathable. I had given up running in the rain because I become uncomfortably wet on the inside of the jacket. Not because of leaks but through my own sweat building up. I had no such problems with the Flight Series Futurelight jacket which gives me no excuse not to hit the trail in wet weather!
Added to all of this the Futurelight material is 90% recycled plastic and the most sustainable material The North Face have ever created. While I have not put its durability to the test I am also told it will last longer than other fabrics, which adds to the sustainability.
In conclusion this The North Face Flight Series Futurelight running waterproof is exceptional. At £250 it’s expensive, but the material is a game changer for intense activities where that require weather protection. And it’s lightweight packable nature means it is very easy to take out hiking, biking, climbing so it is perfect for action sport and adventure holidays.
I hope you found this North Face Flight Series jacket review useful. This Futurelight running waterproof costs £250 but it is worth every penny. Coming in blue or black you can buy it at many retailers or direct from The North Face.