Ever found something you immediately fell in love with? I don’t fall into those kind of relationships often. Am I jaded, or just particular? In any case, something good did come along, and I wanted to brag on
her it. We’re talking clothing, specifically shell layers. Specifically the L5 LT Futurelight hoody by The North Face.
At least in my pervue, they got this thing so right for ski touring I’m having trouble publishing a balanced review with a modicum of crit. Yeah, I want dual napolean pockets, instead of one, and a pair (instead of one) drop-in pockets big enough for any size climbing skins. The groovy beacon pouch inside the chest pocket is excellent, but could close with a bit of something so there’s no chance seeing your electronics go spinning and jouncing down the mountain in a joyous imitation of rockfall. Trivial stuff for me. On to the goodness:
What it is: Minimalist shell jacket the much hyped but probably excellent Futurelight waterproof/breathable super-light super-breathable fabric.
Fit: My size medium fits my skinny, 5 foot 10 inch (177.8 cm) perfectly trim in the torso. No provision here for a beer gut. Clearly, large guts are not this garment’s demographic. The sleeves have reasonable circumference. I can wear a medium-thick puffy underneath without my biceps feeling like they’re in a sausage skin. (Be advised my arms are skinny, but the amount of room seemed fine for all but someone spending six hours a week building a set of barceps.) Sleeve length errs on the long side, they come down to my second knuckle. Fine, I’ll take anything but high-water sleevage. Hood would probably fit over a NASCAR approved helmet.
Pockets: One drop-in on the inside, one napolean on the chest. No waist pockets that add weight and assume you don’t wear a backpack waistbelt. Chest pocket easily doubles as an inverse storage pouch for the jacket– always one of my wants.
Other: Velcro cuffs; waist drawstring; heavy duty zipper. Weight 314 grams, size medium. Built with Futurlight fabric, which in my testing is proving to be nearly as breathable as soft-shell, super comfy. Available fall 2019.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.