After several months of vigorous testing, The North Face Enzo jacket has proven itself time and time again. Made with Gore Tex’s Pro Shell 3L fabric, it is possibly the most waterproof, breathable, wind resistant and durable jacket I’ve used
Arguably one of the most important pieces of an effective layering system, a good shell can keep you dry and warm but must also stand up to the rough and tumble world of backcountry skiing – be it bushwhacking through dense undergrowth, repeatedly crammed into a backpack or standing up to the abrasion of backpacks and continual movement.
The North Face Enzo jacket is part of the company’s premiere Summit Series and is priced – due in large part to the sophisticated Pro Shell material – at the top of the range at $449 USD. While this may be daunting, if you consider the lifespan and functionality of the Enzo the steep price tag is more reasonable.
- Fixed, helmet-compatible hood
- Asymmetrical front zipper
- “Hook and loop” adjustable cuffs
- Underarm zippered vents
- External forearm pocket with goggle wipe (quite useful)
- Recco avalanche rescue reflector
- Fully taped seams
- Waterproof zippers
- Ergonomical fit
- Removable powder skirt
- Lifetime warranty
- Matching pants available
I found the fit of the Enzo, with its removable powder skirt, ergonomic and comfortable. It features two external hand pockets and one chest pocket with polyurethane, waterproof, “laser cut” bonded zippers. Inside is a “media” security pocket (which curiously didn’t have a small hole to allow for a headphone cord) and two larger, open “goggle” pockets (which seem more like skins pockets, but were too small to fit larger skins for bigger skis). The Enzo is well designed and simple – another enduring trait of a shell layer.
The real selling point of this jacket, however, is the Gore Tex Pro Shell 3L ripstop fabric. TNF claims this material excels in extreme conditions and is tough and breathable, and I can testify to that. In fact, this material has some of the most effective wind breaking and waterproof characteristics of any I’ve tried. It is also quite breathable, allowing the jacket to be worn on cold ascents without excessive moisture build-up, especially with the underarm vent zippers. I found myself rarely requiring my heavier puffy jacket and started carrying an additional lightweight mid layer to wear under the Enzo instead.
The Enzo is also a stylish jacket, coming in vivid “Rad” Green, “Drummer” Blue and black – in keeping with recent trends toward bright colours, which in my opinion is also a good thing in terms of safety when in the bakccountry. Bright and light!
All in all, I am very impressed with the Enzo jacket. It fulfills the functionality of a no-frills shell while excelling in being waterproof, windproof and breathable, and is durable enough to take a lashing and keep on shining. After several months of excessive use, the jacket only required a wash to look brand new again. Remember, the cliché of you get what you pay for is more often true than not when it comes to performance outerwear. The Enzo is the real deal.
Price: $449 US
Size: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL
Colur: Blue, Green, Black
Weight (size Large): 590 grams / 20.8 oz
Waterproof, windproof, breathable, ergonomic, lightweight and durable.
Media pocket has no headphone hole, the other interal pockets could be slightly larger for skins and is the Recco – is this more than a body recovery device? The asymetrical zipper could use a soft chamois near the chin and overall it is expensive, but you get what you pay for.
Fit / Mobility 2/2
Waterproof / Breathable 2/2
Quality / Price 2/2
This is only our opinion. Do you disagree? Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Join the discussion in the forums here, and let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation.
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