The first thing I notice when I get my hands on the new men’s Potosi jacket from The North Face is how comfortable the HyVent Alpha fabric feels. Unlike many alpine shells, The North Face HyVent is remarkably soft and stretchy, waterproof and truly breathable.
I’m a big fan of minimalist design when it comes to an alpine shell – it needs to be waterproof, fit well, breath and otherwise get out of the way. That’s one of the first things I notice about the Potosi –I don’t really notice it. It quietly does its job and I can’t be more pleased.
The Potosi’s ergonomic (or “body mapped,” as they call it) has room in all the right places – the arms and shoulders are roomy enough without being baggy, the torso is open enough to allow movement but not huge, and the attached hood has ample room for a helmet. While designed specifically for alpine climbing, the Potosi is a fine ski touring jacket in its own right.
The Potosi’s sealed zippers get the job done with two ample chest pockets located well above a harness belt but still easily accessible. They’re plenty big for pair of climbing skins if keeping them warm on a cold day is required (or maps, compass or whatever you may need for quick reference). Multi directional pit zips also help shed the heat on long climbs and a multi directional front zipper ensures ease of access.
The Potosi – part of The North Face’s renowned Summit Series - has a liner featuring thin (too thin?) nylon under the hood, top of the back and along the upper arms. Around the shoulders and mid to lower back is a soft chamois for added comfort, and a more durable “waffled” liner under the armpits and along the arms minimize heat loss when you need it.
Other features on this otherwise bare-bone jacket are sleek, Velcro cuff enclosures with nonabrasive molded cuff tabs, and hidden waist and hood hem cinch-cord fasteners (waist fasteners are within the fabric, but easily adjustable from outside without gloves) and a soft chin guard lining.
The Potosi comes in a variety of colours from old school (we tested the slightly dated looking Red/Navy Blue option) to the more hip bright green, black/blue and tried and true all black.
Simple but elegant: inside chest pocket and two large outside pockets.
The Potosi uses several fabrics in key areas to shed moisture, provide comfort and manage high abrasion areas.
YKK sealed zippers are sturdy and waterproof.
Low profile, no-fuss cuffs do their job well.
The hood drawstring is easy to cinch but otherwise out of the way.
The North Face’s Potosi is a no-frills shell that does precisely what it is intended to: keep you dry, provide highly ergonomic range of motion and features excellent breathability – what more could you ask for out of a shell? Whether it’s yo-yoing your local stash or an epic ascent/descent on a remote mountain, the Potosi is a comfortable jacket that will let you forget you even had it on.
Price: $349 CDN
Weight: 800g / 1lb 12 oz
Fabric: 70D 125 g/m2, 100% nylon dobby, HyVent® Alpha
Size: S, M, L, XL
Waterproof, breathable, ergonomic fit, lightweight, simple yet smart design.
Inside chest pocket doesn’t accommodate headphones, the hidden waist draw release is finicky and the thin nylon in liner may be subject to tear.
Fit / Mobility 2/2
Waterproof / Breathable 1/2
Quality / Price 1.5/2
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