The Wild West. Fantastically free, and incredibly rugged, the Western Frontier was sculpted by the tenacious pioneers who were not content with the civilized world around them. Opting instead to cut their own path, they pushed further and further into the vast land, relying upon not only their sharp wits and physical toughness, but the tools and equipment available to them. Few of these tools were as vital as the Colt .45 Revolver.
Marked by its historic reliability, trusted technology and classic appearance, the revolver was a prized possession and essential tool for anyone who hoped to tame the land.
While it has not quite reached the vaunted status of the Colt Revolver, the North Face Free Thinker Jacket is a similar piece of equipment, albeit for a different frontier.
The Free Thinker is a Gore-Tex® shell designed for the harshest of mountain conditions.
Extremely durable 70D Gore-Tex Pro 3L construction, numerous exterior pockets, and a serious powder skirt make the Free Thinker a purpose built jacket. A favourite of TNF sponsored athletes Lucas Debari and Ian McIntosh, this is a jacket built for taming mile after mile in the backcountry.
Part of The North Face’s Steep Series, the Free Thinker is not guaranteed to improve cognitive function, or allow Gandhi, Steve Jobs or Plato levels of thinking.
- Waterproof, breathable, fully seam sealed
- Recco® avalanche rescue reflector
- Helmet-compatible hood
- Insulated cell-phone pocket
- Zip chest pocket with radio-holder elastic
- Pit-zip vents
- Wrist “utility pocket” with goggles cloth
- Thumb-loop cuffs
- Internal stretch-mesh goggles pocket
- Internal stretch-mesh stash pocket
The articulated hood is fully adjustable for when the weather turns for the worst.
A built in sleeve pocket houses a removable goggle wipe - so that's what that pocket is for!
An over the helmet hood cynches down nicely if you prefer to tour with out a helmet.
The powder skirt is a nice add on but the option to remove it for those of us who prefer not to wear skirts would be a plus.
Adjustable cuffs to keep the snow out and warmth in.
Generous pit-zips and over sized internal mesh pockets to stuff gloves, toques and smaller climbing skins.
Front view of the hood sans helmet and an internal pocket inside the external pocket to keep things organized.
The Free Thinker is an exceptional jacket for the harsh mountain environments it was designed to excel in. Finding faults in the jacket is very difficult.
An built-in powder skirt, very well articulated helmet-compatible hood, classic colours and incredible attention to detail make the Free Thinker one of the best mountain-sports shells on the market (in this reviewers opinon).
The question is no longer whether or not the jacket is right for you, but whether or not you are right for the jacket. Are you a backcountry enthusiast who demands bulletproof durability, who regularly does battle with the unforgiving elements and whose adventures are framed by the snow-swept mountains? If so, this jacket is for you.
After all, what’s the point of driving a heavy-duty, turbo-diesel pickup truck if it’s only used to drive to the corner store in suburban Florida?
Much like the Colt Revolver, steadfast technology and phenomenal performance, combined with classical styling make for an indispensable item for anyone looking to conquer the steep and deep backcountry slopes.
Price: $599 CAD
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colours: TNF Black/Blue Aster, TNF Yellow, TNF Black
Fabric: 70D 156 g/m² (5.50 oz/yd²) GORE-TEX® Pro 3L
100% nylon Taslan® with woven ripstop backer
Weight: 650 g (22.93 oz)
Guarantee: Lifetime Warranty
This jacket is a purpose built machine. It’s the pinnacle of North Face construction and quality, and is designed purely for extreme mountain adventures. You may be disappointed if you’re looking for a zip out powder skirt, or a posh fleece liner.
Gore-Tex’s top of the line Pro fabric has a sterling reputation, and for good reason. The pinnacle of membrane technology, this extra-durable version of the standard Gore-Tex technology is worth the investment and extra weight for backcountry adventures.
Pockets are extremely accessible, even when wearing loaded packs. Hood fits over helmets well, and articulation is excellent. Hood drawstring can be stowed in small flap on hood, preventing unnecessary movement.
The jacket’s fit is not slim. Ideal for adding layers beneath, but for warmer days when little is required underneath, the jacket is on the large side for slimmer folks. The wrist cuffs felt bulky and cumbersome when worn without gloves due to their double back adjustable feature. The Freethinker is also not void of bells & whistles so it 'packability' is not optimal for backcountry skiers but you can't have a full featured jacket and expect it to compact down to nothing. At nearly $600 this jacket is expensive, but on-par with other top-end offerings from industry leaders.
Fit / Mobility 2/2
Waterproof / Breathable 2/2
Quality / Price 1.5/2
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.