The North Face Hydrogen Jacket

This wisp of a jacket at first appeared to be little more than a brightly colored garbage bag. But upon further inspection and testing, SNEWS® discovered that The North Face Hydrogen is an ideal lightweight windbreaker for running and high-intensity sports.

This wisp of a jacket at first appeared to be little more than a brightly colored garbage bag. But upon further inspection and testing, SNEWS® discovered that The North Face Hydrogen is an ideal lightweight windbreaker for running and high-intensity sports.

The Hydrogen is available for men and women, and our crew tested the women’s version. Made of ripstop nylon, the jacket weighs less than 4 ounces, and our testers report that they barely noticed they had the thing on while running. Plus, the jacket is so light and compact that you can easily tuck it into a hydration pack pocket and take along for a run, a hike, or even while traveling. In fact, it comes with a burrito-sized stuff sack with belt loops so you don’t have to carry it in your hand or tie it around your waist.

In temperatures ranging from the 40s to the 60s, The Hydrogen felt comfortable, breathed well, and excelled at blocking wind. It also repelled light precipitation, although it’s not meant to be worn in heavy rain or snow.

It is simply designed and cut in at the waist to offer flattering a silhouette to a wide variety of shapes. The piece we tested was an attractive “grotto blue,” and it is also available in orange, black and white. Our testers said the jacket fit well, and one SNEWS tester said she liked that the jacket was roomy enough that she could wear a mid-weight baselayer beneath it. It is very basic in design, but still constructed with some nice details. The collar falls just under the chin and has a zipper garage, reducing the possibility of chafing. Elastic cuffs help keep the sleeves from riding up, and a partial elastic hem at the waist keeps drafts out. A lower right hip pocket is just large enough for a credit card, keys, or an iPod Nano.

Our only gripe: With only a few patches of reflective material, it wouldn't be the ideal choice for night running. Other than that, we'd fully recommend this jacket as a good all-around windbreaker for running in cool weather. It blocks the wind but breathes well, and it looks pretty stylin' to boot.

SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested Retail: $99

For information:



The North Face Kishtwar jacket

Ever since soft shell garments were introduced, people have struggled to define the category, though it’s generally agreed that soft shells are typically water-resistant, somewhat soft to the touch, highly breathable, and relatively stretchy. Because soft shells are so more


The North Face Radial

Our testing team is on the trail often, pounding dirt and dust in the pursuit of fun and training. A few on our team have decided that fun involves packing in as many miles as possible into one day, which means trail running. Naturally, we burn through a lot of shoes, insoles, more

Reversible Mercurial Jacket by The North Face

"If you are only going to bring one warm jacket, this is the rig, two jackets in one." -Cedar Wright, The North Face® Athlete, Rock Climber By watching his black and yellow Labradors play in the sun, one of our designers had a realization that led to the creation of this jacket. more


The North Face Flyweight Duffel

If you travel like the SNEWS® team does – everywhere and anywhere at a moment’s notice – then you know the value of having a small duffel that you can stuff into a larger suitcase or travel pack as a just-in-case bag or a regular tote for cruising around town. We’ve tested more


The North Face focuses on footwear

The North Face has staked its reputation on apparel and gear, and now its footwear department is catching up. The company started developing footwear in 2006, but during the last year TNF has committed to reinvigorating the department with new hires and restructuring it to mirror more


Marmot Reyna jacket

As winter tried to hang onto its last bits of wind and snow in some parts of the country, the SNEWS® editors took Marmot's Reyna women's jacket out into some of the elements. Part of the company's M1 series, the soft shell jacket is made of Polartec Windbloc fabric made for more

Apex Elixir Jacket by The North Face

Made from TNF™ Apex Aerobic soft shell fabric, this jacket is designed to accommodate high levels of activity in moderate weather conditions while offering the maximum amount of stretch. Ideal for mountaineering, alpine climbing, or any high-movement, vigorous endeavor; this more


Sherpa Adventure Gear Vajra jacket

Big, puffy jackets are wonderful things, but when air temperatures are cold, and not frigid, it’s great to have a thinner piece, such as the Vajra jacket from Sherpa Adventure Gear. This fall, members of the SNEWS® team tested a women’s and men’s version of the Vajra, which more

W Allure Jacket by The North Face

The W Allure Jacket by The North Face is a fashionable, high performance jacket. SPECIFICATIONS Sizes : XS, S, M, L, XL Avg Total Weight : 2 lbs 6 oz (1.1 kg) Fabric : [body] HyVent 2L double diamond ripstop Lining : Embossed taffeta Insulation : 600 fill down Avg Weight : 2 lbs more