I recently bought the North Face Thermoball coat (and got one for Luke, too, so I’ll touch on how it is for men as well as women) and instantly fell in love with it. I’ve been looking for a great travel coat that will keep me warm in most destinations that doesn’t weigh a ton, doesn’t take up too much room, and still makes me feel cute and stylish. This is the holy grail.
The North Face Thermoball is a super lightweight insulated coat that keeps you warm during European winters (I tested it out myself!) and folds up into itself.
The Northface Thermoball Review: Why I Think This is the Best Coat for Travelers
Luke and I have been eye-balling roll-up coats for about two years now. When we lived in Korea, we both owned very heavy, very bulky wool coats. They were stylish and they kept us warm, but they were such a pain in the butt to travel with. You can’t just throw a knee-length wool coat into your backpack and expect to also have room for clothes and an extra pair of shoes.
The North Face Thermoball (which is currently sold out by you can find this similar style from Patagonia) coat is essentially exactly the same for men as it is for women. You can get it with a hood or without. We both opted for the one without a hood because we love our wooly hats and would likely never use the hood. The coat is incredibly lightweight so even if you didn’t fold it up, you would be able to pack it into your carry-on luggage or backpack without adding any extra weight.
The best part is how easily it folds into its own pocket. One of the pockets has a two-way zipper, so you simply turn it inside out and start packing the coat into itself. After about a minute of shoving, you’ll be able to zip it up. When we flew from the UK to Mexico City this past January, we obviously needed the coats while we were transiting in the UK. Once we got on our flight to Mexico, I packed it into itself and used it as a pillow (I highly recommend this – dual usage and very comfortable!). I then popped it straight into my purse and then unfolded and hung it in my closet when I got home to Mexico City.
How Does The North Face Thermoball Fit for Women?
I absolutely love the women’s fit. I think the jacket runs a little bit big for women. I got myself an extra small. I usually wear small t-shirts, am only 5 feet tall, and usually wear a size 2 pants (a 6 in the UK), so this was the perfect fit for me. It hits me right at the middle of my butt, so it keeps me warm. I find the sleeves to be slightly too long, but again, I’m really short. It fits nicely through the body and gives me shape. There’s nothing worse than a coat that makes you look like a blob and this definitely does not do that. It’s got just enough room for me to fit a sweatshirt or thick wool sweater underneath it for added layers.
Purchase the North Face Thermoball for Women from the following online retailers:
Nordstrom $199 – 4 colors and international shipping available
Backcountry $139.26 – 6 colors
How Does The North Face Thermoball Fit for Men?
The North Face Thermoball for men (which is also sold out, but here is a similar style) is slightly more true to size in my opinion. Luke is a 34-36 chest and a 30 waist, so he also has an extra small. He’s also roughly 5′ 10″. I was able to try mine on when I was in the US for Thanksgiving, but Luke’s was a bit of a gamble because we couldn’t find one for him to try on here in Mexico City (we ordered them online for a Christmas present).
I made my dad try on the small since it looked a little bit big to me. My dad is roughly a 38 chest and about a 34 waist and I thought the small fit him well. He said he wanted more room to wear a sweater underneath and would have bought a medium. It depends on how you like it to fit.
Luke prefers his coat to be fitted, so the extra small was perfect. It fits him perfectly in the shoulders and is a good arm length for him, too. He can still fit a thick sweater or sweatshirt underneath as well without it being too snug.
Purchase the North Face Thermoball for Men from the following online retailers:
Nordstrom $199 – 5 colors and international shipping available
Backcountry $129.32 – 5 colors
How Warm Does The North Face Thermoball Keep You?
I wore this coat for a few days in the UK in January when it dropped to about 30 degrees at night and I was super toasty. I had a t-shirt and thin wool sweater on underneath, a hat, and gloves alongside the coat and I happily walked through icy Manchester without feeling cold (except for my nose). It even got a bit windy while we were outside and it completely blocked the wind as well.
I think these coats could easily keep you warm in any US or European winter. If you were going somewhere further north for a trip – like winter in northern Canada or trying to see the Northern Lights in Sweden or Norway, this coat alone might not cut it. However, for regular winter travels, I will definitely be using this coat.
Does The North Face Thermoball Keep You Dry?
The jacket certainly is not a replacement for a rain jacket. I have a waterproof jacket that I love (I have one similar to this from Columbia and it is awesome), but this will certainly keep you dry if it snows or is lightly drizzling. While I was wearing it in the UK, it rained a little bit and I stayed completely dry. According to The North Face website, the jacket has a durable water repellent coating on it that keeps water from soaking into the seams.
How Easily Does it Pack Away?
It truly is so easy and quick to pack the jacket into its own pocket. I absolutely love how small it packs into itself and how light the little bag is once it’s all stowed away. I am pretty clumsy and not a great packer, but even I can pack this puppy away in under a minute.
The only thing that isn’t great is that if you keep it packed into itself for a long time, the jacket gets really wrinkled. I don’t recommend storing the coat this way long term. Only keep it tucked in the pocket while you’re traveling. Once you’re home, unravel it and let it hang up like you would any other coat.
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