The North Face HyperAir GTX Review
- Very water-resistant zippers
- Excellent breathability
- No stuff sack
The North Face uses an ultralight waterproof membrane and dependable water-resistant zippers to construct the HyperAir. In our testing, the HyperAir’s weather-shedding ability tied for first, beside the Best in Class title winner; Montane’s Minimus 777 Pull-On. Contrary to the 3-layer construction of the Minimus, the HyperAir implements Gore-Tex Active, a new membrane from Gore-Tex with a bonded liner for an ultralight 2-layer construction. While two other jackets we tested used the same Gore-Tex membrane, neither used a zipper as water-resistant as the HyperAir, which lent to the jacket’s impressive performance during the shower test.
The HyperAir tied two other entries for the most breathable waterproof running jackets. Thanks to Gore-Tex’s new Active membrane with Shakedry, water beads on the surface of the jacket, leaving the pores of the membrane unobstructed and allowing warm, moist air to pass through. Like the Norvan Hoody from Arc’teryx and One Jacket from Gore, the HyperAir does not feature any vents, but depends solely on the breathability of the membrane itself for moisture transport.
Gear Institute received a special Athlete Kit version of the HyperAir, as it closely represents what improvements will be brought to the jacket in 2018. After some streamlining over the last model, the 2018 HyperAir GTX will feature a single lumbar pocket large enough for the storage of keys, phone, or wallet while running. Adjustments can be made to the fit of the hood and waistband on the go using the shockcord drawstrings.
The HyperAir fit slightly larger than the Arc’teryx Norvan or Gore One. The half-elasticized cuffs were deemed ineffective by testers, as they did not draw the cuff to the wrists. The hood, which is elasticized near the temples, has one shockcord adjustment at the back of the head. Testers enjoyed the high collar for added protection in windy or rainy conditions. A shockcord waistband gives users the option to block updrafts. Like other jackets in this test, benefits and tradeoffs of certain features place the HyperAir in a three-way tie for second place for fit and comfort.
The HyperAir features no self-stowing pocket, yet is still highly compressible due to its simple 2-layer design. The jacket is also the heaviest jacket in the test, likely due to its full-length water-resistant zipper and zipper flap. The combination of these attributes earned the HyperAir GTX the fourth place rating for packability test criteria.Continue Reading
The jackets in this test underwent three months of road and trail runs in Victoria, BC. Additional testing included use on ski tours, road rides and use around town. Each jacket was subject to waterproofness testing in the shower to determine if leaking occurred.