The TNF FuseForm Dot Matrix Jacket offers decent performance in wet weather, with good breathability, but it comes up short on other details. This jacket is a solid choice for performance and price.
The North Face FuseForm Dot Matrix Jacket is a simple and functional 2.5 layer hiking shell constructed using FuseForm technology, a proprietary process that makes it possible to combine different material weaves into one piece of fabric.
In testing, the proprietary membrane and durable water repellent treatment withstood a sustained downpour, however the hood had us cursing. The thin wire brim had a very weak structure; flopping down into our line of site and dumping water onto our faces.
The Dot Matrix jacket offered decent breathability, supplemented with the somewhat short pit zips. It is not an ideal jacket for running, but decent for hiking in humid conditions.
Besides the disappointing hood, all other features worked well for me. The two hand pockets, cinch waist, earphone port, wrist cinch straps, seemed well designed and implemented. The large hand pockets sit out of the way of pack straps, allowing for easy access.
FuseForm technology allows TNF to mix different weights of fabric to optimize breathability, light weight, and toughness. Heavier weight fabrics line the shoulders, arms, and back, reinforcing vulnerable areas that come in contact with packs and minor trail collisions. The durability of this jacket is solid for the price.
At just under 11 ounces the jacket offers excellent weight for all the features and durability. It also packs down small, a testament to the FuseForm’s lighter weight fabrics.