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Sucking cold, thin air while you heave yourself up some rock? You're going to need a rugged, insulated jacket like The North Face Men's Plasma Thermal Jacket. From light precipitation to raging storms, the waterproof breathable membrane keeps you dry, and synthetic PrimaLoft One insulation provides warmth without feeling bulky. Look forward to your mountainous journey, despite the gnarly weather that will challenge your will to keep pushing forward.

  • Waterproof breathable Hyvent Alpha membrane keeps water outside your jacket while allowing sweaty moisture to escape from within
  • Seam-sealing provides additional weatherproofing by stopping small leaks at the seams
  • Fully adjustable and removable hood slides over your hat or a climbing or skiing helmet easily
  • Performance fit gives this jacket a cut that sticks close to the contour of your body while still allowing room underneath for insulting layers
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Good Jacket, Awful Pockets!

    OK, after an exhaustive winter jacket search, I decided on the Plasma Thermal from TNF. Let's break it down, shall we?

    Pros: Lightweight. SUPER warm. PrimaLoft throughout keeps you really well insulated and prevents one from looking like a marshmallow.

    Windproof? Check. Waterproof? I will give it a 1/2 check because it has kept me dry in moderate rain and snow so far, but it hasn't been washed or tested in heavy rain or snow yet. The fit/cut is pretty stylish and doesn't make you look like you're about the hit the slopes when you wear it out and about. Also, this is the first North Face jacket where I can actually WEAR the hood! I know they make hoods to fit helmets, but my old Recon jacket and my old Resolve rain shell had hoods so large they flopped over my eyes despite adjusting the cords and would blow off my head when they caught the slightest breeze.

    I haven't had a single issue with any of the zippers, so I am not so worried there. I have read complaints about the zippers being small, too. All of the accessory zippers (pit zips, chest, hand pockets) are the same size and brand as my old 2007 North Face coat. The main zipper, however, is not as burly as any of my older North Face jackets or fleeces. The North Face Logos look to be screen printed on or something (no longer embroidered), but I would imagine that would help the waterproofing properties of the coat. It does make the coat feel a little cheap, however.

    Cons: I am not a tall guy (5' 9") but the jacket just feels too short on me. I know this is probably why it looks so stylish, but I feel if I ever wanted to roll around in the snow wearing the jacket, I would immediately regret that decision, especially since there isn't a powder skirt or anything. The price is also a little ridiculous. The jacket is awesome, but $300 for something that isn't Gore Tex is a little much in my opinion. By far, my BIGGEST complaint about this jacket are the hand pockets. If you like to use the pockets of your winter jacket to keep your hands warm, you are out of luck. These pockets fail miserably at keeping your hands warm. The only thing in between your hands and the elements is a thin layer of HyVent... none of the PrimaLoft insulation to be found, not even a brushed fleece liner. Normally this wouldn't bother me, but since the rest of the jacket does such a great job of keeping you warm, it is hard to ignore your frozen icicle hands. I can actually feel the wind coming through the material and onto my hands when I walk around. This flaw removes a star from my rating on its own. The value of the coat removes another star.

    I love backcountry.com and have ordered many things here, but I will never again order the ground shipping via UPS. Delivery took 10 days and (according to the tracking number) my package sat in a warehouse a few towns away for 2 days. Yes, UPS got it to me when they estimated they would, but really? It arrived right down the road 2 days early... they couldn't have thrown it on a truck and surprised me with my new coat a few days earlier than they quoted me?

    The North Face Plasma Thermal Jacket - Men's

      I have a previous year's version (2010) and wanted an upgrade after putting my old one through some abuse. This year's model is pretty good as a stand alone but by comparison, it's not as good as the older models. The fit is much smaller so if you're in between a M/L, pick a L. It's also a lot less puffy than last year's. I don't think they've changed the insulation (which is still amazing) but maybe they've put less in. Otherwise, I noticed some cutbacks like some other reviewers. The zipper isn't a two zipper up and down any more. They're a lot more sticky and don't have the rubberized loop for durability. The NFace logos and trademarks are only pressed on instead of sewn on. A shame. Otherwise, hey, this is a great jacket. It's thin, light and super warm! Lots of pockets and a great venting.

      Amazing "jack-of-all-trades" Jacket

        This review is directed at the 2011 Plasma Thermal Jacket. I'll get the negatives out of the way first...

        The zippers and zipper cord are terrible. It's what I would expect to see on extremely low-quality jackets costing a fraction of what this jacket costs. The lanyards / cords attached to the zippers are all very thin. Given the fact that this jacket has so many zippers and zipper cords, I'm shocked and very annoyed that TNF didn't use better quality, thicker, classier zippers and zipper cords. The official pictures TNF released is not what the zippers and zipper cords actually look like on the 2011 Plasma Thermal. I wish the zipper cords actually looked like they do in the photos (thick, black, with a red grip). Only the main zipper cord that runs up and down the middle of the jacket has a grip on it. Too bad it's still the same thin zipper cord like all the other cords.

        Speaking of zippers, it seems that TNF finally fixed the zipper issue I've read so much about with previous Plasma Thermal models. I haven't had any problems zipping up or down.

        The logos are no longer stitched onto the jacket like previous versions of this jacket. ALL logos are now laminated onto the jacket. I'm guessing TNF did this to save a bit of money on production cost and to make their 2011 Summit Series lineup fully waterproof by getting rid of all sewn-on logos. Stitched logos can get wet and seep through the jacket if it's not sealed-off inside. In my opinion, I think this is a bad change. Decals will never last as long as stitched logos, even if the reflective and waterproof qualities are better. I wonder how many washes this jacket can go through before the logos start pealing off. Although I must say, it looks like they did a good job sealing the new logos onto the jacket.

        The hood is detachable, which is a major plus on this jacket. It's actually one of the major reasons why I purchased this jacket in the first place. However, the top flap that goes over the back of the neck area has no zipper or Velcro to attach it to the jacket. The neck area of the jacket is sealed, but the (top) flap isn't. It would have been nice to have Velcro underneath the (top) flap, so that the flap can't ride up and ruin the seal on the back of the neck when wearing this jacket hood-less.

        My last minor complaint with the Plasma Thermal is that the bungee cord which seals off the bottom area of the jacket, is no longer inside the bottom of the jacket. It's now inside the 2 hand pockets. You have to press on hidden "latches" on the sides of the bottom button, then pull on the bungee cords inside the hand pockets to tighten the bottom of the jacket. The bungee cords are long and get in the way of the anything you have in your hand pockets, including your hands. It also protrudes out of the pocket if you want to tighten the waist a lot. This may not be a big deal for some people, but to me, it's annoying having the cord inside the hand pockets. TNF probably made this change so that people don't have to mess around and let heat escape from under their jacket when trying to adjust the seal.

        Now that I got all of my gripes out of the way, let me talk about the pros of this jacket...

        First of all, the jacket looks very sharp and sleek (I bought the all black version). I am 5"11' (180 cm), roughly 190 lbs., and have a medium, slightly slim build. The Large Plasma Thermal fits me well. This jacket is extremely lightweight and thin. So much so, one might think it won't be able to keep you warm enough in frigid weather. Thankfully, The North Face didn't cut corners on materials of the actual jacket... only the zippers and cords. The seams are well-sewn and fully seals the jacket against water, wind, and cold air. Everything feels very smooth and comfortable. You can easily store this jacket anywhere and stuff it into a backpack or relatively small box if need be.

        PrimaLoft One has great insulation properties. It's very breathable and lightweight. I wasn't sure it would keep me warm at first, but then I tested it by going outside in slightly below freezing temperatures including high wind gust, with just a t-shirt on inside and felt fine. Not that I recommend going outside without a mid-layer in below freezing temperatures for prolonged periods, but it goes to show how much insulation this jacket has.

        The pit vents work well. They run very long under both arms. Each arm has 2 zippers (and crappy cords) that goes both ways, up and down, so you can vent from different locations under each arm if you wanted to. A very nice feature.

        The HyVent Alpha outer shell is definitely waterproof. I tested it in a harsh rainstorm one time and it held up great. The water beads up and runs off easily. Because the jacket is so thin, lightweight, and breathable, it can double as a rain jacket, on top of being a great winter / mountain climbing jacket. I do have to mention, the outer shell tends to get dirty and scuffed easily (at least with the black jacket). But a quick wipe with something wet usually takes care of that problem.

        All in all, I'm very happy with the Plasma Thermal. It's a great jacket that keeps you warm, dry, and not bogged down. I'm just disappointed The North Face decided to use cheap zippers and extremely cheap zipper cords, along with sealed-on logos instead of stitched-on logos (some people might consider this an upgrade). TNF should at least sell higher quality replacement zipper cords so we can switch out the thin, cheapo cords.

        Make sure to check out all of the photos I've uploaded.

        Waist cord

        The waist cord has been changed from previous models. You now have to press on a button hidden on the bottom of the jacket, then pull the cord you see in this picture from inside the pocket in order to tighten / loosen the seal.

        Waist cord

        Backflap

        This is the back of the neck. The Velcro holds the hood on, along with a zipper. Notice how the top flap doesn't have Velcro attached to it? The top flap can't be secured to the bottom flap when you wear this jacket hood-less.

        Backflap

        Happy Buyer

          I love the jacket so far. Last night I was out in 20 mph wind gusts with the temps in the 30's not counting wind chill. I wore only a tee shirt and the plasma thermal and stayed warm while simply walking. Very surprised and happy. I was a little worried about being able to keep warm b/c my previous titanium Columbia was a very heavy 3 in 1. The Plasma Thermal is both light and warm.
          I used the zipper multiple times on the chest and neither got stuck.
          The review regarding the lack of cinch cord was not true.The cinch cord is in the pockets. It's nice not to have to lift your jacket up in the air to get access to the cinch like the Titanium. To release the tension there is a release button on each side near the front pockets hem area that can be released from the outside, although not visible.
          This cinch was important to me b/c I live in the mid-west where wind is common.
          When I get a little too warm, I unzip the arm vent and sometimes the pit vents. These zippers are a little difficult to zip back up with gloves on, one handed but a minor issue.
          The hood also has a cinch. The coverage of the hood itself isn't as big as my titanium, although my range of view is better and I don't have to pull my hood back to see left or right. The fleece lined area around my face was comfortable to tuck my chin in walking into the wind.
          Overall very happy and looking forward see how this jacket performs in wet conditions.

          DON'T waste your money!

            I've had previous version of the plasma jacket that were biult better than the new version. This new plasma still has the zipper issue especially with the two front pockets. They also removed the waist cinch cord which was a good feature on previous models. The north face logos are heat transferred instead of the stitched like previous models and the zipper cords are cheap nylon cords tied in a knot! Not the nice plastic gripper versions seen in the picture. In my honest opinion this jacket is not worth the price asked or is the quality seen in previous years! I ordered TNF down parka instead for a few dollars more and was impressed! Good quality and worth the money.

            Are you sure about the cinch cord being gone? My wife's womens (new model) still has the cinch cord at the bottom - you adjust from inside the pockets. Just got it - it does have the non-stiched labelling, but I didn't notice until I read this comment. Time will tell how that holds-up I guess.

            I just bought the plasma thermal and mine does have a waist cinch although it's not visible from the outside. It is located inside the pockets.
            I'm confused by the zipper issue b/c all zippers on the front worked fine for me.
            The NF emblem is not stitched but some type of heat transfer? Maybe this is to increase the jackets ability to stay water proof.

            While I agree that the zipper cords and zippers are cheap, giving this awesome jacket 1 star just because YOU didn't think it was "worth" (a subjective term) the money, is just flat-out wrong. I can see rating it 4 stars, knocking off a star for cheap cords and zippers, but 1 star is way too harsh. Not a good review at all!

            TNF Plasma Thermal

              Just bought it a while ago and haven't really used it outdoor since it's too hot to wear it, so can't comment much but did try the waterproofness in the shower and it's awesome. water beads off really well. The bad thing is that the neck is too high and it just feels odd zipping the jacket all the way up without putting the hood on. and the hood is a little bit harder to adjust and it doesn't cover your face very much so if you're expecting to use it in high winds area, you might need some protection so too bad i'm returning it and i now have ordered the arcteryx fission sl (not sure if i'm going to keep it though because the price is overkill) and it's splendid and the the hood is much more better to adjust than the plasma thermal and the hood does protect your face and did i mention is has a better look than plasma thermal?. Overall tnf plasma is not a bad jacket if you dont mind the "high neck" and the look.

              I am 165lbs, 5'10" and have a 41 chest,...

              I am 165lbs, 5'10" and have a 41 chest, should I get med or large. I bought a med storm peak and it was tight in the armpits with a light fleece.

              Hi does this jacket have an inside zipper...

              Hi does this jacket have an inside zipper where i can zip in another north face fleece into the jacket?

              My son is 5'9 and 120 pounds what size...

              My son is 5'9 and 120 pounds what size should i get him?

              My dad is 5'11" - 6'0" and around 200 lbs....

              My dad is 5'11" - 6'0" and around 200 lbs. Large or Extra Large?

              This has a 30,00 mmh2o rating, whereas...

              This has a 30,00 mmh2o rating, whereas Gore-Tex has about 28,000 mmh2o, even though Gore-Tex is more expensive. How is this possible.

              Best Answer

              you can easily get a higher waterproof rating than goretex and be cheaper. A 10 mil plastic sheet is 100% waterproof, but it doesn't breathe. The key is balance. Typically, when you tighten the weave and raise the waterproof rating, the breathability rating goes down. The fabrics that achieve the combination of both, cost more.

              My husband is 5'6" and is about 140-150...

              My husband is 5'6" and is about 140-150 lbs, should i get him small or medium?

              I am 5'9" and weigh 155 lbs. I was wondering...

              I am 5'9" and weigh 155 lbs. I was wondering if I should get a medium or large?

              I am 5-10 and 175lbs with a 40.5" chest....

              I am 5-10 and 175lbs with a 40.5" chest. I recently tried on a triclimate, and although it fit everywhere else perfectly, a medium was too tight under the arms. I had to get a large which was too big everywhere else. i am a medium in the apex jacket though which is odd. Any ideas what I would be for this jacket?

              Hi i was wandering if i could get a few...

              Hi i was wandering if i could get a few peoples opinions on how cold of weather this jacket can really take? I mainly ski and do back country skiing in Telluride, CO and it often gets to be -10 during the day or even colder at night. Can this jacket handle these conditions?

              Best Answer

              It hasn't gotten into the teens or lower yet here in Buffalo, NY.

              However it has dropped down into the high 20s and low 30s with high winds so far this year here. Like I said in my review, I wore a t-shirt under this jacket and felt fine. I'll try to give updates once the weather here gets really brutal like it usually does.

              Is it possible to zip a fleece jacket into...

              Is it possible to zip a fleece jacket into this? I'm not thinking it's possible, but I would really like that feature.

              Jesse1322,
              Thanks for your question. As Dean said, this is not possible. The Plasma Thermal is a fixed insulation jacket. The majority of zip in compatible jackets are shells. Zipping a fleece into the Plasma Thermal would probably be a bit much regarding the overall warmth of the garment. I hope this is helpful for you.

              I live in Wisconsin and i'm looking at...

              I live in Wisconsin and i'm looking at this jacket for my winter coat...is this gonna be warm enough for wisconsin winters?? Will i be kept warm in 0 degree weather????
              Thanks for your help!!!

              I have last years. I agree with Dwayne, but I'll also add that it depends on what you are doing. If you are very active at all, you do not need much layering in this jacket. I was shovelling snow last winter and I got really hot. On the other hand, on a leasurely stroll with the dog, you may need a layer or two. I never used more than a base layer and a thin fleece under this last winter, and often used less. I live in Northern VA...not quite Wisconsin, but we had a several very cold spells last winter. It was similar to my native northern Indiana winters much of the time. Hope this helps.

              Unanswered Question

              How warm is this jacket in comparison to...

              How warm is this jacket in comparison to the NF Catalyst Down and NF Vortex? I am debating between the three of them, but after the review below I am hesitant on this one? Would I need a base layer if I wanted to go snowboarding/hiking in Wisconsin (It gets into the teens in winter)? thanks

              Unanswered Question

              Hey i was just wondering if someone can...

              Hey i was just wondering if someone can give me the specs in inches for a size small of the latest model?

              pit to pit:
              shoulder to shoulder:
              shoulder to bottom:

              thanks

              I'm planning to get this jacket soon, but...

              I'm planning to get this jacket soon, but i've heard a lot of reviews from the older model of plasma thermal jacket about the stuck zippers. Does anyone has any issue with the zipper in this new model jacket?

              I have the older model (last years) with the zipper many complain about. Personally I have no problem with the zipper. It is a little sticky at the bottom, but I think it is designed that way on purpose. You can un-zip up from the bottom for venting so a little stickiness at the bottom prevents accidentally un-zipping up from the bottom. Incidentally, we just bought my wife this year's womens model and the zipper doesn't stick at the bottom like mine (it is a different bigger zipper). But will it unzip from the bottom when you don't want it too...who knows. In conclusion, I don't think the zippers in either model is a deal breaker - at least not for me. Some people seem to hate it but I don't understand. It's a great jacket.