by Frank V. Persall
This is my review of The North Face Lostrail Jacket, specifically for us ladies in mind.
I'm a Southern girl, so I'm not made for the cold. I begin to shiver when either the indoor thermostat or the outdoor thermometer dips below 70 degrees. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but you get the idea: I don't like cold. I don't care if it's a "dry cold" or not, I hate it.
Now get this: I also enjoy skiing. Don't look at me like that. It's perfectly possible to love winter sports but hate winter. So any winter coat that I pick out has a tricky job to do. It needs to let me slide down the slopes while keeping me as warm as possible. You're probably looking at me like I'm expecting a miracle. Trust me, I know.
Type: Ski Jacket
I found the North Face Lostrail Jacket to be a pleasant surprise on how it delivered. I can usually size up a coat just by looking at it. As in I know how warm I won't be with just a glance. I was fooled this time.
This jacket has a few things that will really make your life easier if you're into winter sports. It does just fine as a general winter coat if you're looking for something that's warm, but light. But you really do reap more benefits if you're looking to be active during the winter.
Before I start rambling, we'll organize my thoughts on this coat in easy-to-follow sections, so read on.
It's been a while since I've found a coat that does what I buy a coat for: Keeping the winter out. I think we've all put on a coat while anticipating some little bit of snow, ice, rain, or wind getting in.
But this coat does such a good job of sealing the elements out. If you burn any calories at all, you'll use the ventilation zippers at some point.
And it does this job without any extra weight. There's obviously some insulation, but no more than necessary. I feel only lightly burdened and free to move.
The pockets for the hands are warm, but they're placed at the strangest angle. Do you know anyone whose hands go into their pockets at a 180-degree angle? Me neither.
So that part of the design feels funny on the wrists and I just feel like a little too much of my hands and my wrists are still exposed. It's not a dealbreaker, but the usual 45-degree angle pockets would have been nice.
Deceptive at first glance. I picked it up and looked it over, wondering why something so light could have a higher price point. But once I slipped it on, it made perfect sense.
It's a jacket that's made to keep you warm under extreme conditions, especially the ones brought on by getting involved in winter sports and activities.
The coat has to fit the bill of keeping you toasty whether you're moving and having powdered snow trying to get inside, or when you're standing still and waiting your turn for the ski lift.
So tally all that up. This coat needs to keep out not just cold, but wind and rain and snow and it claims to do all that.
It's designed for people that are going to be in the cold for extended periods of time. It's especially for anyone who is going to be actively engaging the elements. As in not just walking into the rain and snow, but kicking it up. Maybe even falling in it.
This almost made me turn the coat down at the store. When a coat feels light like this, I instantly think that the wind is going to cut right through it. But I took the time to try it on and, well, I bought it.
I did some digging and found out that this jacket takes advantage of something called Futurelight. It's a technology that allows the outer membrane of the jacket to be woven so tightly that it's waterproof and windproof, but it also lets air in and out. So no water in. Excess body heat out.
And since that critical function is done on the outer surface of the coat, there isn't the need to compensate for trespassing ice and snow with extra layers. Cool, huh?
Storage space is not an issue with this jacket. There are four pockets on the outside. Two are for your hands and two seem to be made for storing your phone since there's a means of threading your earbud wires into the pocket. "Media Port" seems to be the technical term.
There are a couple of pockets specifically dedicated to storing your goggles. If you don't mind that the maker has made the assumption that you ski, then there's one space for your goggles and one space for your goggle wipes. It's not something I would have thought to include in a coat, so I feel like I've bought something with more than one piece of built-in innovation.
Here's another doodad I wouldn't have thought to include. Where I'm from, if you want to keep the snow out, you just wear a longer coat. But this feature is the ultimate safeguard against invasive snow. When I'm plowing through the soft stuff and it's going all around me like a cloud, it's trying to find its way into every opening.
It even tries to get inside the back of my coat. If there's a way to explain that with science, I can't find it.
But this adjustable skirt that stays close to you body keeps the powder snow out so you don't get ice and water into sensitive places. It's probably one of my favorite parts of this jacket. I don't feel like I have to hold my breath when I hit the slopes.
I'm one of those people that is either too hot or too cold. My covers in bed are completely on or completely off. Either the AC is blasting or the heat is pushing me into "rotisserie" status.
It's hard to find that happy medium when I'm out on the slopes especially. Unzipping my coat feels like overkill.
So this jacket's ventilation zippers around the arms are the perfect answer. I don't have to unzip the whole thing and let the North Wind inside to turn my sweat into icicles. And neither do I have to endure a buildup of heat.
Again, this is a warm jacket. You will have heat that you'll want to dissipate.
If you don't mind spending a little more than the average cost of a coat, then this jacket is going to be taking care of you on a near-perfect level.
The closest thing that I can compare this to is the drysuit that some deep-sea divers use. Even though the water is all around them, their bodies stay totally dry.
Same for this coat. With the powder skirt, the special technology (gore tex) that went into the outer wall, and the light-but-snug design, you can be all up in winter's face and it won't get inside. Unless, you know... you want it to. If you're weird like that, there are much cheaper jackets than this one.
About Frank V. Persall
Originally from the UK, Frank has a passion for skiing and anything snow related. He is currently on a never ending mission to visit the best ski resorts across the USA and the the World. Frank is happiest when he is on ski slopes with his wife and three children.