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Hands-on Gear Review
The North Face Arrowood Triclimate Review
Cons: Not warm enough for true deep winter, fleece lined sleeves bunch up
Bottom line: A versatile, inexpensive jacket that could be the only jacket you own, year round.
We tested an extensive range of products for our 2018 winter jacket review, including products that cover winter at all latitudes of North America. The North Face Arrowood Triclimate and its close competitor Columbia Mission Air Interchange 3-in-1 are suited to the warmest winter climates in the United States. They are quite similar, but some attributes set them apart. Read on for the full comparison between these two and to the other competitors we put through the wringer.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Winter Jackets for Men of 2018
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The 3-in-1 style of jacket has broad appeal. In practice, those that maximize the value of a jacket like this is a small sample, but it is attractive to many. The North Face Arrowood Triclimate is a well-executed version of this style of jacket. Read on to see if this piece is appropriate for you.
We had wide-ranging scores in our overall ranking, and the Arrowood sits near the bottom of the heap. However, remember that our initial selection only targets the best products on the market. Were we to score the entire selection of winter jackets available, the Arrowood would appear much better.
You choose a jacket like this for its versatility in mild winter climates. The fleece insulation of the Arrowood is thinner than basically all of the other jackets. Only the similarly designed Columbia Mission Air Interchange 3-in-1 offers a level of insulation like this one.
We recommend this jacket as a winter piece for those at the United States lower latitude and altitudes. For winter in Los Angeles and Virginia, the Arrowood is perfect. For the crushing cold of Chicago or Denver, look to virtually any of the other jackets we tested. Of course, warmth is a bit subjective. Some of you are undoubtedly warm-blooded and will have no use for something as warm as the Top Pick Canada Goose Expedition or Best Buy McMurdo III Parka.
The North Face started as a company making clothing and equipment for alpine climbing. They've since branched out, but this pedigree is clear, especially when we look at weather resistance. Alpine climbing jackets must be wind and waterproof. The Arrowood is not designed for the high mountains, but it is still as wind and waterproof as you would need. The sealed seams, flapped and waterproof zippers, and cinch-able hood, all sewn of waterproof/breathable fabric keep out the worst weather you might encounter in the places this jacket is appropriate.
The slick Gore-Tex construction of the Editors Choice Arc'teryx Camosun is more weather resistant than the Arrowood. The only other product that exceeds the performance of the Arrowood is also made by Arc'teryx. The Arrowood Triclimate protects from wind and wet better than all the others, including the Best Buy Marmot Fordham and Top Pick Columbia Mission Air Interchange 3-in-1.
We found nothing notable in the comfort of the Arrowood Triclimate. The fit is generous, and the thin construction allows a great range of motion. The Arrowood runs a little large. If you are generally between sizes, go for the smaller option.
Generally speaking, the Arrowood and Columbia Mission Air Interchange are very close competitors. It is regarding comfort that they differ the most, as the Achilles heel of this 3-in-1 design is the separating layers. The inner and outer are only attached to one another at cuffs, back of the neck, and along the front zipper line, which means that, while putting on and taking off the jacket, things bunch up. The main issue with this is on the sleeves. Sliding the fleece lined sleeves of the Arrowood over your inner layers, on or off, bunches it all up and requires adjustment. Columbia equips their jacket with a slippery sleeve lining that dramatically improves comfort and performance in this one attribute. This alone edges the Columbia ahead, earning it our Top Pick award.
In some ways, the Arrowood has very few features. The pocket set is minimal, for instance. In other ways, though, the very fact that this is a "3-in-1" style jacket means that you get more bang for your buck. You get three jackets in one. This is inherent in the design, and also makes it more feature rich.
Of course, the only other jacket we tested like this is the Columbia Mission. Regarding pockets and organizational features, nothing beats our Top Pick Canada Goose Expedition Parka. The Canada Goose has twice as many pockets as the Arrowood.
The style of this is very unassuming. It just looks like a normal winter jacket. No one had strong opinions on the style, one way or another.
Of all the insulation types we tested (down, synthetic, and fleece), fleece is the most durable. The insulating value of fleece doesn't degrade with time, especially as compared with the insulation value of synthetic insulation. Down insulation maintains its puffiness for a long time, but it requires care to keep it intact this way. The Arrowood and Columbia jackets are the only pieces we tested that use fleece. Complementing the fleece construction of the Arrowood is a shell jacket that is made of fabric that will stand the test of time. This is a durable jacket that will serve you a long time.
For winter temps along the southern reaches of the United States, or spring and fall conditions further north, the Arrowood Triclimate is a versatile and affordable pick. Especially in the warmest climates, where you might even wear bare arms beneath it, there are no disadvantages to this jacket. Anywhere you need long sleeves beneath the jacket, the Columbia's slippery sleeve lining is more comfortable.
As long as your local climate and travel patterns don't require protection in temperatures below the upper 20s, the Arrowood Triclimate is a versatile and comprehensive pick. It could be the only jacket you own, for everything from summer rains to winter slush, and everything in between. You get all this at a price near the bottom of our selection.
Three in one jackets are appealing to many users. They are only the best choice, however, for a limited cross-section of winter residents. If you fit this demographic, compare the Arrowood to the Columbia Mission and make your choice.
— Jediah Porter
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