TNF Honcho Jacket — Review

Post by blogger | February 24, 2010      
TNF North Face Honcho jacket for backcountry skiing.

The honcho in his honcho. Ladies, he's not married -- yet.

The North Face Honcho Jacket is a new concept to me; it is a great layer to add to the quiver that is a ski mountaineer’s closet. Breathable hardshell material on the outside, combined with baffled 700-fill down on the inside make for excellent warmth on the downhill or those super chilly days on the climb. For downhill skiing and sledding I wore it with just a base layer underneath, in single digits temps, and it handled the cold like a champ.

This is a fully featured technical piece. The well designed hood cinches down to keep out the wind and cover the face, the handy zipper pocket on the upper left arm, zipper pocket in the inside, zipper pocket on the chest, plus the mandatory hip pockets.

Adding to the tech features, pitzips: Pitzips are one of those things that you can either do really well, or very poorly as a gear company. Some companies make them too short, so they do not allow enough air to come in. TNF designs them long enough to really get some venting for the uphill, and the obligatory seam sealed zipper was a plus as well. The Honcho comes with a cinch cord for the waist, but I’d rather forego this and have a powder skirt to really keep out the snow. Only true downside is the hood doesn’t really fit over a helmet, a deal breaker for some folks but a non-issue for others. Overall, excellent jacket!

(Please note, TNF discontinued this jacket in fall of 2009, but they’re still in the pipeline so we figured a review could be useful for bargain shoppers.)

On sale at Moosejaw

(Guest Blogger Jordan White finished skiing all 54 Colorado fourteeners in spring of 2009. He’s a committed alpinist and ski mountaineer who always keeps his eyes on the Seven Summits. Jordan blogs here.)


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6 Responses to “TNF Honcho Jacket — Review”

  1. Lee February 24th, 2010 2:33 pm

    I’m not a fan of seam sealed zippers…they work for while but once they wear-out you stuffed, since manufacturers no longer build jackets with storm flaps. It’s virtually impossible to find good jackets (or increasingly rucksacks) without them – built in obsolescence if you ask me – so you have to replace your jacket long before it’s worn out.

  2. gillesleskieur February 25th, 2010 7:26 am

    look at Marmot’s jackets Lou, almost allof them have storm flaps and normal zippers..

  3. Joe February 26th, 2010 1:29 pm

    Hey Lou,

    If your going to advertise Jordan to the ladies, perhaps future images should be scratch-and-sniff for full disclosure.


  4. Jordan February 26th, 2010 2:01 pm

    You would sniff it wouldn’t your Joe?

  5. Lou February 26th, 2010 2:40 pm

    He he, I’ll try to find a WordPress plugin for that.

  6. gman February 27th, 2010 8:34 pm

    Hey Lou,

    Very informative site. Thanks for putting this together! I’ve been teleing for 30 years and have finally decided to make the switch to AT. I’m not an aggressive or even very competent skier, so I don’t think I need gear for skiing 50 deg. couloirs and the like. But I would prefer a lighter AT set-up. Looks like I’ll get a deal on some Movement Ikis, so skis are no problem.

    Here’s my questions on what gear to get: I’m choosing between Dynafit Verticals and TLT Speeds. Other than cost and weight, what’s the diff? I’ve been looking all over and can’t find any functional differences, other than the fact that some Vertical models come w/ brakes. Your recommendations?

    Speaking of brakes: I’ve never had or needed ski brakes. Am I OK to go with straps? Even in resorts?

    Finally, for boots, I’m looking at Scarpa F1s (my first choice just because they look light), F3s, Dynafit ZZero 3s, or Garmont Megafits. As a telemarker, I’m nervous about getting into Frankenboots that aren’t as comfy as my old Scarpa T1s. Is my fear justified?

    Don’t know if I’ve posted this where anyone will notice, but any advice to an AT newbie would be a great help.

    Again, thanks for all the great info on this site!


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