North Face Women’s Summit Proprius Kit

Post by blogger | March 14, 2018      

Sarah Uhl

(This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry, they’re having a BIG SALE starting Friday going over weekend, online and in-person. See other Wildsnow coverage of North Face gear.)

Snow salutation in my North Face kit.

Snow salutation in my North Face Summit Proprius kit.

I started the season in style this year with WildSnow clothing review kit from The North Face. Just what I needed for hitting the slopes as much as possible, uphilling and downhilling to prepare for a British Columbia hut trip.

My mid-December hut trip to Valhalla Mountain Touring, would involve long self guided days touring in the Selkirk Mountains, so lightweight and comfortable gear was a priority.

Oh Canada, how lovely thou art.

Oh Canada, how lovely thou art.

The Summit L4 Proprius Softshell Pants are my favorite part of the ensemble. These are the lightest ski touring pants I’ve ever used, both in fabric thickness and mass.

Handy beacon clip in the thigh pocket of the Proprius softshell pants.

Handy beacon clip in the thigh pocket of the Proprius softshell pants.

Pants fit over boots easily with the ample zippered opening.

Pants fit over boots easily with the ample 8″ zippered opening.

The stretch material makes me feel at home. With their slim fit and flattering cut I find myself keeping them on for hours after skiing, not rushing to switch to something more comfortable (or cute) after a long ski day.

Despite the slim cut, I’m comfortable touring in these pants with or without long underwear which makes them more versatile than I expected they would be. (Note, as with many brand’s slimmer pants, these are not going to fit everyone, always plan a try-on.)

Summit L4 Proprius Softshell pant specs:

  • Fabric: 11% elastan stretch double weave with four-way stretch, wind-resistant softshell
  • Low-profile waistband with integrated adjustable belt
  • Articulated knees
  • Reinforced kick-patches on inner side cuffs for added durability
  • MSRP: $200
  • 10 inch zoppered side-vents.

    10 inch zippered side-vents.

    The Summit L3 Proprius Down Hoodie is incredibly warm and comfortable. I appreciate the length and the slender fit. I used the jacket skiing in-bound quite a bit before leaving Colorado to head north. Most days I felt warm enough to ski with a shell. It packs up quite small so I liked having such a warm layer in my touring pack while we were in BC, even if I didn’t end up needing it. I would recommend getting a tiny stuff sack to help pack it up small enough in a tight pack.

    I like the high neck.

    I like the high neck.

    My only complaint with this jacket is its lack of pockets. Having only one chest pocket became a noticeable deficiency after more use. Perhaps part of this is habitual but I would argue there are quite a few utilitarian purposes to having pockets around the hips and I consistently missed having them.

    Summit L3 Proprius Down Hoodie specs:

  • Fabric: Nylon ripstop wiht durable water-repellent (DWR) finish
  • Insulation: 800-fill goose down
  • Helmet compatible hood with elastic binding and rear adjustment
  • Large single chest pocket with stow compatibility
  • Stretch-knit cuffs
  • Single-pull, side-hem cinch-cord
  • MSRP: $350
  • The Summit L5 Proprius Gore-tex Active Shell Jacket also only has one chest pocket and I felt the same way about it. The combination of two chest pockets just ended up being more awkward than streamlined. On days when I wore both the shell and puffy, and used both chest pockets, I tended to feel top heavy and slightly uncomfortable.

    The shell.

    The shell.

    The Summit L5 Proprius Gore-tex Active Shell was remarkably lightweight and durable. I typically avoid shells because of how bulky the material is but this one is enjoyably soft, flexible, and just as warm as any other shell I’ve ever used. It also packs up tiny, which is helpful when touring with multiple layers. My only complaint about the shell was that the minimalist zipper was not the easiest to use and the lack of pockets was noticeable as I mentioned above.

    Summit L5 Proprius Gore-tex Active Shell specs:

  • Fabric: waterproof, breathable, seam-sealed, Gore-Tex Active three layer
  • 100% windproof
  • Attached, adjustable, helmet-compatible hood wiht laminated wire brim
  • Large cord locks for easy hood and hem adjustment
  • Adjustable Velcro cuff tabs
  • Chest pocket with internal mesh media pocket
  • MSRP: $425
  • If you prefer Primaloft rather than down, North Face provides with the Summit L3 Proprius Primaloft Hoody. Cut with for an athletic fit, it’s another piece that’s an impressively good insulator considering it’s lack of heft. I especially liked the tapered arms and the thumbhold wrists. The pretty aqua hue is a winner too.

    Summit L3 Proprius Primaloft Hoody specs:

  • Fabric: nylon ripstop with durable water-repellent (DWR) finish
  • Insulation: PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Active
  • Insulated, helmet-compatible hood with elastic binding and rear adjustment
  • Large single chest pocket
  • Stretch-knit cuffs with thumb loops
  • Single-pull, side-hem cinch-cord
  • MSRP: $225
  • High neck, check pocket, and hood -- the L3 Proprius Primaloft Hoodie.

    High neck, check pocket, and hood — the L3 Proprius Primaloft Hoodie.

    Nifty thumb holds keeps sleeves down when you're adding layers.

    Nifty thumb holds keeps sleeves down when you’re adding layers.

    All in all, I enjoyed the gear and love how lightweight and comfortable everything is: a unique combo that upgrades my quiver!

    Sarah Uhl is an artist and adventurer based out of Carbondale, Colorado

    (Sarah Uhl is an artist and adventurer based out of Carbondale, Colorado. Sarah often paints from mountaintops and utilizes backcountry skiing to access the natural world she highlights through her work. You can learn more about Sarah or follow along with her adventures here: @sarahvirginiauhl or The North Face provided gear for this review, on long term loan.)


    Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


    14 Responses to “North Face Women’s Summit Proprius Kit”

    1. Kristian March 14th, 2018 11:40 am

      I quickly adjusted to not having hand pockets for these garments

      My guess is that the designers decided to create trim lightweight athletic pullover type garments with the convenience of full shell zippers.

    2. XXX_er March 14th, 2018 12:56 pm

      I would suggest its cheaper/easier to make clothing without pockets

    3. Shane March 14th, 2018 1:21 pm

      The lack of pockets on my BC gear gets more and more annoying each year but I’m loath to replace my 10+ yr old Arcteryx stuff – it just keeps kicking although I’m sure I get fewer days in the BC than the WS Crew.

      Are the Proprius pants waterproof enough to not leave you with wet ankles, knees, and butt after a day of touring and digging snow pits? Windproof on the way down?

    4. See March 14th, 2018 1:55 pm

      I like lots of pockets on outside layers, but not mid/insulation/base layers. I especially like pants pockets because I don’t change lower layer very often over the course of the day.

    5. Kristian March 14th, 2018 6:06 pm

      I think that hand pockets make a great deal of sense for relatively stable conditions where you are not adjusting your layering like downhill skiing, snowmobiling, everyday street wear, etc.

      But for dynamic athletic activities like skimo that may start very early in the morning, you will have to add and subtract several layers throughout the day.

      The outer layer is always changing. Do you really want an additional 2 – 4 layers of hand pockets fabric, insulation, seams, zippers, velcro, and stitching?

      Now imagine that you are using those pockets to store stuff. That adds even more inches/centimeters of girth and complexity to your waist.

    6. Kristian March 14th, 2018 6:15 pm

      And… Chances are that the hand pockets are covered by your tightened backpack’s waist strap making them useless.

    7. See March 14th, 2018 6:20 pm

      I primarily use pants pockets for the reasons you mention, Kristian. Also, I don’t understand why so many packs don’t have waist belt pockets.

    8. See March 14th, 2018 6:22 pm

      And few, if any, have shoulder strap pockets.

    9. Lisa Dawson March 14th, 2018 6:26 pm

      Good points, Kristian. I admit it took me a while to get accustom to the lack of pockets, mainly when I wear the Proprius Primaloft Hoody around town.

      But for skiing I like the slim cut for layering and don’t miss the hip pockets especially when using a pack’s waist belt, as you noted.

    10. See March 14th, 2018 7:53 pm

      Kristian, I’m with you re. shell jacket pockets being a low priority for bc skiing, but companies gotta pay the bills. A review of minimalist hardshells (under 7 ounces) would be interesting. Also, “helmet compatible” is an almost meaningless description, imo. Most of the “helmet compatible” shells I’ve tried have not been compatible with my helmet. A picture of the hood being worn with a helmet would be helpful.

    11. Kristian March 14th, 2018 9:41 pm

      Completely agree with all said and I also love waist belt pockets.

      See, this winter on a very cold windy 14er, I wore a medium L2 grid fleece hoodie under my helmet instead of a balaclava, a medium L3 Proprius Primaloft Hoodie over the helmet, and a medium L3 Proprius Down Hoodie over that. Medium size Black Diamond half dome helmet

      Was toasty warm, all layered well with no bindings or constrictions, and I looked like a yellow Easter Peep!

    12. Al March 15th, 2018 12:28 pm

      Nice to see use of the phrase, Uphill/ Downhill skiing. Best way to describe the activity!

    13. Cody March 15th, 2018 3:03 pm

      Not a fan of the single chest pocket (unless it’s a lightweight fleece for only activities) but the double chest pockets that are on the normal L5 that TNF makes has been a game changer for me. I honestly don’t want another full 3L shell with a 4 or 3 pocket layout anymore. Completely gone is the harness or waist belt being slightly over the pocket. Having two huge chest pockets is AMAZING.

      Those softshell pants look nice, still rocking some old ones from TNF that they have yet to match in the last few years.

    14. Sarah Uhl March 15th, 2018 5:04 pm

      Hi Shane! You asked about waterproofness and windproofness. I was quite impressed with what these pants could handle considering how lightweight they are but I also would not wear them on a wet and extra windy snow day. I found they are more wind and water resistant and with a warmer base layer I found myself being able to get away with quite a bit. If you are just digging pits and the snow is not wet and melting on you all day, I think you will be just fine… I’ve worn them out here in Colorado primarily where we have a dryer climate.

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