The North Face L4 Windstopper Hoody — Review

Post by blogger | May 17, 2018      
The North Face L4 Windstopper Hoody

The North Face L4 Windstopper Hoody.

When it comes to thin, lightweight outerwear shells I’m like a butterfly collector. The more species, in more colors, the happier I am. Why the collection doesn’t get out of hand I have no idea. Perhaps other bloggers sneak them out of my closet when I’m not looking? “Hey, come back with my hoody you writing recidivist!”

A recent addition to my award winning collection of petrochemical entomology is the L4 Windstopper Hoody, by The North Face but of course. In my view, this piece is the perfect anytime layer for spring ski touring. Wear it in the morning over a fleece for your trailhead exit system, slip it on at the summit over your sun shirt for a warm descent. The way it works is the hood and upper torso are made from fully breeze blocking Gore Windstopper fabric that’s somewhat of a faux softshell, while the sleeves and lower torso are fully breathable stretchy thin-soft fabric they call WindWall. The overall effect is a form fitting shell that’s temperature versatile and light at 402 grams (men’s medium).

The L4 Hoody has three zippered pockets. A napoleon slot on the left chest is nothing unusual, and could be larger (I like mongo chest pockets). What I found interesting are two “waist” pockets located unusually high so as not to go under your waistbelt, and ostensibly provide some venting while unzipped. While these “high pockets” are made from a perforated fabric, they’re not ultra-breathing mesh, so I doubt they do much in the way of venting (which you don’t really need anyway, with this uber-breathable jacket) but they’re useful stowage that I honestly found excellent in terms of location. I found myself keeping a Buff in one, with sunscreen and ski strap in the other, obviating their use as vents. Ever organized!

The is a “climbing” jacket so the sleeves are nicely long, with simple elastic cuffs I most often prefer over hook-loop annoyance. The cuffs don’t stretch out with much diameter, making this most certainly a springtime piece as you won’t be pulling your sleeves over bulky gloves or mittens (though you could wear these cuffs inside the glove cuffs). Hood is helmet “bi” compatible, meaning it’s sleek enough to fit under if your helmet has adjustable fit, and fits over, albeit tightly.

In terms of fit, look elsewhere if you’re bulky but do look closer if you have the “cyclist” phsique. Speaking of which, with its long sleeves, stretchy feel and form fitting cut L4 Windstopper would also make a good cycling layer, I’ll be using my bright red one for exactly that purpose as well as spring skiing.

Conclusion: If you’re looking for a temperature versatile and comfortable wind layer, appropriate for spring skiing, cycling, or fit-hot-fast winter climbs, check out the L4 Windstopper Hoody – The North Face.

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5 Responses to “The North Face L4 Windstopper Hoody — Review”

  1. slcpunk May 17th, 2018 9:38 am

    If I designed this stuff, I would make sure to have the windproof/insulation on the sleeves. The back should be as thin and breathable as possible, with the chest having some windproofing ( full zip to vent ).

    When you get going with some high output skinning/running/climbing, your core is generally warm. A breeze, or cooler weather can mean your extremities get cold even when you are sweating. Need to keep arms warm, unlike how this jacket is setup in my view.

    The OR Centrifuge jacket and BD Deployment Hybrid Hoody do this pretty well I think. both are discontinued.

    Anyway, just in case any manufacturers are reading this…thought I would throw in my idea. I’m a guy that gets hot fast, but still gets cold fingers.

  2. See May 17th, 2018 7:09 pm

    My preferred spring softshell is also discontinued— Patagonia Ascensionist. Maybe the welded seams fail or something, but I can’t think of anything I’d change about this 510g jacket aside from moving the pockets up above belt level. Light, breathable, enormous hood that fits over my helmet and still allows me to turn my head… I wonder why they stopped making it?

  3. See May 17th, 2018 7:59 pm

    Re. helmet compatibility: I think this is an area where the tension between making ski gear and making street wear is evident. A truly helmet compatible hood will likely be rejected by some one who just wants something to wear around town, but is super useful to some one who actually wears a helmet.

  4. XXX_er May 17th, 2018 9:04 pm

    The ascentionist was a nice soft shell but the welded seams were a bad idea, the shell literaly fell apart at least 6 years ago … maybe Patagonnia got tired of warrantying it ?

    the mtn hardware that replaced it ^ blew out the under designed zipper in < a year

    the Marmot Nabu in neoshell that replaced it ^ has been a nice piece for 5 yrs now but it needs repalcing

  5. See May 18th, 2018 8:00 am

    I’ve got 2 Ascensionist jackets (used to have 3, but gave one away). If the seams start to fail, I’ll probably just sew them back together or give the Patagonia repair service a try (unless I find something better). Can anyone recommend a similar light softshell with a really big hood?

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