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Published on December 15th, 2010 | by Alicia

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The North Face and GoLite Offer Cutting Edge Clothing

We’ve had a week­end of out­er­wear here. Yes­ter­day we talked about two down coats. To­day, The North Face’s Men’s Kisht­war jack­et has got tongues wag­ging at the Tru­ly Ob­scure of­fice. De­scribed by the North Face as “the holy grail of soft shells,” the jack­et is made of the com­pa­ny’s lat­est in­no­va­tion: Po­lartec Pow­er Shield Pro. Un­like oth­er soft shell jack­ets on the mar­ket, such as Columbia’s Ti­ta­ni­um Ice Wave Soft Shell, this jack­et is not on­ly ex­treme­ly breath­able, but is high­ly wa­ter re­sis­tant and wind­proof. De­signed for in­tense alpine aer­o­bic ac­tiv­i­ty, the jack­et’s job is to keep you dry dur­ing ex­treme­ly nasty weath­er. We had one of our guys take an em­pire blue ver­sion of the Kisht­war jack­et out for a spin. From a style stand­point, the jack­et is at­trac­tive, stylish, and form fit­ting. The jack­et has two side pock­ets high­er on the body, which is nice as they are eas­i­er to ac­cess dur­ing back­pack­ing (munchie mix, any­one?), and al­so a pock­et on the chest. How­ev­er, we would have liked the jack­et to have a cou­ple more pock­ets. Skiers, bik­ers and climbers take note: the jack­et’s hood is al­so fit­ted, with no room for a hel­met. The jack­et’s ex­te­ri­or feels rugged and able to with­stand what­ev­er you throw its way. We liked that the jack­et’s arms-up ar­tic­u­la­tion en­ables you to grab that next rock dur­ing your climb with­out the jack­et rid­ing up or im­pact­ing mo­bil­i­ty.

The jack­et does what it claims– it pro­vides great wa­ter pro­tec­tion yet is breath­able. Our one is­sue with the jack­et is its in­te­ri­or. The jack­et doesn’t have a fleece in­te­ri­or like most soft shell jack­ets, but is made of a waf­fled stitch fab­ric. With­out an ex­tra lay­er, the jack­et’s rough seams were un­com­fort­able against our arms. Ba­si­cal­ly, you’re not go­ing to want to treat this like a rain jack­et- it’s great tech­ni­cal gear.

We’d love to see the next edi­tion of The North Face’s Kisht­war jack­et come with a zip-in fleece in­te­ri­or. At this point, though, there’s no oth­er jack­et like it on the mar­ket for breath­able wa­ter and wind pro­tec­tion. Its al­so won a cou­ple awards. Not bad. The jack­et re­tails for $279, which feels a bit pricey. It al­so comes in black and as­phalt gray, and is avail­able in sizes S-XXL.

We made a wardrobe change to check out Go­Lite’s Men’s Stone Ranch Fleece Jack­et in gran­ite. It is an at­trac­tive jack­et, fea­tur­ing a cheer­ful bright green zip­per run­ning down the jack­et’s cen­ter. Oh so soft and warm, the high-per­for­mance fleece is a great choice whether you’re tak­ing a bike ride or grab­bing a cup of joe. It isn’t quite as good in a rain storm or oth­er in­clement weath­er, at least not on it’s own- and we would have liked it if the sleeves were ad­justable/elas­tic for bet­ter warmth.

The Stone Ranch jack­et’s se­cret weapon lies in its con­struc­tion. It is made from 100% re­cy­cled polyester, which of course means less en­er­gy was need­ed to make the jack­et. It cer­tain­ly doesn’t look re­cy­cled. In fact, Go­Liteus­es sus­tain­able de­sign prac­tices, which we can’t help but ad­mire. This fleece be­came our go-to jack­et for nip­py evenings and day­time wear in the city, as the style is a nice com­bi­na­tion of ca­su­al and cozy. Bik­ers and run­ners might want to be­ware- there is lit­tle on the back of the jack­et to no­ti­fy mo­torists of your pres­ence. Some­thing re­flec­tive oth­er than the lo­go might be a good in­clu­sion.

The Stone Ranch jack­et has a re­laxed fit (we had a small, which wasn’t tight at all), comes in sizes S-XXL, and al­so can be found in black and a feisty chili pep­per. It re­tails for $150 and is avail­able on­line.

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