It’s hard to improve on your birthday suit, but that didn’t stop the folks at The North Face from creating the Better Than Naked Jacket. And even though all of your man parts like to enjoy some fresh air from time to time, at least this lightweight running top will lend your skin a little extra protection from cool temperatures, light rain, and rogue branches during your next jaunt through the woods.
- Strategically bonded, stitchless seams
- DWR coating
- Body material – nylon ripstop, DWR coating
- Back panel material – 86% polyester, 14% elastane
- Underarm panel material – 92% polyester, 8% elastane mesh
- Laminated pocket
- 11 cm wide x 20 cm tall (4.3 in x 7.9 in)
- Reflective logos
- Measured size medium
- Weight – 114 g (4.0 oz)
- Center back – 73 cm (28.7 in)
- Sleeve length – 93.5 cm (36.8 in)
- Pit to pit – 56 cm (22 in)
- Retail – $129
The North Face Better Than Naked Jacket is part of the Flight Series. A super lightweight and packable jacket that is built for running but can be used across a wide range of activities.
The Better Than Naked Jacket is made out of a mixture of materials. The main body fabric is a lightweight nylon material. This material is wind resistant and sheds moisture well. In the back there is a large panel that breathes a little bit more and is made out of a polyester/elastane mix. There are two mesh panels in the front and back that has more stretch then the other panels and let out heat better as well. Most of the jacket seams are welded together to avoid irritation and make the jacket more comfortable. The whole jacket does not have welded seams, around the shoulder and down the arms are regular seams. There is a welded pocket on the left arm that has zipper access and a headphone port on the inside. In both the cuffs and bottom hem of the jacket there is elastic bands that are not adjustable but do help with fit and blocking drafts. Around the inside of the collar is mesh material to help move moisture and give a softer feel to the face and neck area. The jacket has a full length lightweight zipper for venting and the zipper pull even glows in the dark. The logos on the back shoulder, front chest, and left sleeve are all reflective for visibility in low light conditions.
The Better Than Naked Jacket fits similar to other North Face Flight Series products. I went with the medium sized jacket and am happy with most of the fit. The arms are nice and long which is great for running as well as cycling. There is a little room throughout the jacket; in the arms, chest, and shoulders there is just the right amount. Around the wrist the elastic is not too tight or loose. For a non-adjustable cuff the fit was perfect. Around the stomach area there was more fabric then I like, this is fairly common for me. It can bulge out a bit due to this extra fabric. The bottom hem of the jacket was a little on the tight side. The non-adjustable elastic in it is comfortable but I find myself adjusting the jacket every so often. Around the collar fits really well, once again it is not loose or tight, just right. Overall the Better Than Naked Jacket fits well in places and not great in others. But none of these are deal-breakers.
I have used this jacket for windy runs, rainy runs, and morning commutes. The jacket has performed well. The main material does not breathe as well as the back panel or mesh panels by design. On warmer days this has caused me to overheat a bit. The nice thing about this jacket is you can vent with the zipper or just take off the jacket and stow it. The jacket is really packable and fits in a pocket or jersey really well. The arms are nice and long which made it work great even when stretched out on the bike. I liked the shoulder pocket especially since it had a headphone port, this makes the shoulder pocket much more useful.
The fabric does a remarkably good job resisting rain. It has a DWR finish that causes the rain to bead up and just roll off. Over time this will need to be renewed or reapplied but I have not noticed any slowing down yet. The jacket is also very lightweight, at 4 oz there is no reason to leave it behind. I even had an instance that I brought it along because it was so light even though the forecast called for great weather. Turns out the 2nd half of my run was in the rain, good thing I brought this jacket along. If it gets wet it will dry quickly. I only wish they would have use a bit more mesh paneling, the bit the North Face used is not much. Some panels under the arms or down the sides would have been great.
Overall the North Face Better Than Naked Jacket has been great for those iffy days here in Bend. It is just enough of a jacket to take the chill off while cycling and for me keep me rather warm when running. I have not used the jacket in the winter yet but am looking forward to it. The fit is okay but not great. The jacket makes up for it in performance. It is well designed and breathes much better than the Krakatoa Hoodie. For a lightweight 4 oz jacket it runs a bit steep at $129 but it is not outrageous. It is a good jacket that can be used for running, hiking, golfing, cycling, or just around town. You can take it anywhere, just in case. Of course, your mileage may vary.
- Shed moisture and wind
- Needs more mesh paneling
- Extra room in stomach area