The North Face's Evolution II Triclimate® 3-in-1 is billed as a three season jacket (spring, autumn and winter). Perfect for summer in the UK then!

If you're going to be an outdoorsy person, layering is an important concept to get to grips with. The idea behind 3-in-1s is to have a versatile jacket with waterproof outer and zip-in mid layer, to make life simple.

The hooded Evolution II Triclimate from TNF has a removable Polartec® fleece inner for warmth, and waterproof nylon outer to keep you dry. Worn together, you have protection from all of the elements, or separate them and you have a lightweight yet fully windproof and waterproof jacket for gusty and wet weather in warmer months, or a warm (and again lightweight) fleece top for cooler dry days.

So that's the theory, but does it work in the real world?

Hannah and I are certainly the right people to test them. I'm almost always warm - the type you'll see in a t-shirt from March to October and more likely to carry a jacket than wear it. Always looking for that extra layer, Hannah is quite the opposite. She rarely leaves the house without a jacket of some sort - cold blooded some say.

Needless to say, our air con temperature battles on car journeys can be epic!

We've lived with his and hers Triclimate jackets (different colours fortunately) for several months now and really put them through their paces. What's more, we're both seriously impressed.

As an outdoor clothing firm, The North Face have been around since the 60s. Long enough to have an answer for everything you'd think - and you'd be pretty much right. TNF outdoor gear is almost the defacto standard for a lot of people, a mid-range brand with style and real outdoor kudos.

There are a lot of 3-in-1 jackets on the market, but the TNF Evolution II is a good length (slightly longer than the jacket it replaces) and as well made as you should expect. Built to confidently withstand the most unforgiving weather.

All the basics are there. Sealed seams, Velcro storm flaps, breathable HyVent® outer, and Polartec® Classic inner - insulation the experts would choose.

There are decent size zipped pockets on both layers, an adjustable (and slightly peaked) hood which can be rolled up and stowed, a good collar, adjustable cuffs and a cinch cord hem. Gone is the chest pocket from the first version of this jacket though.

Stylish too, you'd have to say. It fits really nicely and I felt as comfortable strolling around town in either layer, or wearing them to work, as I did out walking. Not that you'd expect anything less in a £200 jacket of course, but the inner alone does a great job of being windproof.

There's also none of the usual fiddle to join and separate the inner and outer either, as the design is simplicity itself. Two quick zips, three loop poppers and you're done, with a very integrated feeling jacket as the result.

And if you're only throwing the outer on to weather a short rain shower, there's no need to bother with zipping them together anyway. It's only really in the cooler seasons that I'd keep them joined - and only then for the convenience of slipping on a single jacket.

That's the underlying story here though isn't it - a jacket for all seasons. The North Face are certainly committed to the 3-in-1 concept - at the last look I counted at least eight separate products in their Triclimate line.

There are some minor niggles of course.

HyVent is North Face's own polyurethane coated fabric technology, a lower cost alternative to the more effective HyVent Alpha and Gore-Tex membranes. The difference is highly technical - a coated fabric layer versus a dedicated layer of waterproof material which is then bonded to the fabric or suspended between two fabric layers.

TNF's standard HyVent isn't as breathable as their HyVent Alpha, or Gore-Tex, and I got a bit sweaty in both jackets fairly easily. The pit zips help of course, as do the adjustable cuffs and hood. Despite being less breathable, coated fabrics are generally more lightweight - and that is certainly one of the big pluses here. It's not ultra-lightweight like TNF's Verto, but it's certainly at the practical end of the range.

It took me a while to get used to the zipper being on the wrong side and the netted rears of pockets on the nylon outer aren't great for keys (though the fleece front lining is a good hand warmer). The hood doesn't turn with your head as easily as you'd like (though it is very adjustable, which helps) and, you might find that everyday wool jumpers get caught by the outer's Velcro (but even then, it's only a gentle Velcro, so not a big deal).

Still those are little things. We'd both go as far to say that the Evolution II Triclimate is an essential bit of kit - and it should certainly be a strong contender in your choice. Prices compare well with the likes of Berghaus and Jack Wolfskin.

Yes, seasoned pros might prefer to go out and buy separate layers to get the best value, but when the components are this good, the style conscious needn't bother. It's also useful to know that some of TNF's other fleece inners are Triclimate compatible.


Superb quality, well thought out and hugely flexible.


Could be more a bit more breathable (but then the price goes up).

Recommended Use

Everyone should have one! There are no ends to the talents of this jacket.

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