SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Gear Review: The North Face Mountain Guide Jacket

I think of my North Face Mountain Guide Jacket as ol’ reliable. I’ve taken this thing to the outer limits of extreme winter conditions…to offering it to my wife on a cool Autumn evening walk. It’s a great friend to have for the everyday, and a better friend to have in a bitter cold pinch.

This one-of-kind item hung on a rack in a hunting store in Abilene, Texas. Not so reasonably priced ($399), I chose the forest green model above the popular and brightly colored blue, red, and yellow selections. And, I don’t want to tell you what I was doing in Texas (we’ll keep that a secret).

Although redesigned for 2005 (I own a previous model), the Mountain Guide performs well in any outdoor setting – it’s a GORE-TEX XCR stretch two-layer cold-weather necessity. For everyday snowshoe outings it’s not the greatest choice (I would suggest something more lightweight and less restrictive). However, the Mountain Guide is fully breathable, seam-sealed, waterproof, and adjustable.

For backcountry treks on snowshoes, the Mountain Guide is a wonderful and worthy choice. And, it’s meant to be used. Over the five years I’ve owned it, I have yet to have a complaint about its durability, functionality and composition.

The seam-seals of the Mountain Guide have somewhat deteriorated over time (around the zippers), but that’s to be expected. The waterproofing system seems to have aged as well. Wear and tear should be presumed at a slow pace – and this attributable with any product. It’s suggested to maintain the jacket after use, especially when moisture has been escaping from the inside.

The North Face utilizes a number of fabrics and technology to equip its active-wear for active people. For the Mountain Guide, GORE-TEX is the number 1 source of reliability. The jacket also features Infusion Technology, Core Vents, and stretch enhancements.

Although not budget-friendly (The North Face is renowned for high-priced products), the jacket is worth the expense. After five years, the Mountain Guide is my good buddy. I take care of it, feed it, groom it, and give it the love it deserves.

Mushiness aside, The North Face has consistently manufactured a well-made jacket, and the Mountain Guide is one of them. Buy it, use it, love it, learn it, and then snowshoe in it.