The North Face Hecktic Down Jacket

The Hecktic features strong, fully taped zippers and huge fleece lined front pockets that I’ve come to appreciate. They’re plenty big enough to keep track of a pair of gloves or goggles when you need free, unrestricted hands for photog or snow study work. The front chest pockets have proven convenient for stashing a cell phone, wallet, or set of keys, while the arm packet works well for RF scan season passes. The hood, which fits easily over a helmet, is lined with the same down material that backs the rest of the jacket and works well to warm up your skull if need be.

A size Large in the Hecktic has a nice, roomier freeride fit to it that strikes me as pretty conventional by today’s sizing standards. It’s warmer than it looks, and hangs very well for a down jacket (it’s not slim and athletic, nor is it as baggy as large size from Saga or Oakley). The sizing of The North Face Hecktic should be consistent with the size you would normally grab off the rack.

Will Brown, The North Face Hecktic Jacket, Taos Ski Valley
Will Brown, Highline Ridge, Taos. (photo by Ryan Heffernan)

I have no reason to doubt the Hecktic’s durability. So far it has stood up to many a high-speed brushes with tree branches and snags. TNF’s 2 layer HyVent Alpha shell employs a PU laminate membrane further engineered from regular HyVent. While being blasted with graupel and fierce, windblown snow, I haven’t experienced any poor wind or waterproofing performance.

To clarify, HyVent Alpha’s waterproof rating is listed at 25 PSI, which in the world of confusing performance ratings, roughly equates to 18k in more conventional notation. As a physical laminate rather than a cheaper waterproof coating, HyVent Alpha’s waterproofing characteristics shouldn’t diminish with repeated wear & wash cycles. (For an in-depth explanation of performance membranes and outerwear tech, see BLISTER’s Outerwear 101 – with close attention to the “Performance Ratings Debunked” section on page 4)

I could easily wear this jacket for 85% of days this season. It brings all the perks of a high quality shell that help battle the elements, but is backed with 700-fill down that keeps you comfortable and shredding while others are holed up in the lodge. As advertised, the Hecktic is a no-brainer for the gnarliest days of storm riding. Yet, with both sets of pit and chest zips open it will suffice on days when a wearing just non-insulated shell isn’t quite cutting it.

Of course, The North Face Hecktic isn’t as versatile as most technical shells (if you’re looking for a highly adaptable, uninsulated piece of outerwear for those touring days, consider TNF’s Enzo Jacket), but thanks to a well thought out design, it isn’t some sweat inducing, wear-it-only-five-days-per-season, Michelin man puff ball, either.

1 comment on “The North Face Hecktic Down Jacket”

  1. Very glad to see this review. I was comparing the Hecktic jacket to a major competitor’s (will give a hint – has Primo Down in the name) and was wondering if the latter was worth the $200.00 difference in performance or quality? Really happy to hear about the dual (not sure if that’s right?) venting. Looking forward to trying this jacket out. Alas, I only go skiing about 15 times a season (live and ski on the east coast) and conditions have been much, much less than epic in these parts. You could argue that the season hasn’t even started. Thanks for the thorough review as it will probably save me 200 bucks.

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