Jacket: TNF Varius Guide Ski Jacket
2nd Dec 2005
The North Face Women’s Guide Varius is designed for skiing and snowboarding and has proved a best-seller in their women’s range.
I wear mine for snowboarding and it has some really useful features, including double zips, sealed seams, Velcro cuffs, drawcord bottom and an inner powder skirt, to keep the snow out and you warm and dry. There are also under arm ventilation zips for when you’re working hard. Another good feature is the easily detachable hood – when you’re wearing a hat, you don’t always want a hood flapping about behind you.
The two layer stretch HyVent material is extremely waterproof so rain drops collect and run off the surface. It is also highly breathable and I can walk for long distances without overheating – unlike other, much lighter waterproof garments I own, which make me sweat. I even cycle to work in this jacket.
The Varius is comfortable and therefore good for general winter use. The hood is fully adjustable with drawcords and fits snugly around the face. It has adequate hand pockets and two chest pockets (one inside, one outside) all with secure, covered zips. In the hills, you could easily carry a mobile phone, GPS, lift pass, money and keys close to your body. An extra comfort feature is the soft material that protects the chin and mouth when the jacket is fully zipped.
The style is just below hip length so this jacket is best worn with waterproof trousers or salopettes for overall comfort. I have not yet used mine for winter climbing, but it would not be my first choice – slightly too short to fit comfortably under a harness and not quite enough arm mobility. Only one other potential problem that I can think of – the powder skirt is not adjustable, so it may not be tight enough on some women slight of build.
I'm really pleased with this jacket and it has fast become my most frequently worn winter coat. It looks good and I don’t feel like I’m dressed for the mountains when I wear it around town. That said, the material feels very tough and I'm confident it will take some punishment in the mountains this winter!
6 months down the line... No complaints, this jacket has performed well for snowboarding and general outdoor use in all weathers.
Reviewed by Matt Heason on behalf of planetFear