First Impressions

When it’s cold out, you’re going to want The North Face Spilway jacket. This jacket provides all the warmth you need thanks to the recycled Heatseeker™ insulation, plenty of storage and a waterproof, seam-sealed exterior for protection from the elements. Thanks to the folks from The North Face, I had a chance to try this jacket in some crazy conditions in Lake Tahoe – ranging from 9 degrees to over 50 degrees on the mountain – and the Spilway performed extremely well.

The North Face Spilway Jacket


The North Face packed the Spilway with tons of features. Starting from the outside, the jacket uses the company’s proprietary HyVent waterproof and breathable hardshell fabric (rated at 25psi). The seams are sealed for additional waterproofing. The removable helmet-compatible hood include adjustments on both the front and rear to customize the fit.

The Spilway provides no fewer than four exterior pockets: two fleece-lined hand warmer pockets, a napoleon pocket on the upper left chest and a stash pocket on the left sleeve that includes a removable goggle wipe. The cuffs employ elastic and hook and loop for tight closure around or underneath your gloves. And the short pit-zips deliver just enough ventilation when you need it.

On the interior, The North Face lines the jacket with a moderate amount of their Heatseeker insulation and a terrifically lightweight and silky taffeta, which makes it a breeze to put on and remove. There are two interior pockets, one for your media player and the other an elastic mesh for goggles or other large items. The jacket also includes a built-in powder skirt for days when it’s blowing.


The North Face Spilway jacket fits my 5’8” frame perfectly. It’s generously cut and will accommodate multiple layers (although you may not need too many given the built-in insulation). The helmet-compatible hood is just that. Cuffs can be easily adjusted. Well done.

Final Verdict

I’m typically not the guy that jumps at an insulated jacket (I tend to like to add layers under a good shell). But my experience with the Spilway has me thinking. I was perfectly comfortable with one less layer than normal on some extremely cold mornings in Tahoe. And in the afternoon, opening up the pit-zips provided enough airflow to keep me from overheating. There’s definitely a place in the arsenal for a jacket like the Spilway. If you ski in colder climes, or want the option of fewer layers, definitely check it out.

First Impressions:
[Rating:4/5] Features:
[Rating:5/5] Fit:
[Rating:5/5] Final Verdict:

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. Written by Matt K. And thanks to The North Face and Ruder Finn for providing the Spilway jacket for review.