First Impressions

You can feel it in the air. Summer has turned to Fall and Winter isn’t far behind. As the mornings start dipping into the 40s, it’s time for an extra layer. And that’s when I turn to The North Face’s Apex McKinley Jacket. This good looking softshell jacket joined the GearGuide rotation a little less than a year ago and quickly became one of our go-to pieces from Fall through early Spring.


The North Face makes the Apex McKinley from their proprietary Apex ClimateBlock fabric. It’s a recycled polyester softshell that’s treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish. The North Face makes a number of other products from this fabric including running gear, gloves and a myriad of other jackets. In the case of the Apex McKinley, The North Face lined the jacket with a soft fleece to provide more protection and heat retention. It’s a nice feature, but tends to make the jacket a little difficult to pull over long sleeve shirts and sweaters.

Construction: Stitched and welded seams
Fabric: TNF Apex recycled polyester softshell, DWR finish
Weight: 25 oz

Outside on the Apex McKinley, you’ll find three pockets – one on the upper right chest and two handwarmers. Cuffs include hook and loop tabs to customize the fit around the wrist.

Inside, two interior pockets are placed behind the handwarmers. Zippers are water resistant. And the collar is a standup, stovepipe style.


The North Face built the Apex McKinley to subscribe to their performance fit. In other words, it’s cut more slimly and fits tighter to the body. With the softshell fabric, this approach works very well. There’s plenty of give and I never felt constricted. Sleeve length is right on and can be easily dialed with the wrist tabs.

Final Verdict

The North Face Apex McKinley delivers outstanding style and performance. It’s a do-anything jacket that works around town and outside for just about any activity – hiking, camping, fishing, cross-country and spring skiing, you name it. The softshell fabric delivers both wind protection and waterproofing. If you’re looking for a softshell jacket to take you into the Fall and thru the Winter, the Apex McKinley is an excellent choice.

First Impressions:
[Rating:4.5/5] Features:
[Rating:4/5] Fit:
[Rating:4.5/5] Final Verdict:

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. Written by Matt K.