Dressing right for aerobic activity in cold weather is a continual challenge. With its new Animagi Jacket, The North Face offers a hybrid option that insulates where needed but also breathes.
Horizontal panels and a high neck give the Animagi the look of a vest worn over a base-layer top. But those dark sleeves are connected to the puffy panels, providing full coverage on the arms (but only a hint of warmth).
Indeed, the sleeves and the side of the torso are a thin stretchy material that wind cuts through. But your core is protected with the PrimaLoft-stuffed front and back panels.
The system worked well in my tests, including runs and hour-long hikes in below-freezing temps. As my body worked up a sweat, the side panels of thin fabric on the torso provided breathability.
My core stayed comfortable and warm. And when I began to overheat, I pulled open the main zipper to ventilate in front.
There are thumb holes in the cuffs, letting you pull the sleeves up over the back of your hands for added warmth.
One gripe: The neck opening is somewhat large. On colder days, I had to wear a thin neck gaiter to fill in a gap where my body heat escaped from under my chin.
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