The North Face Revamped a ’90s Icon With a Modern Twist

The Mountain Light Jacket was a 1990s icon from The North Face. Now it’s back and better than ever as the 1994 Retro Mountain Light Jacket.

If you’re like me and graduated from high school in the mid-90s (oh man, that sounds like forever ago), you will recognize The North Face’s Mountain Light Jacket. A light, versatile, waterproof shell, it was everywhere — and for good reason.

S2020 Mountain Light
Mountain Light Jacket

Launched in 1988, the Mountain Light Jacket hit a reasonable price for a high-end mountaineering shell. It also shed wind and water and gave (for the era) incredible breathability. There were several of them hanging on hooks at my college house. Roommates wore them in nasty weather in Minnesota, both as shells for cold and for protection against spring rains.

Today, The North Face announced it’s bringing the Mountain Light Jacket back, but with new materials that will bring its performance into the 21st century.

1994 Retro Mountain Light Jacket

The 1994 Retro Mountain Light Jacket looks a lot like the original, but it uses FUTURELIGHT fabric. This new proprietary waterproof-breathable fabric performs beyond the dreams of those mountaineers who first wore the jacket in 1988. The material is much more breathable while maintaining waterproofness.

S2020 Mountain Light

But the look is all vintage TNF. Bold color blocking, loose fit, and metal buttons give it retro style points. It’s even zip-in compatible with other TNF Retro layers. And there are some pretty snazzy colors, including pink and camo.

The modernized line comes with a pretty hefty $349 price tag. But if you’re digging the retro vibe with modern tech, check it out in seven colors for men and women online now.

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.