2011-2012 The North Face Enzo Jacket
Weight (size Large): 590 grams / 20.8 oz
Zipper Length: 30 inches / 76.2 cms
- Waterproof, breathable, fully seam sealed
- Know Boundaries Snow Safety label
- Recco® avalanche rescue reflector
- PU (polyurethane) asymmetrical front zip
- PU (polyurethane) waterproof, laser-cut, bonded zips
- Adjustable, helmet-compatible fixed hood
- Pit-zip vents
- Wrist accessory pocket with goggle cloth
- Zip hand pockets
- Zip chest pocket
- Internal media security pocket
- Internal goggle pocket
- Zip integration powder skirt
- Hook-and-loop adjustable cuffs
- Detachable powder skirt
MSRP: $449, USD
Days skied (updated): 17 (Days worn: 35+)
The North Face hadn’t really been on my radar for a while. I knew they were still making some excellent price-point products (and on behalf of broke skiers and riders everywhere, thank you for making that stuff, TNF), but if I was looking for high-end, best-in-class technical pieces, I was going to look elsewhere.
But I’d seen the Enzo jacket, and I was intrigued. The North Face was plugging it as one of their “Athlete’s Recommended Products,” I was in the market for a versatile, light weight, four-season, waterproof shell, and, to be honest, I wanted to see for myself whether the product lived up to its price tag. (By which I mean, I was skeptical that the product would live up to its price tag.)
The first time I put on the Enzo, my immediate reaction was panic. I thought, This thing is paper thin, weighs NOTHING, and I’m going to tear it in half just walking around the house.
Given that I was coming from wearing a TREW Bellows jacket that is made of just about the burliest fabric I’ve ever seen on a coat, the Enzo felt terribly insubstantial. I was certain that I would destroy it.
After I reined in my amazement/disbelief, I took off the Enzo and inspected the thin, ripstop fabric. I hoped it would hold up. Then I went skiing.
It was mid-October up in Summit County, Colorado, and I got on the chairlift with BLISTER’S resident outerwear expert, Sam Shaheen. (If you haven’t read Sam’s Outerwear 101 article, you should. Then you’ll know why I like to pick Sam’s brain about the technical features of this stuff.)
Sam: “So, what do you think of the Enzo?”
Me: “I’m terrified that I’m going to shred it to pieces. What do you think of it?”
For the next three minutes, Sam broke down the Enzo jacket in detail. His concluding words were, “That jacket is sick.”
First and foremost, Sam was impressed with the front construction of the Enzo. The pockets are framed with a tricot-laminate-tricot fabric (as opposed to the tricot-laminate-face fabric on the outside of the jacket). This lamination saves weight.
Plus, he appreciated how the front pocket construction (the pockets go all the way up to the raglan sleeve seam) minimizes exterior seams while allowing for fully functional interior pockets.
Beyond that, Sam also dug the Enzo’s minimal, simple and effective one-piece hood design; its weight-saving zip-out powder skirt; and the fact that the jacket’s RECCO device is hidden to prevent snags when doing things other than skiing.
I had owned an Arc’Teryx Theta AR jacket that was made of GoreTex Pro shell, like the Enzo, but the Theta AR fabric was thicker and withstood many a tree branch, scraping up the fabric and leaving marks, but never tearing. So I told Sam of my concerns about the Enzo’s durability.
He said, “A lot of the Gore Pro shells feel pretty thin, but you shouldn’t have to worry about it ripping. Gore puts some serious R&D into their face fabrics, and that ripstop should do its job and minimize the damage if, by chance, something does tear. 3-Layer stuff is usually pretty thin because the fabric is pretty stiff by nature. Because you add that third layer as a laminate instead of a lining, you get a lot of structure to the fabric. Heavier face fabrics can be very stiff and uncomfortable to wear (especially with the more athletic fit of the Enzo).”
After fifteen days of skiing in the Enzo, I’ve finally stopped worrying each time I throw my skis up on my shoulder. To date, there are no rips or marks from sharp ski edges. I’m not willing to call any jacket that only weighs 590 grams, “burly,” but the durability—to date—combined with the Enzo’s low weight is pretty remarkable.
The breathability is first rate, as was my experience with other Gore Tex Pro Shell products. In warmer days, when the snow is dumping and pit zips are closed, the thin fabric and Pro Shell membrane/coating breathe nicely.
Plus, it’s got nice, long, functional pit zips, so when it’s dry and warm out, open the zips and you’ll stay dry, too.