Regardless of whether you’re hillwalking in the Scottish Highlands or cycling through town in the rain, you’re bound to see The North Face logo somewhere along the way. There are so many people who swear by the Californian clothing brand. But, what is it about these clothes that makes them so popular? We’re all familiar with the prominent logo inspired by the famous Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, but what about the writing next to it? HyVent?
What’s that supposed to mean? There has got to be something special about it, right? After all, it’s so popular! Besides, there’s got to be a difference between your everyday TNF jacket and a TNF jacket that you’d wear for climbing icy cold north walls.
What is HyVent exactly?
In order to achieve both optimal weather protection and an excellent level of breathability, The North Face utilises a polyurethane (PU) coating called HyVent. This coating was developed by the Californians themselves and is used for a variety of jackets and trousers in order to make them both waterproof and breathable.
The HyVent coating gives the fabric a microporous and hydrophobic property, making it exceptionally breathable. The term hydrophobic is derived from Ancient Greek and means “lacking an affinity for water”. In other words, water vapour – sweat – can escape, but water in the form of rain can’t get in. This is how a high degree of breathability is achieved that won’t deteriorate over time. The garments are subject to complex tests that they have to pass even after 20 wash cycles. The positive test results speak for themselves.
From city goers to alpinists
The advantage of HyVent garments is that no membrane is used (with the exception of the HyVent Alpha version). This results in a very soft and comfortable garment that you can feel whilst you’re out and about. HyVent Alpha is a bit stiffer but much tougher than the normal coating. Basically, there is a HyVent for almost every activity and every level, regardless of whether you’re a beginner, the occasional hillwalker or extreme alpinist!
Different types of HyVent
In order to use HyVent to its full potential, The North Face utilises different compositions of fabric. They can be divided up into three different combinations for various applications: for everyday wear, for extended trekking tours or rock and ice climbing.
This is a two-layer construction that provides optimal weather protection. The outermost layer is made of a woven fabric, which reliably repels moisture and simultaneously protects from abrasion. An additional DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment provides optimal protection against moisture so that the fabric doesn’t become saturated. The inner layer utilises a HyVent PU (polyurethane) coating with micro-pores, which quickly transports moisture to the outside and keeps rain out. The end result is an absolutely waterproof and very comfortable material with a hydrostatic head of 25,000mm. It is perfect for both skiwear and everyday wear. A prime example of this is the Resolve Jacket, which is definitely great value for your money.
HyVent 2 L
Both Breathability and light weight were clearly the most important aspects here. The outermost layer is made of a water-repellent fabric, whilst the lower layer has a HyVent PU (polyurethane) coating and channels moisture to the outer layer. Plus, it prevents rain or moisture from seeping in.
As a result of their excellent breathability, the HyVent 2L garments are great for high-intensity activities such as running or cycling, no matter the weather!
HyVent 3 L
Breathability, waterproofness and durability are the hallmarks of the HyVent 3L jackets and trousers. A comparably abrasion-resistant layer serves to protect the jacket from damage and keeps moisture out of the interior. The mid layer utilises a polyurethane coating with micro-pores, which quickly moves water vapour to the outside. For even more comfort, the 3L materials have a nice inner layer, which has been engineered to manage moisture.
HyVent 3L garments are perfectly suited for skiing and alpine adventures as well as climbing.
The HyVent DT is based on the same principle as the HyVent 3L with the difference that the thickness of the third layer has been significantly reduced. The HyVent DT features a .5 skim coat of PU, which will always provide a pleasantly dry feeling and eliminates the need of a liner, hence the 2.5L material. Plus, it is lighter and has a significantly smaller pack size than 3-layer jackets. The HyVent DT is great for activities with a lot of movement, such as climbing and skiing.
HyVent DT EC
HyVent DT EC makes use of natural castor oil from beans, which reduces the use of synthetic components by 50%, but the result is still quite impressive. The material is waterproof, breathable, and performs extremely well, even in cold conditions, which makes it perfect for winter activities.
HyVent Alpha is used in the Summit Series Collection by The North Face. It is a very tough and durable outer fabric. It features a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment and will not become saturated. The outer fabric also has an additional laminate membrane, which allows perspiration to pass through.
A thin liner is the third layer of the HyVent Alpha. It utilises a microporous and hydrophobic lamination technology that also allows perspiration and moisture to pass through. This 3-layer combination serves to keep you dry and comfortable. Plus, it is extremely tough and durable. With a hydrostatic head of 30,000mm, it is absolutely waterproof. It is perfect for long and demanding trips in rain, ice and/or snow.
Caring for HyVent
Caring for HyVent garments is pretty straightforward. It is best to use an outdoor cleaner such as Nikwax TechWash and use a gentle cycle (no spin cycle). Then line dry the jacket. You can also restore the DWR to the outermost fabric layer by using a spray. Then, your HyVent clothing will last for countless adventures to come!