Adam puts the Sidecut kit through the wringer. Klaus Polzer


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Tested: The North Face Sidecut Jacket & Pants

By: Adam Herman January 15, 2024

In December we reviewed the Summit series Verbier Jacket and Pants, which is The North Face’s top-of-the-line kit for all the water-column nerds out there. For those who don’t like that one, whether it’s the design or the lack of the snow skirt, TNF’s got an alternative: the Sidecut series. And yes, we tested that one too.

At 550€ for the jacket and 450€ for the pants, the Sidecut Series is significantly more affordable than the Summit series, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in technical features. Both pieces are made with 3 layers of GoreTex and 100% recycled polyester, making them eco-friendly as well as breathable. And the “almond butter” color keeps you nice and recognizable for your fans on the chairlift (it’s also available in Misty Sage and TNF Black).

The jacket’s got a roomy fit (size L on a 171cm model in the pictures) with pretty much no insulation, so you get to choose how warm you need to be with layers underneath and enjoy the mobility on warmer days. The attached hood is pretty big and can be tied down in the back, making it helmet friendly. But it also almost requires a helmet to keep it on, as you can’t fasten it hoodie style and it tends to fly off without a helmet underneath.

It’s a technical jacket, so all the necessities like large underarm vents, sleeve pass pocket and waterproof zippers are expected, yet welcome features. Some additional perks include thumb loops to keep the sleeves from sliding up in a crash and a goggle wipe in the pass pocket for when you get up — this one comes in really handy. The snow skirt does what it’s supposed to, and further down at the hem, the jacket can be cinched in with a cord to further protect from the elements or create that tucked-in look, a necessity for some (me).

The hood fits great over a helmet. Klaus Polzer

A big highlight of the design are the cargo pockets in the front. You can access one compartment from the side and the other one from the top (2 on each side!). This makes it easy to organize your snacks. However, the top pockets can be a bit uncomfortable to reach as they’re deep and sewed on pretty high up. This is a conscious decision however, and is great if you’re wearing a backpack with a waist belt, which fits just below the pockets.

TNF calls this "relaxed fit." That description seems to be spot-on. Klaus Polzer

The pants are a relaxed fit according to The North Face, insanely baggy according to the reviews on their site and spray-on-skinny to the average park rat. But you can check the fit in the pictures (size L). They’re made of the same quality material as the jacket with extra reinforcements between the ankles where they’re most prone to edge cuts, which seemed seemed to held up super well over the ±10 days of testing.

A nice addition often missing on snow pants is the integrated waist belt, which unfortunately doesn’t go all the way around, but that shouldn’t be an issue if you’re wearing pants that are your actual size. In case you aren’t, they come with detachable low-profile suspenders. One feature I was missing a bit is a way to tie them up at the ankles when not wearing ski boots in the parking lot to prevent stepping on them. I later found out that TNF suggests to fold them up like in the picture on the left, which works but looks kinda wonky. But I guess it’s just me trying to impress people in McDonald’s on the way home from the mountain.

Fold 'em up to keep 'em clean. The North Face

We’ve tested the kit in the Austrian Alps in December, when we were treated with a bunch of new snow. Over the 10 days on snow, we can’t say much about durability yet, except that there were no issues. But can vouch for the practicality and thoughtfulness put into the design as well as the breathability and weather-resistance of the materials. And I especially appreciated the extra carrying capacity compared to most ski outerwear out there. Both pieces only come in one colorway in the European distribution, and while I wish they made at least the pants in a black variant, overall it’s a great buy if you’ve got the funds.

Inner thigh ventilation is a must. Klaus Polzer
1. The high pocket placement makes it a bit hard to reach inside. Klaus Polzer
2. A belt mechanism on the pants is always nice to have. Klaus Polzer