How The North Face Summit Series is pushing the limits


December 18, 2023


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North Face summit series

The North Face is one of the world’s best-known outdoor clothing and gear brands. The American company, which started out making climbing equipment, quickly became a firm favourite with outdoor enthusiasts around the globe. And just because the brand is now available to everyone doesn’t mean that its products can’t handle the most technical challenges – quite the opposite. The North Face has even launched a line for the boldest adventure seekers: the Summit Series. What’s special about this collection? What sets it apart from the rest? Let’s find out together!  


In this article you will learn:

  1. What is The North Face Summit Series
  2. What makes The North Face Summit Series special?
  3. The Summit Series Advanced Mountain Kit
  4. Added features of The North Face Summit Series

What is The North Face Summit Series

summit series inside jacket

According to The North Face, the Summit Series was “developed for the best, when the best are at their limit.” It was designed to protect those headed to some of the most extreme places and subjected to the harshest conditions, making it the brand’s most technically advanced range. Launched in 2000, it initially consisted solely of mountaineering apparel, but now includes everything from clothing to tents and boots. All Summit Series products benefit from the most advanced materials, the latest technologies and state-of-the-art design processes.

Does the Summit Series truly meet all the expectations for a collection of high-performance technical garments? Yes. Every product in the Summit Series is tested both in a lab and by athletes; this testing phase is an integral part of the product design process.
Many mountaineers have worn the Summit Series during their expeditions, including the members of the 2019 Antarctica Queen Maud Land expedition, composed of (amongst others) climbing athletes Alex Honnold, Jimmy Chin, Conrad Anker, Savannah Cummins, Anna Pfaff and Cedar Wright. Jim Morrison and Hilaree Nelson also wore the Summit Series range during their first ski descent of the Lhotse couloir in the Himalayas. These achievements speak for themselves! Now you know where to look if you’re searching for a warm winter jacket for your next adventure!

What makes The North Face Summit Series special?

waterproof jacket
The North Face’s Summit Series has been optimized in every possible way. From waterproofing to durability, weight management and mobility, every detail has been designed with ultimate mountaineering, climbing or backcountry skiing endeavours in mind. In fact, the clothing and equipment are designed and engineered for all types of cold-weather expeditions.
Remember the bright yellow Himalayan suit that resembled an astronaut suit? Now discontinued, this product encapsulated the essence of the Summit Series. Specifically designed for extreme adventures, it has protected athletes climbing 8,000-meter peaks in the Himalayas or making their way to the Arctic.
The philosophy behind the Summit Series is one of innovative winter clothing design, providing unparalleled craftsmanship and protection. With their impeccable construction quality and superior protection, Summit Series parkas and other garments are built to withstand the most demanding conditions.


The North Face FUTURELIGHT™ is a waterproof, highly breathable membrane. Many Summit Series products feature this technology. Waterproofness, durability, light weight… The North Face claims that FUTURELIGHT™ can do everything, and it’s pretty hard to disagree with that. The technology, tested for 400 consecutive days by a team of athletes, is now used in a wide range of mountaineering jackets and pants. It provides superior protection against the elements without the typical stiffness of an outer shell, which can sometimes restrict movement.
The North Face also incorporates another technology, FUTUREFLEECE™, into specific items within its Summit Series range, such as lighter sweaters and jackets (like the Summit Series half-zip sweater for women or men, for instance). This innovative technology consists of a full-loop fabric (made with octagonal-shaped yarn) designed to regulate body temperature while remaining soft and feather light. It’s definitely one of the best heat-to-weight ratios on the market! And all without sacrificing breathability, of course. Last but not least, another big plus worth mentioning: FUTUREFLEECE™ is extra stretchy, allowing for complete ease of movement.

The North Face Summit Series: the benefits of Gore-Tex

Some pieces in the Summit Series feature the well-known Gore-Tex technology, a true must-have for anyone seeking a fully waterproof jacket or shell. For decades, athletes all over the world have relied on this technology for their most demanding journeys. Follow their lead and choose a jacket from The North Face’s Summit Series!
The manufacturing process for the Gore-Tex membrane is highly advanced and complex. The material’s surface is microporous, with very small pores. Water and wind cannot penetrate it, but it wicks away the water vapour released by your body. This principle, simple on paper, ensures that clothing with Gore-Tex technology is waterproof, windproof, and breathable. All the boxes are checked, whatever adventure you’re aiming for. Plus, Gore-Tex is durable and remarkably lightweight!
Within the Summit Series range, the Gore-Tex membrane is combined with high-performance linings. The North Face has decided to incorporate different versions of Gore-Tex into some of its jackets and shells, including the “original” version, as well as Gore-Tex Pro and WINDSTOPPER®. When used in an outer layer, these technologies keep you dry without restricting movement.

Endless possibilities with the Summit Series

With the Summit Series, you can gear up perfectly for your next outdoor adventure by layering multiple pieces from the collection to create the perfect outfit. After all, when it’s time to get out and play on icy trails or snow-covered peaks, nothing beats the multi-layer system.

For your mid layer, choose from the various Summit Series options featuring FUTUREFLEECE™. It all depends on your favourite outdoor activity, your destination and, of course, the weather conditions. On top, add a jacket or shell made with FUTURELIGHT™ technology or with a Gore-Tex membrane for maximum waterproofing. You can then adjust the layers to regulate your body temperature based on your activity level, the temperature, and the weather conditions like snow, rain, or wind.

If you’re heading out for a winter hike in harsh conditions, look no further than the Summit Series Gore-Tex winter jackets, which will effectively keep the elements at bay. These models are definitely the ones that will provide the most warmth. In more stable weather and mild temperatures, you may want to go with FUTURELIGHT™ and its waterproof and breathable membrane.

The Summit Series Advanced Mountain Kit

TNF summit series jacketIn addition to designing advanced technical gear, The North Face has gone a step further and developed a niche range of items that, when used together, created the perfect kit. The Advanced Mountain Kit (AMK) was “(…) the world’s most sophisticated alpine climbing system”, according to the brand. No longer available as a whole, the full kit consisted of six layers (aptly named L1, L2, L3…), which worked together perfectly to provide optimal moisture management, warmth and waterproofing for mountaineering, snow sports and climbing athletes keen to test their limits.

What made the kit so effective?

The interchangeable layers were designed to perform perfectly with each other, no matter the combination, and The North Face used a total of five of its leading-edge technologies in their development. This resulted in base layers which quickly wick away sweat and trap body heat, while the lightweight mid layers provide high thermal performance without the usual bulk. The first outer layer is also quite impressive: the 50/50 hoodie, with its breathable 800-fill ProDown, packs surprisingly small, making it ideal for high-intensity winter activities. There are two outer shells; a shell jacket optimized with FUTURELIGHT™ technology for breathable protection against the wind, rain and snow, and a parka, which when worn in combination with the other layers could probably keep you warm even on top of Everest as you enjoy a glass of bubbly!

The kit was developed with athletes in mind, and its launch reminded the mountaineering market that The North Face is a leading expert when it comes to technical climbing gear. Now, mountain sports enthusiasts can use the layers available to create their own customized climbing kit based on their chosen activity.

Added features of The North Face Summit Series

For those who don’t quite require AMK-level gear, The North Face’s Summit Series features some great jackets, pants, base layers, and fleeces, each crafted with the needs of outdoor enthusiasts in mind. For instance, many climbing jackets in the series are designed with a hood that fits over a climbing helmet, and hand pockets that are accessible even when wearing a harness. 

The brand has also ditched the shoulder seams on many outer shell models to increase comfort for those wearing a backpack over long periods. The clothing collection is also filled with small add-ons to keep you that little bit warmer, such as chin guards with laser-cut perforations for better breathability, cuff tabs with a hook-and-loop closure to ensure they stay shut and a metallized finish inside to reflect body heat.

When it comes to staying warm and dry in harsh conditions, The North Face Summit Series certainly delivers, but it’s the extra features that really set the collection apart. With its super-thin fabrics, optimized warmth-to-weight ratio, ease of movement and durability, it makes sense that Summit Series gear is chosen by athletes all over the world when preparing for their most demanding challenges.


What is The North Face Summit Series?

Is Summit Series clothing warm?


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