The North Face Circaloft: Geared Toward Function and Circularity


September 22, 2023


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The North Face is far from being a new player in the outdoor industry. Through its decades of existence (and excellence), the brand has outfitted climbers, skiers, hikers and campers alike with high-performance, reliable gear that holds up through all kinds of adventures. Aside from the quality and distinct, stylish aesthetic of its products, The North Face also stands out due to the innovative proprietary technologies that bring functionality to its outdoor clothing and gear. One of the latest to be added to the list is Circaloft, a new kind of synthetic insulation that is warm, lightweight and highly compressible, with a focus on durability.

In this article, you will learn all about Circaloft, one of The North Face’s latest technologies for insulation:

  1. The North Face Circaloft Technology: Warmth, Lightness and Circularity
  2. Circaloft vs. ThermoBall
  3. The North Face Circaloft: Crafted for the Future
  4. FAQ

The North Face Circaloft Technology: Warmth, Lightness and Circularity

It’s no surprise The North Face is so well known among outdoor enthusiasts and other stylish yet functional dressers the world over. With its careful design and innovative approach, the brand constantly pushes the boundaries of the outdoor industry. Every piece of clothing or equipment is built with intention and equipped with a specific technology or type of material that will serve its purpose, whether it’s warmth, breathability, insulation, or weatherproof properties.

Circaloft is one of the latest technologies developed by The North Face. It is a very compressible, lightweight and highly resistant synthetic insulation that is built to last and be used on countless outdoor adventures.

The North Face’s Technologies

Innovation has always been a driving force for The North Face, and that is clearly reflected in its design, careful construction, and cutting-edge technologies. You may have heard of DryVent™, for instance, a multilayered fabric technology that makes The North Face shell jackets and rainwear fully waterproof, windproof, and breathable. The more recent FUTURELIGHT™ technology, described by The North Face as its “most advanced breathable-waterproof technology ever,” combines waterproof properties with a nano-fibre structure that allows air to pass through for ultimate venting and breathability. For insulation, the brand has notably developed ThermoBall™ technology, a revolutionary synthetic alternative to down.

Circaloft vs. ThermoBall

The North Face’s ThermoBall™ technology sure has made its proof among outdoor enthusiasts, and now the brand has come up with Circaloft to push things even further. Though ThermoBall™ and Circaloft bear comparison in some aspects, there are important differences between the two.

Fit and Style

Jackets and gear in the Circaloft collection have a distinctive rectangular quilting pattern that holds the insulating material in place, reducing cold spots and allowing for optimal warmth. They have a standard fit, and their thin, lightweight fabric is soft to the touch. All garments come in a variety of colours or patterns, and the men’s and women’s jackets are available in a full-zip or ¼-zip design.

The ThermoBall™ collection features a variety of insulated jackets, vests, longer winter parkas, and “2-in-1” Tri-Climate® jackets featuring an outer shell and insulated inner layer combo. It also includes insulated boots and slippers. ThermoBall™ jackets generally have a slimmer fit and either a square or diagonal quilting pattern or bigger horizontal baffling for added warmth.

Construction, Performance and Durability

ThermoBall™ is The North Face’s synthetic alternative to down. With its down-like structure and high-performance fibres, it traps and retains body heat in small pockets of air to protect from the cold. The insulating material is also compressible and keeps its insulating properties even when it gets wet. ThermoBall™ jackets provide lightweight warmth and exist in different versions fit for different conditions. There are parkas and winter jackets for colder temperatures, as well as transition jackets that can be layered or worn on their own.

Circaloft technology is a sustainability-focused alternative to ThermoBall™. A synthetic sheet insulation made from 75% recycled polyester keeps the body warm while remaining light enough for active pursuits and high levels of effort. Circaloft jackets and gear have an amazing warmth-to-weight ratio and stay insulating even when wet. Made entirely from recycled polyester, their lining and body are coated with a PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) for better protection against humidity and precipitation.

With their thin insulating layer and flexible, lofty fibres, Circaloft products keep their shape and properties despite washes and frequent use. Their lightweight and thin construction makes them perfect for layering, and they also work great on their own for mid-season weather and milder temperatures. Designed with circularity in mind, Circaloft gear is highly durable and can be broken down and recycled after it has served its purpose. As such, Circaloft technology is in line with The North Face’s Circularity Design requirements.

The North Face Circaloft: Crafted for the Future

The North Face has been integrating sustainability aspects into its operations and products for a long time, from lifetime warranty and repair programs to responsible sourcing and use of recycled materials. Now, the brand is working toward circularity by developing products that are meant to be used again and again, then eventually disassembled and repurposed.

Circaloft is one of The North Face’s first technologies to meet its Circular Design requirements. Each item in the collection is created with the intention of being easily broken down and turned into something new when it can no longer serve its purpose, thus keeping it in circulation and out of landfills. But before that happens, the brand has made sure that Circaloft jackets and pieces of clothing can last through many outdoor outings and resist wear and washes. In short, not only does Circaloft gear bring high-performance technical properties, but it also boasts excellent durability. It’s circularity, functionality, and quality in one single innovative technology!


What is The North Face Circaloft?

What is the difference between The North Face Circaloft and ThermoBall?


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