Gear Reviews

The North Face Impendor Softshell

Warmest softshell from the Fall/Winter 2018 Gear Guide.

Brand: The North Face Gear Reviews

Model: Impendor Softshell


If you’re the climb-in-any-season type, you’ll appreciate this cozy number. The Impendor is the warmest softshell in the test, thanks to a heavy-duty polyester knit and a windproof membrane that make it ideal for cold days at the crag (or ice climbing). “It fended off wind and 20°F temps on a late-winter climb on Colorado’s Lumpy Ridge,” one tester says. The cut is also roomy enough for a layer or two underneath. Even though it’s warm, the Impendor still has decent breathability, thanks to the poly knit. “I was treating it like an ultralight puffy or fleece, but one that I felt good about leaving on when I started moving again,” our tester said after a day in Eldorado Canyon.


The Impendor’s pliable fabric pairs with extra-stretchy underarm panels made from a nylon-elastane blend to accommodate even the most awkward reaches, and it tucks bunch-free under a harness. The adjustable hood fits over a climbing helmet. Like most softshells, it wet out quickly in sustained precip.


“The real breathability test comes when you’re struggling up a long layback crack— then you’re dealing with the sweat of exertion and fear,” notes a tester. “But on the gnarly pitches of Block Tower in Colorado’s South Platte zone in chilly temps, this jacket didn’t add to the challenge by making me hot.”

Weight: 15.2 oz.

Sizes: Men’s S-XXL, Women’s XS-XL

See more of the best Softshell Jackets for Winter 2018

See the entire Winter Gear Guide