I purchased my first technical shell, a purple The North Face Mountain Light jacket, in 1994. The jacket lasted, and I used it climbing Ecuador’s volcanoes in 2003 after many other adventures.
Hard shells have evolved significantly since 1994 – especially with lighter & more waterproof designs & fabrics. The North Face’s Fuseform jacket and its multiple incarnations represent the latest innovations.
The North Face FuseForm DotMatrix jacket is a quality all purpose, hiking jacket. It weighs ~12 oz. Its material is mostly made of 2.5 layer HyVent, the TNF’s equivalent to Gore-Tex. The jacket has performed well during rainstorms in the Santa Cruz Mountains, chilly mornings along the Pacific Ocean, and hiking in the Sierra Nevada. The jacket fits true to size. I’m 6 2, 220 lbs.
The North Face Fuse Uno Jacket is a streamlined lightweight hard shell made with 3.0 layer
Hyvent. It has core features like chest pockets placed above the hip belts but other few frills that add extra weight. I’ve used the Fuse Uno for fast and light alpine mountaineering trips in the Mokelumne Wilderness and the Yosemite backcounty. It served me well on chilly/windy, snowy, and rainy days. The Fuse Uno design is similar to the North Face FuseForm Mountain Jacket.
For full disclosure, I’m a TNF Locals ambassador. The program provides The North Face gear
for me to test and share my thoughts. The DotMatrix jacket was provided free to me to test, and I purchased the North Face Fuse Uno jacket at full price.