I used to hate winter.

Growing up surfing in the frigid months meant grunting into a crusty old beaver tail that limited surfing to stiff-legged thrustings to redirect the log, with some futile attempts to paddle in-between. Finishing a session meant using the jaws of life to remove you from a neoprene death grip, and climbing inside a jacket so puffy that it looked like the manufacturer had stuffed it with the whole goose.

Naturally, this was all less than ideal for travel. Planning a trip to cold climates meant hauling suitcases stuffed with bulky wools and wovens. And by the time you were all rugged up in thermals, multiple tees, jumpers and an oversized jacket to go outdoors — you looked like Jon Snow about to go north of the wall.

Thankfully, things've changed.

Gone are the wearable doonas of yesteryear, replaced by —

ultra-lightweight, ultra-low-profile, ultra-breathable, ultra-packable wonders of modern garment science known as PRIMALOFT TECHNOLOGY.

And no garment more ultra-lightweight, ultra-low-profile, ultra-breathable, and ultra-packable than the North Face Thermoball Hoodie. It also has more icons than Windows 95, so it MUST be good.

I took one on our recent trip to Switzerland to throw in a daypack incase the mercury plunged south. It did, and that jacket literally saved my life. And when I say 'literally', I mean it in the most literal sense — the way the young people say it. Like, "I literally died the other day". Yes, I literally owe my life to that jacket when twenty minutes away from the nearest cafe an unseasonable snowstorm rolled in and I got chilly. 

Don't risk literally freezing to death.

Take me to the North Face —