My first Mountain Light Parka Gore-Tex XCR from The North-Face (TNF) was the 2001 model from which I draw the most experience. I have been using it constantly over 10 months over a period of 2 years. I use it mainly for my biking, hiking and camping activities. Every day, I bike about 17 miles under all weather conditions that I have encountered here in L.A. so far. The Parka has been extremely useful; it kept me dry under severe rainstorms, is a great wind protector and even better is the breath ability of the XCR material. The XCR material together with the two classic core vents allow you to control the temperature very well; hence, I was not perspiring or overheating as one might otherwise. Nevertheless, one will perspire and the Parka will smell considerably after one week of activities wash the Parka as instructed on the TNF web page and the protective layer also known as DWR (Durable Water Repellent) will be revived. Having used it heavily, i.e. washed it, so many times, the DWR of the Parka will be degraded but may be revived by treating it with a DRW spray (I have not done that). The Parka has been proven to be extremely durable since it survived so well several of my bike crashes. Furthermore, I like the fact that the shell is soft creating therefore less noisy while using it and that it has so many pockets. Overall, I have had the best experience with this TNF product. The Spring 2003 model is similar to the 2001 model but I do not like some of the changes they made to the details, for instance ---(1) the zippers have had a water seal and made it less likely to have water penetrating through them. Yes, the zippers were more difficult to open/close but I preferred this feature. (2) TNF replaced the elastic-cord based zipper handles with a cheap replacement. (3) The elastic cord around the waist as size adjustment with cheaper kind. --- It very much appears to be the case that TNF tried to save money on the details, which IMHO made it more distinct and appealing. In spite of the minor details I do not like, the Spring 2003 shell has like its 2001 model shown to stand up to its reputation. In respect to the price: I have used it for over ~200 days (so far) and assuming the MSRP of 350.- then the jacket is about 1.75$ per day, which makes it very affordable from this perspective, i.e. one coffee less a day.