User Review: The North Face Men's Venture Jacket
Price Paid: ~ $60
I love it!! I bought this jacket at our local outdoor shop 7 years ago because it was on closeout and I got a spankin' good deal on it. For the first year, I only used it as a rain jacket on hikes and overnight camping and backpacking trips. Then I discovered how useful it is - it packs up really small, hardly weights anything, and keeps me completely dry!
While it doesn't breathe like mesh (I don't know why anybody in their right mind would expect that), it most certainly does its job as a waterproof shell! I wouldn't intend to use it a running jacket, but for everything else I give it two big thumbs up! I use it for almost everything outdoors - from casually strolling in the neighborhood to backpacking trips to day hikes to wearing it around all winter to... you name it (within reason...).
In fact, I like it so much that I stole the fleece liner out of my Columbia parka and ditched the Columbia shell. It has withstood snowboarding and digging trucks out of the snow in the winter in Idaho, scrambling through fields and mountains of lava-rock, torrential downpours of both Washington State and Virginia, the Teton mountain range of Wyoming, the dense fog and sea-spray of Northern California, the cloudbursts of Scotland, and everything in between.
I'm 5'9", 170 lbs with a thicker athletic build and a medium fits well. It's not too baggy and saggy by itself and it has just enough room for me to move around with a fleece. It even fits fine with a hoody underneath the fleece for days when the mercury doesn't get above 0 and your nose hairs turn into snotsickles.
The only issue that I've had with it is the inner laminate layer is starting to rub off in certain areas (like by the cuffs and where the hood meets the shoulder/neck area from carrying a backpack stuffed with engineering books nearly every day) - but that's after 7 years of use and abuse. And, amazingly, it still keeps me dry.
It is EVERYTHING I expected in a lightweight low-cost hard shell!