User Review: The North Face Men's Venture Jacket
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $40
Overall, the North Face Venture is a decent rain jacket. Not the most breathable jacket in the world, but the armpit zippers help to keep you from feeling like you're wearing a greenhouse. After an hour of wearing this jacket in a constant downpour, I was still dry. Can't say how much longer it will keep the water out after that, though.
- Keeps you dry
- Adjustable in several areas for a better fit
- Pit zippers to help you air out
- Not as breathable as it should be; kinda hot if you're exerting yourself
I tested this jacket out on two separate occasions. These are my findings.
Test #1 for this jacket was on the Pinhoti Trail. We were hiking 5 miles uphill at midnight. There was no light except for what our headlamps illuminated, and we were bookin' it. We covered 5 miles in under two hours, so there was some exertion on my part. We were expecting storms in the early morning hours and the wind was really picking up. Temps were in the low 70's and humidity was very low. We were hiking on a ridge, so there was little to stop the wind, which was nice because it helped to cool us off.
I was wearing my TNF Venture Jacket over a Columbia wicking shirt, carrying a 25lb pack. The lack of rain didn't tell me much about the waterproof properties of the jacket, but I got a pretty good idea of how breathable it was. Within five minutes, I had the jacket's main front zipper down, with both side pit zips following. It got hot. Fast.
The Venture Jacket employs HyVent, which, according to The North Face website, is a multi layer technology that is both breathable and waterproof. Depending on who you ask, the answer to the question 'Can a jacket truly be both waterproof and breathable?' would vary. If it has seams, it's going to leak at some point. I guess the real question is 'How long can it keep me dry?' and ' How long before it feels like I'm wearing a greenhouse?'
During this trip, my body was quickly turning into a furnace, so I just don't know that its fair to say it's not very breathable since I was working harder than normal on this trail. I would say that you may get a better sense of how breathable the HyVent tech is if the temperature was much cooler. The pit zips did help keep it cooler than it normally would have been without them, however. I'm sure of that.
My second 'test run' was some backroads near my house. The weatherman said 100% of rain, and he delivered. The temperature was 74 degrees, with 94% humidity. I went for a 3 mile walk and back in a steady downpour. I liked how the hood adjusted easily to cover the bill of my baseball cap. The velcro adjustable cuffs opened up my sleeves a little to allow for more airflow, but just barely.
Once again, the pit zips were the feature I appreciated the most, but the high humidity made my skin feel sticky. The front zipper has a double flap to cover it, so a leak by way of that zipper is unlikely. The two side pockets have a covered zipper, so I was able to reach into my pockets for things without getting rain in them. There are also inside pocket made of mesh, so you can more easily find what you're looking for.
The bottom hem of the jacket features lockable draw cords, so you can adjust the fit tighter at the bottom if you want to. I was uncomfortably hot, so I didn't wanna.
I was out in the rain for about an hour and happily, found that no water leaked in through the seams. My arms , head and back were damp, but that was from sweat. Would it hold up the same if I had a 20 pound pack on my back? Good question. I'll have to find out another time, but at this point, I'd say I'm pleased with the jacket overall and would recommend it based on my experiences. I think when Fall and Winter roll around, I'll have a better idea of what this jacket can do.
The jacket wasn't very heavy at only 14 ounces, and it packed down into a front pocket, so it fit inside my backpack with no problems.
I'm happy with the jacket and I'm happy I bought it.