Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $69 - $99 | Compare prices at 8 resellers
Pros: Light, inexpensive, good water repellancy
Cons: Doesn't fit well and rides up when arms are lifted
Best Uses: Everyday rain jacket or any application where you want something light and water proof
This is North Face’s version of a budget rain shell, similar to the Best Buy winning Marmot PreCip in features and performance, although slightly less preferable in our testers’ minds.
The North Face Venture is an overall decent little jacket. It’s waterproof, ventilates fairly well, and has all the necessary features to make it convenient to have around and to wear. It packs up nicely into one of its own pockets and though not the lightest jacket we tested, was still far lighter than its main competition, the PreCip.
We don’t like the fit and look of the jacket, but everyone’s body is different, so that’s more a matter of personal preference. Regardless, the shortness of the jacket and its tendency to ride up when we raised our arms did effect the performance and deterred us from grabbing it when we were heading out into the rain.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
A decently lightweight budget rain shell, the Venture packs into its own pocket and offers excellent water resistance.
As with all the jackets we tested, it is completely waterproof, and North Face advertises that their Hyvent Fabric can withstand 60psi on the Mullens Test. This means that the fabric can handle 60psi of water pressure before letting water in. A typical rainstorm generates about 2-3 psi so this jacket should offer ample protection. Where this will come in particularly handy is when wearing a heavy pack. The added pressure of the pack can often squeeze water through a jacket’s fabric, leaving you soaked. All the seams are fully taped and the zippers all have storm flaps to keep water out.
North Face’s Venture Jacket uses a 2.5 layer HyVent® non-petroleum membrane, which is very waterproof, but only tolerably breathable. This jacket does have mesh lined pockets in the front that can be left open in addition to pit-zips to help with breathability. While the jacket wasn’t very breathable with the vents all closed, once we opened the pit-zips and the pockets there was some ventilation to be had with little loss of weather protection.
Comfort & Mobility
The main dislikes we have with the Venture were with regard to fit and comfort. The jacket just doesn’t fit very well. It is too short, and when arms are raised the jacket rides up exposing bellies and backs. The jacket has an overall boxy/puffy look, and it isn’t as comfortable as other jackets that we tested. When tasked with reachy or awkward movement, the Venture often left parts of the body exposed and wet.
The jacket has two large, mesh lined pockets on the front that have ample room for your belongings, and the jacket can pack down nicely inside the left pocket for easy transport. A loop makes it possible to clip the jacket on your harness or the outside of your pack.
The collar has a little fuzzy lining to prevent chin chafe, the hood is comfortable, easy to adjust and bomber, the waist is easy to tighten, and the cuffs adjust with a straightforward Velcro strap. All the zippers are smooth and easy, including the pit-zips.
Weight & Bulk
North Face's Venture jacket is about the middle of the pack as far as weight and bulk are concerned. The jacket packs up into one of its own pockets and was neither the heaviest or lightest of all the jackets we tested.
The Venture is a good option for recreational backpackers and most three-season rainy-day uses.
At $100 it is one of the cheapest jackets we tested. It is comparable in features and value to the Marmot PreCip, but overall we prefer the PreCip.
For a budget shell, this is a decent jacket. It is fairly light and packable, however we don't like the fit and style as much as the similarly priced PreCip.
Video Gear Review
— Robert Beno and McKenzie Long
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Most recent review: December 3, 2013
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