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Hands-on Gear Review
The North Face Venture Review
Cons: Simple hood, short waist coverage, leaky pockets
The North Face Venture Jacket is a budget 2.5-layer rain shell similar to the Best Buy Award winning Marmot PreCip and the Patagonia Torrentshell. The Venture doesn't breathe as well, but has pit zips and mesh-lined pockets to add ventilation. This is a good first rain jacket for folks who will get out on occasional hiking or biking trips, but mostly need a rain jacket for around-town use.
For cool season use around town, we recommend a warmer 2-layer model with a mesh liner. The Columbia Watertight II is the highest scoring of the three we tested. The PreCip is also quite affordable, and a much better choice for active pursuits like hiking and backpacking.
RELATED: Our complete review of rain jackets - men's
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The North Face Venture Jacket was an average performer in most of our metrics. It's a reasonable entry-level 2.5-layer jacket, offers good ventilation options, and stuffs into its hand pocket.
This rain jacket did a good job keeping us dry. There's nothing special about the hood - it doesn't have a stiffened brim, but the elastic around the face and at the back of the hood allow lots of adjustment. This is one of the very few jackets that let us get a little wet in the shower; a bit of water seeped into the hand pockets. The DWR treatment on the fabric beaded water well and kept up through our tests.
Breathability & Ventilation
We found that the proprietary HyVent 2.5-layer coating used for this rain jacket was not as breathable as other fabrics. What the Venture does bring to the table is a good set of ventilation features for a budget rain jacket. Relatively large pit zips provide good air exchange and the hand pockets are lined with mesh, making for two more vents when open.
Although the Venture isn't as breathable as its competitors, it does provide good ventilation with its large pit zips and mesh-lined hand pockets.
Comfort & Mobility
This model is something of a mixed bag here. The hood fits reasonably well, and a micro-fleece patch is comfy on the chin. The zipper pulls are easy enough to use, but the cord locks for hood and hem adjustment are small. Overall, these features are not the easiest to operate with gloves on. This jacket moves with you pretty well, but its waist hem is shorter than most and can leave you exposed with arms overhead.
Our size large test model weighed in at 11.6 ounces, practically the same as the similar PreCip, Torrentshell, and Columbia Evapouration.
This jacket's 40D ripstop nylon should stand up to some wear and tear, and it earned a middle of the pack durability score. We feel the Patagonia Torrentshell is the most durable of the similar models we tested.
This model stuffs into its left hand pocket and features a clip-in loop when stuffed.
This rain jacket has a nice hood with a medium-sized brim and two elastic cinch cords. The cord locks are external on the sides and at the rear of the hood. The cord that runs across the brow goes through a unique sleeve that creates a little comfy air space above it. There's a comfy micro-fleece chin flap and a hang loop at the back of the collar. This jacket has pit zips with strings on the zipper pull tabs. Storm flaps cover the zippers. It also has large mesh-lined hand pockets that add even more ventilation. The jacket stuffs into the left front pocket. The wrist cuffs tighten down with a Velcro tab and the elastic hem cinch has cord locks on both hips.
This is an entry-level 2.5-layer shell. It will keep you dry around town, and even though the breathability isn't quite there, the ventilation features extend its usefulness to light hiking and backpacking.
At $99, this is the least expensive 2.5-layer rain jacket we tested. For the truly budget conscious, it will get the job done. But the added performance and small details of the award winning Marmot Precip and the climbing-specific Patagonia Torrenshell are a better value for most.
The most affordable 2.5-layer shell we tested, The North Face Venture is a good entry-level shell for the occasional hiker.
North Face Venture - Women's
— Brandon Lampley and Robert Beno
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 11, 2014
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