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The North Face Venture Half Zip Review

A versatile pant that excels at everything from day hikes to downhill skiing and doesn't give up much in the way of weight and packability
The North Face Venture Half Zip
Photo: The North Face
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Price:  $80 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Durable, easy to put on without removing boots, one of the most versatile pants in our review
Cons:  Breathability, packability, average comfort
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 6, 2019
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 13
  • Water Resistance - 25% 7
  • Comfort and Mobility - 18% 8
  • Breathability & Venting - 18% 6
  • Features - 5% 8
  • Packed Size - 12% 6
  • Weight - 17% 8
  • Durability - 5% 7

Our Verdict

This is easily one of the most versatile rain pants in our review, particularly when you take into account its price. The Venture is light and compact enough for backpacking and hiking but also durable enough for skiing and snowboarding. Its half-length zippers and slightly wider than average legs make pulling the pants on over approach shoes or low volume hiking boots an easy task. Their only downside? They are slightly on the heavier side and proved to be on the less packable size of the spectrum, though not by heaps overall. If we had a Best Buy award for the most fully featured rain pant for $80 and under, these would win it.

Updated Product

Since our testing period, The North Face has released the Venture 2 pant. See below for more info.

August 2019

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Overall Score Sort Icon
71
82
78
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Star Rating
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Pros Durable, easy to put on without removing boots, one of the most versatile pants in our reviewCompact, light, affordableInexpensive, lightweight, excellent packed size, reasonably weather-resistant, baggy cut makes it easy to wear over other layers, low profile waistband doesn't pinch under a backpackMost breathable propriety fabric in our review, most breathable under $100, easy to pull on and remove over boots, full-length zippersBest pant among $50 and under options, above average durability, excellent storm worthiness
Cons Breathability, packability, average comfortThin fabric prone to tearing, limited breathabilityNot especially breathable, clammy with moderate aerobic activity, no front hand pockets, below average articulationVelcro flaps on waist occasionally come undone, average weightNo pockets, breathability, ventilation, not easy to put on without removing footwear
Bottom Line A versatile pant that excels at everything from day hikes to downhill skiing and doesn't give up much in the way of weight and packabilityBudget, lightweight pants totally suitable for occasional usePerfect for those who want to bring a pair of rain pants but aren't likely to use them very oftenA fully featured rain and storm worthy pant for hiking and backpacking; it's tough to beat for the priceA killer pant for the price, offering better than expected feel and weather resistance, but does not offer much in the way of features
Rating Categories Venture Half Zip Marmot PreCip Pant Co-op Essential Marmot PreCip Full Zip Columbia Rebel Roamer
Water Resistance (25%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Comfort And Mobility (18%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Breathability & Venting (18%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Features (5%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
9.0
5.0
Packed Size (12%)
6.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Weight (17%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Durability (5%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Venture Half Zip Marmot PreCip Pant Co-op Essential Marmot PreCip Full Zip Columbia Rebel Roamer
Measured Weight 14.5 oz / 411g 8 oz / 225g 9.5 oz / 271g 14 oz / 396g 12.5 oz / 354g
Waterproof Fabric Material 2.5 Layer DryVent Nano Pro 2.5-layer REI Proprietary waterproof breathable fabric 2.5 Layer PreCip NanoPro Omni-Tech Waterproof/Breathable
Face Fabric and Layer Construction 40D 100% Recycled Nylon w/ Proprietary DryVent Polyurethane (PU) Coated Insert NanoPro100% Nylon Ripstop 2.2 oz/ yd 40-denier nylon ripstop 50D 100% Recycled Nylon w/ Proprietary NanoPro Waterproof Breathable Coated Insert 70D 100% Nylon
Pockets 2 pockets 3 pockets 1 pocket 3 pockets 0 pockets
Side Zips Length? 1/2-Length Side Zippers 1/4 Length 1/4 Length Ankle Zips Full Length Zippers None
Put on Over Hiking or Mountaineering Boots Yes Yes No Yes No
Inseam Length, Size Medium 30, 32, 34 in 32 in 31.5 inches 30 or 32 in 30 or 32 in
Stows Into Pocket? Yes No Yes No No
Waist band Style Elastic + Drawcord Elastic + shock cord Elastic + Shock Cord Elastic + Shock Cord Elastic + Shock Cord

Our Analysis and Test Results

Venture 2 Half Zip vs. Venture Half Zip


The North Face introduced the Venture 2 Half Zip pant. While this pant is largely similar to the version we tested fabric-wise, it is lighter weight by several ounces and appears to have an updated fit. Compare the Venture 2 (left) to the Venture we tested originally (right).

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

We're linking to the Venture 2 in this review, but until we can test a pair for ourselves, the review that follows tells of our experiences with the Venture.

Hands-On Review of the Venture Half Zip


The North Face Venture Venture Half Zip is an excellent value that works respectably well for a wide range of applications. While you can certainly find models that are lighter, more packable, and more storm resistant there aren't as many models that will perform as well as these that also work well for backpacking and feature the right features for occasional downhill skiing or snowboarding.

The Venture Pants offer decent overall weather resistance...
The Venture Pants offer decent overall weather resistance, especially when you take into account their $80 price tag. While not as storm-worthy or as breathable as some of the other models in this review, these pants are half the price of many models, and are one of the most versatile models you can find at the price point.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Weather Resistance


The Venture proved to be water resistant, taking home a 7 out of 10. They were above average in our side-by-side hose and shower tests, as well as in real-world use. We were impressed by how well these pants held their water resistance over time, especially considering their $80 price tag. These pants are equally as water resistant as the REI Talusphere Full Zip, or the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic.

Comfort and Mobility


The Venture pants offered decent mobility; due to satisfactory articulation and wider than average pant leg width, this contender performed slightly above average overall. They didn't offer the same freedom of movement as the REI Talusphere Full Zip or the Outdoor Research Foray but were more than adequate for scrambling up rocky sections of trail or battling downed logs. Overall, we thought they offered comparable mobility to the Marmot PreCip Full Zip and the Columbia Rebel Roamer.

The Venture offers an elastic waist band that is wider than most;...
The Venture offers an elastic waist band that is wider than most; however, it did not feel bulky under a pack and did an excellent job of keeping our pants up. An inner drawstring allowed a small amount of adjustment.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

The Venture's wide elastic waistband features two drawstrings, that when utilized, performed okay, as these pants slid down marginally less than other models. While the elastic waistband was wider than other models, it remained comfortable under a heavy pack's hip belt. In fact, after several weeks of field testing, our review team ended up liking the comfort of the Venture over other models like the REI Talusphere Full Zip which features bulkier Velcro closures on its waist; in the long run, these were less comfortable while backpacking.

Breathability & Ventilation


This competitor offered some of the poorest breathability among pants we tested, coming in with a 6 out of 10. These pants breathed better than the Columbia Rebel Roamer, but not quite as well as the Outdoor Research Helium Pants, REI Talusphere Full Zip, or Marmot Precip Pant. The Venture Pants feature half-length zippers but even then, these weren't able to offer much in the way of ventilation while it was raining. If our testers tried to unzip them on rainy day hikes, water drained into our boots, subsequently soaking our feet.

The Venture Pants are one of the looser fitting pants in our review...
The Venture Pants are one of the looser fitting pants in our review. While some folks might not like their baggier cut, it did enable comfort and mobility.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Features


This pair of rain pants features a Velcro piece, which helps to tightly and securely seal the cuff around a boot when used for snowier adventures. These Velcro flaps were occasionally annoying when worn with lower profile footwear, like trail runners, where they tended to come undone and flap around. They offered the best performance when worn over higher volume hiking boots or ski boots.

Packed Size


The Venture offer a slightly larger than average packed size among options in our review but are only slightly less compact than a majority of options we tested. They are not as packable as the Marmot PreCip Full Zip or the Columbia Rebel Roamer and are comparable in packed volume to the REI Talusphere Full Zip.

The Venture's half-length zippers and wider fit meant donning these...
The Venture's half-length zippers and wider fit meant donning these pants over small- to medium-volume footwear was a pretty easy task. Our testers felt we could easily pull these pants over most hiking boots without having to take them off, but not all winter or mountaineering boots.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Weight


The Venture's durability does come at a price and that price is weight. At 14.5 ounces, (OutdoorGearLab's measured weight), it is nearly the heaviest in the review, with only the REI Talusphere Full Zip (at nearly 19.5 ounces) being heavier. In exchange for the weight penalty, solid durability and a fairly robust exterior, which is durable enough for downhill or backcountry skiing or snowboarding, is included. The Venture* is looser fitting than many pants we tested, with the extra fabric adding a slight amount of weight. While this contender is on the heavier side, it's only 2-4 ounces heavier than a majority of pants we tested. If low weight is what you're after, we'd recommend taking a peek at the Outdoor Research Helium Pant, which weighs a low 6.5 ounces.

Durability


These pants are easily one of the more durable contenders we tested. They would be among our top picks for off-trail travel or downhill skiing. We determined that they are slightly tougher than the Columbia Rebel Roamer, though not quite as tough as the Marmot Minimalist Pant, which both took home 9 out of 10s.

Ease of Use


Our testing team found these to be one of the easiest to pull on without having to remove nearly any lower to mid volume footwear like trail running shoes or light hiking boots. The half-length zipper and wide pant legs made this maneuver among the easiest of any model we tested.

Best Applications


This pant is versatile. It's light and packable enough for hiking, backpacking, and climbing, but also durable enough for occasional downhill skiing or snowboarding and equally at home while snowshoeing.

Value


At $80, this pair of rain pants is an incredible value. In fact, we think they are the best rain pant on the market in the $80 and under range. We like the slightly lighter, more compressible full-side zipped Marmot PreCip Pant a bit more in exchange for an extra $20 ($100 total), but think the Venture is more versatile overall and a better option for snow sports.

Conclusion


The Venture is a solid do-everything pant at a great price. This pair of rain pants is durable and storm worthy yet still respectable in weight and compressibility. You can spend a little more and get a lighter and more compressible pair of pants, but most options are only slightly lighter and slightly more compressible and may not be as versatile for as large a range of activities.

Ian Nicholson