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The North Face Summit L3 Ventrix 2.0 Hoodie - Women's Review

A highly versatile jacket with a nice balance of breathability and warmth
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Price:  $280 List | $167.97 at Backcountry
Pros:  Warm, breathable, great features
Cons:  No stuff sack
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 6, 2020
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 13
  • Warmth - 25% 7
  • Weight & Compression - 20% 5
  • Comfort & Coziness - 20% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 6
  • Breathability - 15% 8
  • Style & Fit - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The North Face Summit L3 Ventrix 2.0 Hoody is one of our favorites. It offers an exceptional level of warmth with decent breathability to keep you moving through all four seasons. It is filled with 60-grams of insulation that'll keep you warm and comfortable. It has a lot of jacket storage, sporting four large pockets and a plethora of comfort features. Many of our testers prefer this jacket to other breathable options for its less specific fit and enhanced level of warmth. Take it with you while you adventure through. It's just as at home as a mid-layer as it is worn on its own.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Ventrix Updates


The new Ventrix 2 has been redone with key differences to its insulation and denier of fabric, rendering the new jacket about three ounces lighter than the previous version. The latest incarnation is allover 20D fabric with 60G of insulation in the body and 80G in the hood, compared to the previous Ventrix's combination of 20, 30, 40, and 50D fabrics and 80G of insulation throughout. This new version is more breathable but less warmth overall.

This active-wear jacket offers an amazing balance of warmth and breathability on the trail. It has many comfort features and a style that many of our testers absolutely love. It is our favorite softshell jacket, even though it doesn't receive an official award. Wear this lightweight jacket on its own while hiking or backcountry skiing, or layer it under a shell for additional warmth in the deep cold of winter.

Performance Comparison


This jacket offers decent breathability but isn't the most breathable or warm jacket out there. It does  however  have lots of storage and a flattering fit.
This jacket offers decent breathability but isn't the most breathable or warm jacket out there. It does, however, have lots of storage and a flattering fit.

Warmth


This jacket offers some of the best warmth of the softshell jackets tested simply because it is thicker and loaded with insulation. The newest version of this jacket actually decreased the amount of insulation by 20 g/m^3, so it's not as warm as it once way. Now it has 60 g/m^3 of 100% polyester material, ensuring that you keep warm when both wet and dry. That said, it does offer more breathability. As a midweight jacket, it offers the warmth you'd expect on cold days worn over a base layer and fleece. However, when it's gusty of the temperatures dip really low, it's best to wear this as a mid-layer.

Jo tests the warmth of this jacket on a ski day on Red Mountain Pass early season. It offers good warmth with transitioning but was a little too hot for the skin uphill in 35-degree weather.
Jo tests the warmth of this jacket on a ski day on Red Mountain Pass early season. It offers good warmth with transitioning but was a little too hot for the skin uphill in 35-degree weather.

Weight & Compression


Weighing in at just 12.65 ounces for a size small, we really appreciate its lightweight feel. This is one that you can wear under another jacket, and hardly know that it's there. While it's not the lightest or most compressive out there, it'll do for practically any application.

A look at the relative size of the Ventrix Summit 2.0 jacket.
A look at the relative size of the Ventrix Summit 2.0 jacket.

In terms of compression, it does not come with its own stuff sack or pocket that it'll pack down into. You can roll it away into its hood and use the cinch cord on the hood to make it small. Or you can put it away into a stuff sack. When looking at overall compression comparatively, it doesn't pack down as small as other lightweight contenders. It hardly compares to the continuous shell jackets or the lighter options out there. That said, it's still light and packable. Not our top choice for ultralight missions, but certainly will function for day hiking, climbing, or other activities where packability isn't the most crucial factor.

Comfort & Coziness


We love the fit and feel of this jacket. It has much in terms of features that make it super functional and versatile. To start, the soft fabrics on both the inside and outside of the jacket makes it quite easy to layer. The two external chest and hand-warming pockets are also very functional. Since they are on both sides, you can use either hand to get inside, and they are quite voluminous! We used them with gloves and found them to be perfect for our needs.

The pockets are quite roomy  offering tons of storage.
The pockets are quite roomy, offering tons of storage.


While the handwarmer pockets are covered up when wearing a harness, you still have access to storage with the chest pockets. A brilliant design that we appreciate, that no other jacket has. We also love the comfortable jacket cuffs that are tapered and cozy.

The cuffs are elastic and offer a tapered fit that fits well underneath a glove.
The cuffs are elastic and offer a tapered fit that fits well underneath a glove.

While it doesn't have any thumb loops, we didn't find them especially necessary as it layers easily. The cinch cord at the hood and hem makes it more adjustable, offering an excellent fit for all women.

An awesome jacket to wear with a helmet. It offers mobility even when fully zipped to look up and around.
An awesome jacket to wear with a helmet. It offers mobility even when fully zipped to look up and around.

A side profile. It also has a hood cinch on the back for a more specific fit.
A side profile. It also has a hood cinch on the back for a more specific fit.

Weather Resistance


While hiking, running, skiing, and climbing, we learned this jacket offers decent weather resistance. The DWR treated fabric is infused with Nylon and Elastane (of varying denier values, consult spec chart), which does a great job cutting the wind. The thicker construction makes it more windproof than lighter models, while the insulation offers great warmth.

We test the resistance of the fabric to snow while getting our truck out after a smaller dump in Colorado.
We test the resistance of the fabric to snow while getting our truck out after a smaller dump in Colorado.

In snow, the materials did a good job simply beading up on the fabric. Over time though, the fabric did this less, so it's important to treat this jacket to retain that DWR finishes as it wears out with cleaning and use. In our shower tests, where we wore each under a stream of water for two minutes, the water didn't penetrate through to the inner fabrics of the jacket. The water beaded for about 40 seconds before saturating. The material then absorbed and held water in "pockets" between the inner and outer layers, similar to many other soft-shelled jackets.


After two minutes of being under the shower  there is little seepage  only at a chest pocket.
After two minutes of being under the shower, there is little seepage, only at a chest pocket.

As a result, this jacket is quite water-resistant, but far from waterproof. It does well to protect in the wind, but wearing a shell on a high-wind day isn't a bad idea.

Breathability


The Ventrix is built to breathe. With its lower amount of insulation, it feels more breathable than it has in the past. We wore it while backcountry skiing in warmer temperatures and running during early mornings. We found that of the breathable soft-shelled jackets, this is actually one of the least breathable tested (even though it earns a comparatively high score to other less breathable products) given its higher level of thickness and warmth.

Jo hikes with our group of friends while skiing on Red Mountain Pass. This mobile-jacket moves well with the body and breathes too.
Jo hikes with our group of friends while skiing on Red Mountain Pass. This mobile-jacket moves well with the body and breathes too.

It does offer many points for ventilation, but on warmer days, were temperatures hovered around 35 degrees Fahrenheit, we took this jacket off promptly after hiking uphill for just a little bit, in both sun and shade. Other jackets with a thinner design, like our award winners, off-loaded heat a little bit better.

A look at the interior of the jacket that is quite breathable.
A look at the interior of the jacket that is quite breathable.

That said, this is an incredibly critical comparison, and of all the jackets tested, it offers breathability that is perfect for the rock climber, hiker, or backpacker. It makes for an awesome mid-layer because of that, or a wonderful jacket to wear on its own.

Style & Fit


If outdoor fashion is your dig, this jacket will fit right in! Commented to be quite 'suave', feminine, with a more flattering cut than otherss, we think it looks pretty good! The black jacket that we tested doesn't have any color complements but is bi-patterned.

Stylish and ready for both the mountains and aprés drinks.
Stylish and ready for both the mountains and aprés drinks.

There are two different types of fabric used, and North Face takes the time to make this look flattering. This jacket offers a slim fit, with enough length in the arms for both the short and long-limbed. We also appreciate the coverage throughout the torso. Fit is true to size and quite versatile with a bit of a stretch. If you dig the outdoorsy look, you'll like this jacket. We just wish there were more color options available.



A look at the fit and style of this jacket on a 5'6"  145 lb tester with a medium build.
A look at the fit and style of this jacket on a 5'6", 145 lb tester with a medium build.

Value


The wonderful performance of this jacket makes it one of our favorites. While the initial price might seem high, it provides a good value who wants a relatively warm but breathable jacket. The materials are quite durable, and it's a jacket that we'd expect would last for many years and many adventures. There are other lower-priced options available with a similar design but don't offer the same amount of warmth.

Hike up  ski down. Sweat  then take a break. This jacket is built to breathe  keeping you dry and cool on your adventures.
Hike up, ski down. Sweat, then take a break. This jacket is built to breathe, keeping you dry and cool on your adventures.

Conclusion


The North Face Ventrix 2 is seen as a light update that we love. This jacket is relatively warm and breathable, making it a good choice for hiking, backpacking, or backcountry skiing. It makes for a wonderfully warm mid-layer or a good jacket to wear on its own.

Amber King