The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

The North Face Ventrix Hoody - Women's Review

Offering a unique balance of warmth and breathability, it earns our Top Pick for Breathability.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $220 List | $131.99 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Breathable, warm, great comfort features, mobile face fabric, great layering ability
Cons:  No cinch cord around hood
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 12, 2018
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Warmth - 25% 7
  • Weight & Compression - 20% 5
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 7
  • Comfort & Coziness - 15% 8
  • Breathability - 15% 9
  • Style & Fit - 5% 7

Our Verdict

If you seek an insulated jacket that will keep you warm and dry when you're hiking uphill or down, The North Face Ventrix is our top recommendation. Constructed with a mobile face fabric that is both protective and breathable, it has the affinity to offload heat quickly and retain it when needed. The North Face has constructed the body of this jacket with tiny perforations that contract and expand. While we couldn't observe this technology directly (and we tried!), we certainly felt the breathability and warmth on the trail, testing it while hiking, climbing, and generally exploring. This unique feature, in addition to the warm (yet breathable) 80-grams of polyester stretch insulation, contributes to the unique blend of warmth and breathability. To top it off, the shell is constructed of a mix of highly rated denier material, making it a ridiculously bomber shell without any noted durability issues during our testing period. It cuts the wind and wicks away water, keeping you dry in everything from a small sprinkle to a winter storm.

The biggest competitor for this Top Pick is the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody that won for its high breathability over the past few years. While we love this jacket for its lightweight construction and superior compression in comparison to the Ventrix, it doesn't hold a candle to the level of relative warmth it offers. For both jackets, breathability is about the same.

Feature wise, the Nano Air offers more pockets (an additional chest pocket), but they aren't as large or cozy. The fit of the Nano Air is a touch smaller, with less room at the collar and hood. Some preferred this fit to the Ventrix, while others didn't. The Ventrix is superior to the Nano Air for its higher level of warmth, durability, and weather resistance. That said, if you seek a mobile face jacket that isn't as warm, offering a lighter weight and better compression, the Nano Air is a better choice.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

This Top Pick for breathability offers excellent ventilation and a solid balance of warmth on the trail. It has many features making it a superb activewear choice for all sorts of outdoor adventures. Take it with you while tackling cold morning runs or backcountry terrain for days on end.

Performance Comparison


Luna takes the North Face Ventrix out for a spin while crushing rock in Boulder Canyon.
Luna takes the North Face Ventrix out for a spin while crushing rock in Boulder Canyon.

Warmth


We are surprised by the level of warmth offered in this ultra-breathable jacket. It features three different layers of construction including an outer shell, insulative layer, and inner liner. The outer shell uses 30-Denier X 20-Denier fabric with a water-resistant finish. The insulative layer uses 80-grams of polyester stretch synthetic insulation that retains warmth when wet. The smooth inner liner holds the jacket together and functions well with base layers and thinner sweaters. Overall, this construction plus its plentiful features makes for a surprisingly warm jacket that can balance bold breathability.


While this jacket lacks many features, it does have a few essential items. The hemline has a draw-string pull to retain warmth from escaping the body of the jacket on cold days. Also, while the pockets aren't the warmest, they have some insulation on the outer layer, making it functional for stuffing your hands into on a cold day.

The continuous lining provides ample wind protection while the insulation embedded in the jackets provides great warmth on cold days. During the coldest days of winter  layer it underneath a warmer jacket.
The continuous lining provides ample wind protection while the insulation embedded in the jackets provides great warmth on cold days. During the coldest days of winter, layer it underneath a warmer jacket.

One caveat that could make it a little warmer is the overall fit. It's not as tight as the Patagonia Air, nor does it come with a drawstring cord to cinch the hood around the face on super cold days (this would be a nice addition for hunkering down in cold weather). It provides sufficient warmth for cold weather. If you stack it alongside a base layer and/or shell, you can extend its functionality. With appropriate layers, it can act as a great winter layer, keeping you warm when the mercury dips into the double negative digits.

The hem cinch cords aid in locking in warmth on a cold day.
The hem cinch cords aid in locking in warmth on a cold day.

Weight & Compression


For a continuous soft-shell jacket, it is fairly compressible and lightweight, offering a comfortable experience on the trail. Weighing in at 13.10 ounces, it's fairly lightweight, but certainly not the lightest option out there. When taking it rock climbing on a cool Fall day, we found it easily stuffed away into our backpack. It doesn't come with its stuff sack, but it can easily be rolled into its hood and compressed to the size of a small football.


Given that it isn't the most compressible or lightweight option on the market, we can't recommend it for super ultralightweight adventures, unless you intend on wearing it the entire time. For example; it'd be perfect for ski touring in winter weather, but not the best for a fastpacking mission that requires super lightweight and compressible gear.

While this jacket doesn't have its own compression system  it still rolls up into its hood to neatly pack away into a backpack. In addition  it stuffs quite efficiently as well.
While this jacket doesn't have its own compression system, it still rolls up into its hood to neatly pack away into a backpack. In addition, it stuffs quite efficiently as well.

Weather Resistance


Man alive! We are surprised by the level of weather resistance that the Ventrix offers! While no insulated jacket is completely waterproof (in this review), the performance differences come in the form of its ability to keep water off your skin in a potential downpour or snow-storm. For a mobile face jacket, we are super impressed by its performance in the field and our shower tests. Constructed with a water-resistant finish and a combination of a 92% Nylon & 8% Ripstop fabric in the shell, it does a great job wicking away moisture in all sorts of precipitation. The fabric will saturate after just a few seconds in super heavy and stormy weather, but it will keep the moisture off the skin. Its Nylon fabric composition does a wonderful job of keeping the wind off the body, offering superior weather resistance to other mobile-fabric jacket contenders.


In our shower tests, we stood under a blasting nozzle for roughly five minutes. After about one minute, the fabric was completely saturated, and water began to pool between the layers.

Just taking a shower to see how the NF Ventrix performs. Overall...it's pretty darn water resistant for a mobile-face insulated coat.
Just taking a shower to see how the NF Ventrix performs. Overall...it's pretty darn water resistant for a mobile-face insulated coat.

While the fabric is absorbent in comparison to other jackets that are 100% Nylon, the insulation caught the water before permeating to the interior of the liner. In this test, water got into the jacket at the opening of the collar (as there are no drawstring cinches), around the thinner pockets, at the armpits (also where the material is thinner), and around the zipper. After the test, the cotton shirt we wore underneath was only wet in these places and 100% dry on the back (where there was continuous material) and around the hood (wow!).

A look at the inside of the Ventrix after standing in the shower for five minutes. The interior is bone dry  while the pockets (to the right and left) show a little bit of moisture seepage. Great results in wet weather!
A look at the inside of the Ventrix after standing in the shower for five minutes. The interior is bone dry, while the pockets (to the right and left) show a little bit of moisture seepage. Great results in wet weather!

The Patagonia Nano Air didn't perform nearly as well in these tests, saturating faster and allowing water to permeate over the entire jacket! Overall, we'd say that for a mobile-jacket option, it does a fabulous job in the arena of weather resistance. As a side note, it is far from waterproof and should be worn underneath a shell when expecting inclement weather.

While the face fabric isn't waterproof  it offers a certain level of water resistance. In general  it will absorb water  but the double layer of protection will keep you protected from the moisture permeating through the coat.
While the face fabric isn't waterproof, it offers a certain level of water resistance. In general, it will absorb water, but the double layer of protection will keep you protected from the moisture permeating through the coat.

Comfort & Coziness


If comfort is what you seek, the Ventrix will provide! While it doesn't offer faux fur or super cozy features, the fabric is soft and mobile, moving with you while you carry on your way. The jacket is very stretchy and fits around every curve and bend of your body, encapsulating you in quality fabrics that are soft to the touch and great for all-day wear.


Hood

Helmet compatible? Yes! While it offers a lot of room for different climbing helmets and the like, it doesn't feature a cinching system: a caveat that we'd like to challenge The North Face to add in the future. This could contribute to the comfort and add precision for a better fit.

This hood is helmet compatible and wraps around the face for great comfort.
This hood is helmet compatible and wraps around the face for great comfort.

Collar

The collar offers ample room to hunker into during cold days in the backcountry, while the garaged zipper keeps the metal off your face on super cold days.

The zippers are bomber while the zipper pulls are ample  allowing you to zip and unzip with a pair of gloves if needed.
The zippers are bomber while the zipper pulls are ample, allowing you to zip and unzip with a pair of gloves if needed.

Pockets

The Ventrix has amazing yet concealed pockets for a sleek look. It has two huge handwarmer pockets that can accommodate a gloved hand. The single chest pocket is massive, allowing you to store snacks for later or a cell phone for your next Instagram post. All the pockets feature a nice liner, but no additional fleece linings. The pull strings and zippers are burly, offering the ability to use in cold weather.


The Ventrix is a comfortable jacket with great features. While it's not the coziest option out there, it is comfortable, and we'd recommend it for a variety of applications. Wear it while on the move or while hunkering down in warm to cool weather.

Breathability


Identified as a Top Pick in this category, the Ventrix features an incredible balance of breathability and warmth. The North Face constructed it with a plethora of perforations that are meant to contract or expand depending on the amount of heat (or cold) present in the immediate area. While we couldn't observe this technology directly (we tried to blow the fabric with a blowdryer to see if the holes would change in size), we experienced this fantastic breathability on the trail while testing in the Summer to Fall seasons.


We took this jacket hiking, climbing, running, and adventuring. While running in the morning, it performed impeccably well, offering an excellent level of weather resistance and warmth, dumping heat sufficiently when charging on the uphills. When hiking to our favorite crag in Boulder, Colorado, we didn't find the need to take this jacket off on the hike, as the fabric dumped heat sufficiently. When hunkering down to eat a sandwich and belay a friend at the local climbing crag, it kept us warm, even when the temperature dipped into the high 30s. We love it for all active-recreational sports for the colder months, as it dumps heat well and keeps us warm in colder weather.

Taking a run through Boulder with this jacket proves to be a great place on a cold Fall afternoon.
Taking a run through Boulder with this jacket proves to be a great place on a cold Fall afternoon.

Style & Fit


With a fitted, mobile, and stretchy composition, expect it to move with you while you embark on your next adventure. The fit is true to size and is a fitted jacket; keep that in mind if you have a bigger bust. The arms and torso are long, ensuring a decent fit for those that need it.


The style is attractive and comes in many color options. Currently, The North Face offers a two-toned color scheme that is both slimming and stylish. In mountain towns and outdoor communities, we feel comfortable wearing it out, on the trail, and to work.


However, if you're seeking a super stylish jacket, this may not be your first choice, as the fabric might seem a little techy for some. It has a fitted, mobile design that is generally mountain chic with slimming stitching patterns and color schemes.

These photos show the relative lengths of the arms and torso. This tester is about 5'6 and 140 lbs. She is wearing a size small.
These photos show the relative lengths of the arms and torso. This tester is about 5'6 and 140 lbs. She is wearing a size small.

Best Application


This Top Pick is perfect for active, recreational purposes. The breathable fabric facilitates use in colder weather for all active-endeavors. Since it's not a super warm jacket, it's not our top choice for hunkering down in super cold weather (on its own) or wearing around town in the middle of winter. However, if you pair it with a bomber base layer or protective shell, you'll find that its functionality can be further extended for all seasons, all year round.

Take a hike  go climbing  go for a run. This Top Pick will keep you comfortable through it all.
Take a hike, go climbing, go for a run. This Top Pick will keep you comfortable through it all.

Value


With durable face fabrics and seemingly high-quality construction, a retail price of $220 ain't so bad. Unlike other competitors, it features a higher denier rating on the forearms of the jacket, a place where a jacket might see a lot more abrasion. The shell is durable and didn't pill after washing; during washing, we didn't note any form of durability issues, leading us to believe that this bomber jacket is worth the money.

The super durable material that sits on the forearms is a great addition that adds value to this jacket. Not only that  but the mobile face fabric showed little to no signs of wear and tear after our testing period.
The super durable material that sits on the forearms is a great addition that adds value to this jacket. Not only that, but the mobile face fabric showed little to no signs of wear and tear after our testing period.

If you prefer the jacket option, be sure to check out The North Face Jacket, offered at $199 retail.

Conclusion


This Top Pick for Breathability offers a beautiful balance of warmth and breathability. As a mobile soft-shelled insulated jacket, it is best for active wear through the colder days of Fall, Spring, and Winter. Arm it with a base layer and shell to tackle the coldest days of winter. Wear it while you're backpacking through the Rocky Mountains or hanging out around a campfire.

Luna sports the mobile and comfortable The North Face Ventrix while battling a rock problem. The material stretches and is soft enough to move with you  whatever sport you're doing.
Luna sports the mobile and comfortable The North Face Ventrix while battling a rock problem. The material stretches and is soft enough to move with you, whatever sport you're doing.


Amber King