The North Face Venture 2 Half Zip - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Inexpensive, comfortable, durable
Cons: Heavy, less breathable, less versatile
Manufacturer: The North Face
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face Venture Half Zip pants are designed as rain pants for hiking. The updated version is much more lightweight and streamlined for hiking purposes, making them an easy addition to your backpack.
The Venture 2 is a reliably water-resistant rain shell pant. The new lighter material is still mightily waterproof DryVent ripstop nylon.
The pocket zippers and side zippers (which allow for easy on/off) are not waterproof zippers; instead, The North Face elected to put flaps over the zippers. This is not necessarily our favorite design, because, in a real downpour, water can stream into these zippers. This, however, is notably rare and only in extreme conditions. These non-waterproof zippers are smoother and will last longer, so there are clear pros and cons.
Comfort and Mobility
The Venture pants are relatively spacious through the legs, so even if you put them on over pants, they don't feel tight or restrictive. The material is supple, making it easy to move in the pants. The new fabric does have a plasticky internal face fabric, which often feels clammy when it gets humid. This is not our favorite feeling, but the more spacious fit helps reduce the discomfort when clammy and clingy.
The pants were easy to slip on over shoes with the half zip. Boots were not as easy, but these are not the best pants for backpacking or mountaineering, so that's perhaps a moot point anyway. The inside of the pants, however, does feel quite plasticky. For this reason, we much preferred to wear these in cooler climates when we were most likely to have light hiking or casual pants on underneath. Cotton pants, like jeans, were quite nice under these pants—the cotton slid easily along the inner surface of the fabric.
Breathability and Venting
The Venture pants are now made of a lighter material which is more breathable than before. This is fortunate because they do not have vents.
The half zippers on the side only unzip from the bottom--some similarly designed pants also unzip from the middle, creating a vent, which is brilliant. These pants have that plasticky feel inside, which can feel clammy, but if you're not a frequent wet-weather recreationist, these lightweight pants will do very well for you.
The latest revision to the Venture pants shaves a significant amount of weight off the original. We are quite pleased with this, despite the use of that familiar clammy-feeling fabric. For pants that you're not likely to wear a lot, and are most likely to go for a ride in your backpack "just in case," these are a great option.
The Venture pants now compress much smaller than the previous version. This is well suited to backpacking and hiking where you want something lightweight and compact that won't weigh you down, for that sudden--if unlikely--torrential downpour.
The Venture pants are simple and streamlined with features that function well. The hand pockets are nice to use and easy to access, while the half-elastic waistband and tightening cord is low profile and functional. We want to caution potential buyers to try on your backpack with these pants--the transition between elastic and solid fabric has a seam which might fall uncomfortably under your backpack hip belt.
The half zip length is adequately spacious when you need to put them on over the light hiking or casual shoes you would likely be wearing with these pants, as well as some boots.
The Venture Pants stow in the left-hand pocket for easy travel or to toss in a duffel without risk of damaging them in transit; all jumbled with the rest of your gear.
Of note, the new design has a long Velcro tab, which provides some adjustability to secure these around the cuff of your boots. This is not the most secure cinching method, but it may be helpful, depending on your footwear. Otherwise, there is no way to secure these around your footwear, such as with a shoelace hook.
The Venture pants are made of highly durable 40 and 70 denier nylon ripstop.
These are on par with many of the other pants in this review, but they stand apart in the suppleness of the outer fabric. Otherwise, the zippers, taped seams, and cuffs are all well made and inspire long-term confidence. As hiking pants, which is what The North Face designed these to be, they will hold up.
These pants are an excellent deal. If you're not sure if you'll use them a lot, but you need an entry-level pair of rain pants, this is a great place to start.
The North Face Venture 2 Pants are comfortable, lightweight, and supple. This newest model features much lighter fabric, making this version well suited to hiking and backpacking where you're counting your ounces. They are not well vented and feel plasticky inside, so we don't recommend these for sustained wet weather use; instead, consider these an excellent lightweight emergency rain pant.
— Lyra Pierotti