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The North Face Venture 2 Half Zip - Women's Review

Comfortable, soft, and supple; great for light hiking in the rain
The North Face Venture 2 Half Zip - Women's
Photo: The North Face
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $80 List | $47.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, comfortable, durable
Cons:  Heavy, less breathable, less versatile
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 12, 2020
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Water Resistance - 25% 7
  • Comfort and Mobility - 20% 6
  • Breathability and Venting - 20% 6
  • Weight - 15% 6
  • Packed Size - 10% 7
  • Features - 5% 6
  • Durability - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The North Face Venture 2 Half Zip rain pants are comfortable and supple lightweight rain pants. They are roomy enough to layer over thicker hiking pants. The half zip makes them easy to put on or take off over light hiking or casual shoes, and even over some boots. These pants are an excellent entry-level rain pant if you're looking for something affordable and you're not sure you'll use them all that often. And they are durable and featured enough to keep you happy many adventures into using them. They are limited to less technical activities like hiking, as they do not have any mountaineering-savvy features.

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$175 List
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Pros Inexpensive, comfortable, durableFull length side zippers, durable, versatileInexpensive, recycled materials, lightweight, great zipper and vent designOptimized for cycling, thoughtful features, durable, comfortableLightweight, versatile, comfortable
Cons Heavy, less breathable, less versatileExpensive, awkward without front fly closureHeavier 3 layer materialThicker fabric better for cooler temperatures, no vents, no pocketsNot full length side zippers
Bottom Line Well-designed for light hiking, and are quite comfortable and soft to the touchDurable, versatile, and impressively lightweight shell pantAn affordable option that will stand up to moderate activityA go-to for wet weather cycling and commutingThese lightweight rain pants stretch the seasons and prove useful most of the year
Rating Categories Venture 2 Half Zip Beta SL Pant Torrentshell 3L Pant Transit Aspire Pant
Water Resistance (25%)
7
9
9
9
7
Comfort And Mobility (20%)
6
6
7
6
6
Breathability And Venting (20%)
6
7
7
5
8
Weight (15%)
6
6
5
4
5
Packed Size (10%)
7
7
6
6
7
Features (5%)
6
8
7
9
6
Durability (5%)
7
7
7
9
5
Specs Venture 2 Half Zip Beta SL Pant Torrentshell 3L Pant Transit Aspire Pant
Measured Weight 6.5 oz 12 oz 11 oz 11 oz 9.5 oz
Waterproof fabric Material DryVent N40r Gore-Tex with Paclite technology 100% recycled nylon Nylon 50D polyester Gore-tex 2L
Face fabric and Layer Construction 100% nylon ripstop, 40D and 70D DryVent 150D nylon plain weave, 2 layer H2No Performance standard shell Artex 3-Layer Gore-Tex 2L
Pockets 2 zippered hand None 2 zippered hand None 1 back
Side zips length? 1/2 zip 1/3 length, unzips to below knee 3/4 zip Ankle 3/4 zip
Put on Over Hiking or Mountaineering Boots Hiking Mountaineering Mountaineering Low top hiking/casual Mountaineering
Inseam Length, Size Small 31 32 32 32 30
Stows Into Pocket? No No Yes No Yes
Clippable loop? No No Yes No Yes
Waist band Style Elastic waist + internal drawcord Elastic waist + internal drawcord Elastic waist + internal drawcord Elastic waist + internal drawcord Elastic waist + internal drawcord

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.

Performance Comparison


The Venture 2 are lovely for hiking in inclement weather, and light...
The Venture 2 are lovely for hiking in inclement weather, and light enough to remain comfortable when a little less inclement.
Photo: Caitlin Ames

Water Resistance


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.

The DryVent fabric held up to all the rain we put it through!
The DryVent fabric held up to all the rain we put it through!
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

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 half zip on the Venture rain pants makes them easy to put on and...
The half zip on the Venture rain pants makes them easy to put on and take off in a hurry, as fast as the weather changes.
Photo: Caitlin Ames

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.

No vents and a plasticky feel inside mean these aren't the most...
No vents and a plasticky feel inside mean these aren't the most comfortable for long-term or frequent wear, but they're light enough to be breathable and get you through a storm or two on your next backcountry adventure.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Weight


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 2 pants are light and packable, an excellent companion...
The Venture 2 pants are light and packable, an excellent companion on your next hiking or backpacking adventure.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Packed Size


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.


Features


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 have a stowable pocket in case you want to stuff...
The Venture pants have a stowable pocket in case you want to stuff them into it to protect them in storage or in transit.
Photo: Caitlin Ames

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.

Durability


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.

The ripstop nylon in the Venture pants is plenty durable with 40 and...
The ripstop nylon in the Venture pants is plenty durable with 40 and 70 denier ratings.
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

Donning the Venture rain pants in a hurry is a breeze with the half...
Donning the Venture rain pants in a hurry is a breeze with the half zip design.
Photo: Caitlin Ames

Lyra Pierotti