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The North Face Venture 2 - Women's Review

Not the easiest to use or the best hood or waterproofness for steady rain, but it's affordable and comes in a rainbow of colors
The North Face Venture 2 - Women's
Photo: The North Face
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Price:  $100 List | $98.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Interior pockets, pit vents, inexpensive, tons of color options
Cons:  Crinkly, not totally waterproof, hard to pack into pocket, durability concerns, not a great hood
Manufacturer:   The North Face
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 13, 2019
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43
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 13
  • Water Resistance - 30% 4
  • Comfort - 25% 3
  • Breathability - 20% 5
  • Durability - 15% 5
  • Weight and Packability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

While the price and pit vents of The North Face Venture make this inexpensive jacket an appealing option, we think there's a lot left to be desired from this crinkly cover. It's rather plastic-feeling, and the front zipper easily gets caught on the inner storm flap. The hood is one of the least protective against actual rain of any option we tested, and we don't have a lot of faith in this coat to last through years of hard use. However, it does come in a rainbow of color options and is significantly cheaper than a lot of hardier options.

New Colors Available

The photo above depicts one of the latest color choices offered for the Venture 2.

March 2020

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Overall Score Sort Icon
43
83
77
74
73
Star Rating
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Pros Interior pockets, pit vents, inexpensive, tons of color optionsWater resistant, wind resistant and breathable, dual direction whole side/pit vents, dual direction main zipperExceedingly water resistant, great fit, comfortable fabric, good zipper design, very durableIncredibly stretchy, comfortable, breathable, long arms, not crinklyExceptionally packable, lightweight, impressively waterproof, easy to move in
Cons Crinkly, not totally waterproof, hard to pack into pocket, durability concerns, not a great hoodVery difficult to pack into its pocket, sleeves a bit short, main zipper difficult to match upNo pit zips for dumping excess heat in a pinch, doesn't pack into a pocket, expensiveThin, hood not great coverage, not windproofNo vents or hand pockets, lack of everyday features
Bottom Line A bit lacking when it comes to actual water protection and user friendliness, but the colors and price tag are greatIn spite of its relatively large packed size and weight, this jacket will meet every other expectation you have for a rain shellOffering impressive protection from the elements in a very comfortable and well-fitting jacketYou'll pay more for the stretchy fabric of this model, but it just might be worth it if you partake in a lot of aerobic activitiesA solid packable rain layer that will keep you dry but doesn't have a lot of everyday comfort features
Rating Categories Venture 2 Aspire Arc'teryx Zeta SL - Women's Stretch Ozonic Helium Rain Jacket
Water Resistance (30%)
4
9
9
7
8
Comfort (25%)
3
8
9
8
6
Breathability (20%)
5
8
5
8
8
Durability (15%)
5
9
9
7
6
Weight And Packability (10%)
6
6
4
6
9
Specs Venture 2 Aspire Arc'teryx Zeta SL... Stretch Ozonic Helium Rain Jacket
Measured Weight 9.3 oz 11.4 oz 9.4 oz 9.4 oz 5.6 oz
Number of Fabric Layers 2.5 2 2 2.5 2.5
Material 40D 85g/m2 DryVent ripstop nylon Gore-Tex with Paclite technology 2L, 100% polyester 50D plain weave 40D ripstop (N40r) Gore-Tex New Paclite Plus, DWR treatment Dry.Q Active Stretch 40D 2.5L (100% nylon) Pertex Shield, Diamond Fuse 30D ripstop nylon
Pockets 2 hand, 2 open inside 2 hand, 1 chest 2 hand 2 hand, 1 chest 1 chest
Pit Zips Yes Yes - dual direction No Yes - dual direction No
Pit Zip Length (in) 8" 21" N/a 13" n/a
Helmet Compatible Hood No Yes No Yes No
Stows into Pocket Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Carabiner Loop in Stow Pocket No Yes No No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The North Face Venture 2 is an inexpensive 2.5-layer raincoat made of 40D DryVent and 100% nylon ripstop material. It has two hand pockets that double as tall, thin interior pockets, and it packs (rather difficultly) into its own left pocket.

Performance Comparison


The Venture 2 did not impress us, but against some stiff...
The Venture 2 did not impress us, but against some stiff competition, it's also not the worst option out there.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Water Resistance


The Venture let us down when it comes to water resistance. At the first start of rain, beads form on the outside of the jacket and roll right off. And if you're only ever experiencing light rain, that might be the end of the story. When we put this jacket through our "puddle of water" test, some water seeped right through, leaving a sort of condensation-like feeling on the inside. This is unlikely to be a huge issue unless you're out in a downpour for a significant length of time, but it doesn't give us a huge amount of trust in this little jacket. We also aren't huge fans of the hood, which is oddly small and has no brim and freely allows rain to hit your face. The double storm flaps on the main zipper do a good job of keeping rain from coming through the teeth, and as long as we kept the pockets closed, we didn't notice any leakage there.

Unfortunately, the Venture 2 does let rain through after too much...
Unfortunately, the Venture 2 does let rain through after too much time spent under drippy skies.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Comfort


The Venture has a rather crinkly plastic-like feel, which isn't particularly pleasant against your skin, not to mention the noise. It has a reasonably relaxed fit that can be layered over other garments, though, which also helps eliminate that plastic feel. The hem and hood both have two adjustment points to help you more easily find a protective fit. With dual, opposing storm flaps on both the inside and the outside, this jacket is a bit cumbersome to zip up, and the inner flap gets snagged in the zipper pretty easily. It's also not really made for active endeavors with a lot of arm involvement - like climbing or biking - as the sleeves don't really move with your arms and can leave your wrists exposed.

Though still a crinkly jacket, the hood isn't bad to wear - if you...
Though still a crinkly jacket, the hood isn't bad to wear - if you can hear anything through the noise.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Breathability


While this raincoat does have small pit vents (just eight inches long), it's still not an amazing option for breathability. The interior will readily collect condensation from your sweat, which negates the effect of wearing a garment meant to keep you dry. Opening the pit zips helps, but they're incredibly small and can only do so much for the sweat that tends to collect anywhere other than your armpits. It's an okay barrier against most breezes, but a stiff wind does go through this jacket.

Pockets for your hands and pit vents for your sweat. It's not much...
Pockets for your hands and pit vents for your sweat. It's not much, but it's more helpful than not having them.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Durability


Compared to the many other jackets we tested, this one just isn't very impressive when it comes to durability. Many seam ends were poking out of ours by the end of our testing period, and several seams were already stressed and starting to pull apart. The fact that the waterproofing seemed to already need to be re-done during our couple months of use isn't a great sign. And though we didn't have a problem with it during our testing, the inner lining seems likely to start to peel off after some time.

The velcro strips on the main zipper are narrow and not particularly...
The velcro strips on the main zipper are narrow and not particularly sticky, making us wonder how long they'll hold up against years of weather and wear.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Weight and Packability


Weighing 9.3 oz, the Venture is on the low-middle end of average among jackets we tested. We're not sure this deserves the "ultralight" label that The North Face claims, but it's certainly not the heaviest raincoat we reviewed. The Venture does pack into its own left pocket, but it's an odd shape with a small opening and takes some finagling to get it put away. It also has a ridiculously tiny zipper (with no zipper pull) that's pretty tough to grab and nearly impossible to close around this overstuffed package.

Getting this jacket into its own pocket was a serious chore. Next...
Getting this jacket into its own pocket was a serious chore. Next time we think we'll just cram it in the bag as is.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


Though it's on the low end of price points in this review, the Venture does not blow us away with its performance. For the same price, you can get several much better-performing jackets, and for significantly less, you can get a jacket that isn't that much worse. Perhaps if you find it on a big sale, it may be worth it, but we don't think this jacket lives up to its full price tag.

Conclusion


The Venture looks like a good budget option but drops the ball when it comes to those details that actually make it a high-performing raincoat. With a crinkly plastic vibe that feels uncomfortable and tends to collect sweat without moving with you, we think you'd be better off spending your money on one of the many more impressive jackets.

We think there are better-performing jackets for this price, but...
We think there are better-performing jackets for this price, but perhaps you like the color options...
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Brandenburg