The North Face have just released their Ventrix series of jackets, which are said to keep you warm when you’re stationary, but cool when you’re active. The Outdoor team definitely had to check this out.
What would you say if there was a jacket that could adapt to your body movement and was actually able to regulate your temperature? Well at first I’d say, “shut up and take my money!” Then, I’d probably say, “No way, that sounds impossible.” Well that’s pretty much the conversation I had with the guys from The North Face when they showed me a pre-release version of their new Ventrix jacket. According to them, this baby traps the hot air inside the jacket when you’re not moving to keep you warm, and then when you start being active the perforations inside the jacket expand and dump the heat to prevent you from sweating up a storm. This eliminates the need to constantly shed and re-apply layers when you’re hiking, trail running, climbing or even skiing. This technology sounded amazing. I wasn’t taking their word for it though. When The North Face team wasn’t looking I smuggled the jacket into my bag and made off with the precious cargo.
When I got back to Outdoor HQ, I examined the stolen loot. My first impressions of the Ventrix weren’t mind-blowing; it seemed like a fairly light jacket in terms of insulation and the zips didn’t seem to be very well sealed from water ingress. However, as I’ve often found, looks can be deceiving and I wouldn’t be making judgment on the Ventrix until I’d put it through its paces. The next afternoon was perfect testing conditions. The weather was a chilly 15 degrees (by Brisbane standards) and I got tipped off about a great little three km hike that involved a small rock climb. As I sat in the car on the way to the hike with the windows down, I was bloody hot! For such a lightweight jacket (420g) this thing felt like it had a 7/11 pie warmer bolted inside it. As I jumped out of the car and began the hike I actually started cooling down rather than warming up. The jacket’s laser cut perforations do their job to remove the warm air and provide ventilation to the high heat zones of the body. The slim fit design and lightweight fabric also go a long way to keep you feeling agile on the tracks, while offering a great range of movement without the fear of ripping the armpits. I also noticed the higher-denier fabric on the forearms offered awesome abrasion resistance when climbing over jagged boulders.
So it passed the hike and climb test with flying colours, but how would it go against something much more intimidating? Yep, the garden hose was coming out and a thumb was applied over the end for extra force. Now the Ventrix jacket is coated in a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) and isn’t waterproof, it’s water resistant, which means it’s able to resist the penetration of water to some degree but not entirely. Having said that, the jacket did surprisingly well, it copped the full force of the hose right on the centre zip and most of the water beaded straight off leaving me with a small wet patch on the front of the jacket. Other than that, I was completely dry inside. The jacket also dried incredibly quickly when left in the sun.
GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES
The North Face Ventrix jacket punches well above its weight when it comes to light jackets, but at $350 you’re certainly paying for it. The hoodie version is even pricier at $380. In my opinion it’s definitely worth the dosh with so much amazing tech packed into such a small package. For my sake, let’s just hope The North Face don’t figure out their prototype is missing…
-Awesome Ventrix synthetic-insulation technology
-Super versatile. Great for a range of different conditions or activities
-Not cheap for a lightweight jacket
MORE OUTDOOR GEAR REVIEWS
- How to choose the right waterproof jacket? We'e got answers for you
- Read our review on The North Face Fuse Uno with solid tech that performs well
- Check out the ergonomic Patagonia Nano-Air Jacket with the ability to completely repel water and more
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