The North Face Ventrix Hoodie Review

The Ventrix Hoodie is a versatile jacket that gives you ample flexibility and a comfortable lining. It’s not the most durable or weather-resistant option around, but it’s reliable and offers decent value.

Quick Summary

  • Where to buy: REI, Amazon, EVO
  • Best for: Calmer conditions or warmer winter months. Skiers looking for a light layer to complement a heavier ensemble.
  • Pros: This is a warm jacket that comes with an incredibly comfortable lining. The fit is nice too. Great ventilation. It has a solid stretch and is easy to move around in.
  • Cons: The weather protection is particularly lacking, especially for skiers used to going out into tough environments. It also doesn’t have much in the way of features and can tear easier than most would like.
  • Alternatives: Outdoor Research Ascendant, Atom LT, Thermoball Eco

Why Trust Me

I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent ample time researching this hoodie by studying its traits, analyzing its features, and seeing how it held up in different conditions.

Detailed Review

The Ventrix is a lightweight jacket that protects you both on and off the mountain. The insulation isn’t quite up to snuff, but it’s great when backed up by other layers. There aren’t a ton of features, mainly due to the minimalist design, and the weather protection could be better as well. However, this jacket is stretchy, stylish, and breathable.

Small Warmth, Large Comfort

The Ventrix, as expected with its lighter design, doesn’t have the best warmth on the market. It’s fine when temperatures aren’t so bad outside, but it definitely doesn’t have what it takes to stand up if things dip. You definitely want to pair this with extra insulation or added layers on all but the warmest spring runs.

That being said, the jacket is comfortable when part of an ensemble. The active fit means it does a great job when you’re pushing yourself or really sweating. It lets your body move and can be used easily as both an outer or midlayer. The 8-percent elastane is another bright point. It stretches extremely well to keep you mobile no matter what you’re doing. I just wouldn’t take it out on its own. It won’t let you freeze, but there are better stand-alone models out there.

Plenty Breathable

Though it’s lacking in warmth, the Ventrix does a nice job when it comes to ventilation. This is a breathable model with an air-permeable shell and thin stretch insulation. Hot air easily escapes while you move around. It’s good for when you’re on the slopes, but it also gives great airflow during uphill ascents. That’s another reason backcountry riders might want to add this to their ensemble. The only time it doesn’t hold up is when you’re really pushing.

Weight and Packability

This jacket clocks in at 13.4 ounces. That’s not the lightest option I’ve ever seen, but it’s definitely much slimmer than some other models. That’s quite appealing to me, as I always appreciate when companies take their time to cut back on weight.

Going off that, the Ventrix is decently packable too. Though it doesn’t come with a stuff sack or fold up into its own pocket, it does roll into its own hood. That’s handy and more than serviceable for packing. However, it’s still a bit too large for long backcountry trips. It will save you space, but those who need to work to get the most from every inch of pack space won’t be satisfied that this only goes down to the size of a football.

Wind and Weather Protection

Unfortunately, weather protection is the Ventrix’s weakest link. The jacket has a lot of breathability, and that often comes at the cost of being a bit more porous. Even so, it simply does not have the power or construction needed to stand up to harsh conditions. The DWR coating is functional, but you’re going to get a lot of water absorption in both rain and heavy snow. That’s not the end of the world, but you’re going to want a shell with this.

That being said, the wind protection isn’t bad. The elastic wrist cuffs create a nice seal, as does the adjustable hem. The hood helps in that area too. The only big problem I have is that the fabric is prone to rips and tears. It has a 20-denier (D) nylon blend that just doesn’t provide the same strength as competitors.

Additional Features

There aren’t a lot of features packed into the Ventrix, which is a nod to its cut-down design. Even so, the hood is structurally sound and provides some extra versatility that I really like. It’s not helmet compatible, but that’s easy to overlook here. On top of that, the two hand pockets are functional and there’s a lot of space inside the chest pocket. They come with extra insulation as well.

Price and Value

The Ventrix comes in at a much lower price than some of its competitors. That helps with the value, but I can’t give it extremely high marks because of the durability. You’re saving some money upfront, but you might end up losing some in the backend due to having repairs or needing to replace it before you would something else.

What I Like

My favorite part of the Ventix is how the fit reflects both comfort and flexibility. The trimmer cut is excellent, and the material is plenty stretchy. I like having mobility on the slopes, and you’ll never feel like you’re restricted while wearing the jacket. That’s mainly due to the 8-percent elastane that gives you an impressive amount of motion no matter how you ride.

Even without great warmth or weather protection, I have to give a special mention to the Ventrix’s feel. The jacket is comfortable every step of the way. The thin build sits nicely on your body, the material lets you breathe, and everything feels great on your skin. If you find other models uncomfortable, you’ll get better results here.

What I Dislike

Easily my biggest complaint with the Ventrix is the weak weather protection. There’s a DWR finish, but it still doesn’t do that much in shifting or rough conditions. You’re going to expect a little bit of a loss when dealing with lighter jackets, but I’d much rather have had the option to wear the Ventix in a storm and not worry about getting wet.

Durability is also an issue. Losing a little bit of strength isn’t the end of the world for people who can afford it, but when I invest in ski clothing I want to make sure it lasts. This jacket is well-made for the most part, but a tough tumble into the trees is going to cause some problems.

The Alternatives

These alternatives all have similar features in a different package:

  • Outdoor Research Ascendant – Soft, sleek, and machine washable, this jacket from Outdoor Research has a lot of excellent features at a reasonable price. This is great for skiers on a budget who want to save money without losing any key traits. There are plenty of pockets, a stormflap, and durable hood. It’s breathable as well.
  • Atom LT – The Atom LT is a well-rounded jacket that, while not the warmest option out there, gives you great protection without getting in the way. It’s light and offers excellent all-around performance. In addition, it’s versatile and easily combats just about any weather. The great design is also furthered by the various bright color options.
  • Thermoball Eco – This option comes from a well-known brand in North Face, and it certainly lives up to their strong reputation. This option is light, easy to pack, and comes in a wide range of colors and styles. It’s also flexible, which makes it perfect for the resort and backcountry. The ThermoBall insulation is also quite effective at keeping you warm.

FAQs

Does the hood work with helmets?

No. The Ventrix’s hood is not helmet compatible.

How much does this jacket weigh?

The North Face Ventrix comes in at 13.4 ounces, making it reasonably lightweight.

Does this have a lot of mobility?

Yes. The Ventrix’s special fabric allows you to easily move or stretch without any restriction.

My Verdict

The Ventrix Hoodie is a solid North Face jacket that comes with a few trade-offs. You get a nice build with good ventilation, but at the cost of limited warmth, few features, and weak weather protection. It’s a nice jacket.

However, you’re going to want to wear it with other layers. It still does its job well, especially considering how well it packs down and how easy it is to manage. A good choice if you want to save some money without losing quality.

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