The North Face makes a huge range of outdoor gear, and the Venture Pant is one of its classic pieces of kit. Made from fabric without a lining, the trousers boast a knee-length zip to make them easier to fit over boots.
Perhaps one of the most important features of any trousers is the material. Considering these are such low-priced overtrousers, the fabric is particularly good on the Venture. It is called HyVent and boasts an excellent spec on paper. The material is PU-coated to give an extremely high level of waterproofness that in the lab measures as a 17,500mm hydrostatic head, putting this material up there with the best in the ‘extremely waterproof’ category. It is no slouch in terms of breathability either, although higher-priced trousers are more breathable. The material does not have a mesh lining, which brings benefits in terms of weight and ease of fitting, but perhaps not in terms of pure comfort.
On the hill
As with any trousers I am most interested in how easily I can get them on and off! The North Face Venture ½ Zip Pant is really easy to fit as those side zips open the leg from the knee so I could put these on over my size 11 boots without much problem. Again, as there is no mesh lining, there was no material to snag either. Once on, the zip was neatly closed and a tab of Velcro at the cuff allowed me to cinch in the trouser a little. The fabric does not have a lining so it is very comfortable, although in warmer wet conditions I find condensation does display itself more readily than in trousers with linings. The cut of the trousers was excellent, being slightly closer than some yet not restrictive. My pair was in a ‘regular’ leg length, but I felt they were a little short when my knees were bent when climbing so I’d go for a ‘long’ version instead to help compensate for this riding up. The elasticated waist fitted my slight belly bulge well, and the drawstring adjuster was available too should you be slimmer than me. However some might prefer an elasticated drawcord with a toggle for easier adjustment.
The only place the The North Face Venture ½ Zip Pants can leak is on that side zip. But it has an internal baffle and a pair of small external baffles too. I would expect this zip to leak at the knee flex point more easily in really heavy wind-blown driving rain than a similar zip with large external double stormflaps. In my tests, though, it didn’t leak.
Outer HyVent DT 2.5 layer
Fabric waterproofness extremely waterproof
Fabric breathability very breathable
Sizes S-XXL in three leg lengths (men’s); S-XL in one leg length (women’s)
Weight 230g (size men’s L)
Made in Vietnam
Stores in the UK 167
Stockist details – tel. (01539) 738882; www.thenorthface.com
The The North Face Venture ½ Zip Pant has a great material spec; easy to fit; good side zip; well-shaped for comfort. But the leg tended to ride up easily so it might be worth getting a longer leg size to compensate; knee length zip could potentially leak more easily than some designs; waist drawcord may not be as easy to adjust as an elasticated toggle drawcord. Overall, they’re excellent trousers for hill-walking with generally good features, although like others they ride up a little too easily. They won the ‘Best in Test’ accolade.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine October 2010