The North Face Venture 2011

The presence of The North Face’s distinctive decal on these trousers (the lowest-priced here) certainly ups the cred – and the expectations. At 210g, the Venture trousers are certainly light: made of seam-sealed 2.5 layer HyVent DT fabric (the ‘point five’ refers to a microgrid print layer on the inner, which separates the fabric from the skin and increases airflow), this own-brand, polyurethane (PU) waterproof fabric is claimed to be 25 per cent more breathable than the leading competitor, with similarly impressive claims as regards durability (however, said leading competitor isn’t specified). PU was classically considered a lesser product than PTFE fabrics such as Gore-Tex, but technological advancements mean the gap is closing. On, the The North Face Venture trousers feel good: not too baggy, with a simple cut, and a calf-length zip that makes it easier to get them on and off (though less so with big 4-season boots). Downsides include the fact there are no pockets; the simple elasticated waist is a simple it-fits-or-it-doesn’t affair; and there aren’t any extras such as crampon patches and extra articulation – so this is more a fast ’n’ light rain pant than a full-on alpine waterproof. But at this price, who cares?        

Sizes M’s S-XXL; short/reg/long leg; W’s S-XL; short/reg leg 

Fabric HyVent DT 2.5 layer

Functionality waterproof/breathable/windproof

Weight 210g (men’s M)

Pockets none

The North Face’s Venture trousers are best for those on a budget.

First published in Trail magazine October 2011