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October 2017 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Softshels

The North Face Apex Flex

The North Face Apex Flex.

Price:

$500

Our Rating:

The Apex Flex is a heavy duty, hard-wearing softshell rain jacket with a tailored cut.

The Gore-Tex stretch woven polyester-elastane exterior provides unimpeded mobility without any excess material around the sleeves that non-stretch rainwear often has. The soft knit interior adds warmth and feels pleasant against bare skin, even during exertion, when you’re  building up a sweat. It’s a distinct advantage over often clammy-feeling hardshell fabrics.

The active cut is conformable and adds style. There’s enough room to wear a couple of warm layers, but it feels constricted when you’re wearing a thicker insulated layer.

The adjustable hood fits snugly and provides good protection in downpours.

All zips are seam-sealed and run smoothly. The main zip can be a little stiff, but is otherwise sturdy and is backed by a full-length baffle which shields the face from zipper abrasion. Underarm zips provide ventilation – much needed with such a warm jacket. The two handwarmer pockets are large enough for a book or a pair of mittens, depending on circumstances, and the discreet chest pocket has an outer baffle for extra wet weather protection.

Water beads off the outer, regardless of how heavy the downpour, and after several weeks of regular use, it still looked like new. Durable and tough, the jacket consequently weighs 680g (w: 409g).

This is on the heavy side for a tramping jacket, but if you’re looking for an all-rounder for snow-sports, winter tramping and wet days in town, it’s a solid choice.

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