The North Face Ventrix Hoodie $420
Used by: Editor Alistair Hall
Used for: Seven months
I’ve practically lived in this 380g insulated jacket for the past seven months and even nearing the end of October, I found myself wearing it at my desk all day. And that’s exactly as TNF would have it – the jacket is designed to never be taken off.
It has 60g of polyester stretch insulation lined with a perforated fabric which provides ‘dynamic venting’. During activity, the perforations open to increase breathability, but when you’re idle the perforations relax into an overlapping position to trap warm air against the body.
Besides wearing it daily on my commute and at the office, I have used it on a mid-winter trip to Tongariro National Park and while backcountry skiing in America. Temperatures dipped to below zero on both trips, but because I wore extra layers beneath and on top, I was always warm. There’s a decent amount of stretch to ensure any extra layers didn’t feel restrictive. That restriction-free movement extends to the helmet-compatible hood, which is huge – so huge you need to tighten it if it’s to be practically worn without a helmet.
I did find it too hot on my early morning winter bushwalks in Auckland, where temperatures were in the single digits. In those instances, I unzipped it to cool down.
I’ve worn it for around 200 days this year and there’s not so much as a loose stitch to show for all that. The cuffs and chin guard are looking a bit grubby, but that’s because I haven’t washed it yet.
Verdict: An insulated jacket for those who need something while on the move.