Gear Review - The North Face Apex Flex GTX Jacket
So you're in the market for a new rain coat?
The North Face has recently released the Apex flex GTX Jacket, claimed to be fully waterproof whilst claiming the comforts of your favourite hoodie! We've put this statement to the test and trialled this jacket in both Australia and UK.
At $450 I've given my review on what you get for you money.
1. Waterproof, hooded soft shell rain jacket
Waterproof it is! We wore this jacket in drizzle, damp camp settings and pouring Welsh rain and not a drop of rain got through. Even if you pore a glass of water on it, water simply rolls off it and leaves no trace.
This is a comfortable jacket to wear, but like a pair of new shoes, I felt like I had to break it in. I'm glad I didn't write the review after its first few outings ; I felt it was very stiff, particularly around the arms. However the more it was worn, stuffed in my day bag, drenched and dried it loosened up and became a very comfortable and an easy-to-wear jacket.
2. Weatherproof Gore-Tex® 3L shell with a soft, woven face and knit backer
In English you ask? I thought the same! Basically what this means is the jacket is made up of 3 layers, which is meant to make the jacket waterproof, windproof and breathable. The best part of this 3 layer marriage is the inside layer; which is very soft, making it easy to get on and off whilst wearing other layers and it doesn't stick to your skin when worn on its own on warmer days.
Although a weather-all rounder, this jacket is heavy in comparison to others on the market and not something I'd recommend carrying on overnight hike, to further that, due to the durable hem lining it doesn't roll up too easy to stuff in to your pack either.
3. Adjustable hood
This feature to some may not be a big deal, but if you have a tiny head like I do, then take note! It can be frustrating when you need to wear your hood up and you spend most of the time pointing your head up just so you can see where you're going. This feature is particularly handy when you have sideways rain coming towards you (common in Wales) and it stops your neck and back getting wet.
4. Velcro® adjustable cuffs
Some people love them, some hate them. I'd wear this jacket in all seasons, the velcro cuffs are a great way to wear the jacket over layers during winter and suffice as a thin sleeve in Spring. If you're wearing gloves or a jumper underneath this jacket, you can alter the space around your arms easily by adjusting the velcro to achieve the desired fit. This feature can make the jacket more comfortable for different body shapes and sizes. The elasticated wristbands can too be tightened or loosened to suit your requirements.
5. Pit-zip venting
Need I say anything more about that perfect zip from your armpit to your torso? Thank God someone invented it! We all know that feeling where you take your jacket off because you're too hot, then 100m later you're too cold and then you realise you have that zip and.. boom! You've hit perfect temperature!
Some other features of the jacket include:
Available in an array of colours
Slight drop-tail hem for added coverage
Cinch-cord at hem
Waterproof polyurethane (PU) front zipper
So to summarise our review on this jacket....
What we didn't totally love
The jacket is heavier than others on the market
It's rigid in structure
It doesn't fold up particularly small, but only an issue if space is a problem and you're overnight hiking/bike packing etc.
What we loved about it
Totally waterproof, we'd trust it in a storm
Love the soft inside lining
The jacket is hardwearing, I doubt I'll look to replace this jacket in years to come!