Introducing | Why The New North Face Ventrix Jacket Is Great for Ski Touring
We took The North Face's new Ventrix jacket ski touring in Chamonix and filmed it with a thermal camera
Ski touring is, let’s face it, a bit of a faff. It’s brilliant of course, it opens up near-infinite amounts of new terrain, and all but guarantees you fresh tracks. But it involves carrying a lot of gear, and a ton of extra layers that you’re constantly having to stop to put on or peel off in a futile attempt to control how hot you are.
Keeping your body temperature at a happy medium is, it seems, pretty much impossible. When you’re skinning up you’re almost always sweating, but when you stop to take your skins off or snap a photo, you cool down so quickly you’re practically hypothermic in a matter of minutes.
"We took the jacket ski touring in Chamonix and compared it with a normal jacket using a thermal imaging camera."
Which is why we’re so excited about the latest release from The North Face - the Ventrix Jacket.
What It Does
Essentially The North Face Ventrix Jacket helps you regulate your body temperature, keeping you cooler than a standard jacket while you’re moving and warmer when you’re standing still. The video above demonstrates this pretty well. We took the jacket ski touring in Chamonix and at various points in the day we compared it with a normal jacket using a thermal imaging camera.
We used the same athlete going through the same motions at the same points of the day and gave him cool off time between trying the different jackets. And while this wasn’t by any means a foolproof scientific test in a completely controlled environment (it’s hard to control the environment in the mountains) it gives you a pretty good idea of what the Ventrix Jacket is capable of.
How It Works
If a jacket that can help you regulate your temperature sounds terribly clever, that’s because it is. Indeed the tech in this won the Ventrix Jacket a coveted ISPO Gold Award at the massive industry gathering in January this year. At the same time however, the overarching concept is fairly simple. The North Face have taken their 80 gram synthetic stretch insulation and punched little perforations through it in key areas (like under the arms) that open as you move. This allows heat to escape more effectively and move away from your body more quickly, which stops you sweating.
The more you move, the wider and more regularly the micro-vents open and close and the more quickly heat escapes. Basically the jacket works when you do, so the more active you are, the more pronounced the cooling effect. Of course when you stop moving - to take your skins off at the top of a climb for example - the vents stay closed, trapping the maximum amount of heat and keeping you warm.
Why It Works
It’s not just the clever dynamic insulation that makes the Ventrix brilliant for ski touring. It’s a well thought out jacket all round. The exterior fabric is tough, breathable and has a water-resistant DWR coating, so you can wear this as an outer layer or under your waterproof shell depending on the conditions. The forearms, which are likely to come in for a fair bit of abrasion, are reinforced with a higher denier material too to make them tougher.
The pockets are easy to access and mounted high enough on the torso so they won’t get in the way of your backpack’s waist strap. The cuffs are elasticated, and there’s a choice of a hooded version (known as the Ventrix Hoody) or a conventional jacket, depending on your preference.
Really what makes this great though is the fact that it’ll keep your body as close to a comfortable temperature as possible when you’re touring. This means you can stay out longer without getting cold and tired, and you’ll spend far less time stopping and swapping layers. All this adds up to a whole lot less faffing, and a whole load more laps.