The Futurelight technology makes this one of our favorite jackets and a great pick for hiking in most weather.
Quick Review: The North Face Apex Flex jacket presents the cheapest opportunity for you to get the brand's Futurelight technology, and it pays off.
Pros: The Futurelight fabric is superb in almost all weather conditions. All of the seams are sealed and there's no visible stitching on the outside of the jacket. It's stretchy and comfortable.
Cons: It's heavier than some competing jackets. It will only hold up to steady, hard rain for a few hours.
We've taken the Apex Flex out for multiple hikes and found it to be the perfect jacket for those looking for something waterproof and strong in the snow.
Like we said above, this jacket uses The North Face’s Futurelight fabric. Upon a close look, you’ll notice every seam is sealed on this jacket. It’s actually difficult to find any visible stitching at all. The only places we could spot it were inside of the hem and hood sinch cord, sleeves, and the zipper for the internal chest pocket. And those were only visible from the inside. The attention to detail is excellent and that means we have some of the best sealing available to protect from heat loss, wind penetration. And it only works because of how breathable to the Futurelight fabric is.
We tried it on a cold weather hike with no rain and only a t-shirt on underneath. The jacket excelled in these conditions. We did feel moisture inside the jacket, but it was minimal and was coming from our body. The jacket dried out very quickly in these conditions. We really loved the breathability of the Futurelight in these conditions.
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The second time we tested it on a hike in very wet weather. It held up for a few hours but the water eventually soaked through. At this point it started to retain water and we definitely felt wet.
We loved this jacket in the snow, but wouldn’t recommend it for extended, very rainy hikes where the water sitting on the jacket is constant. It won’t hold up for more than a few hours in those conditions.
The Apex Flex Futurelight excels at breathability. You can immediately feels the difference between this jacket and the usual waterproof rain jacket. While you still feel some moisture inside from your body heat, it’s wicked away quickly and dries, as opposed to the sticky, moist feeling some waterproof jackets have on your skin.
Similar to the breathability, this jacket is strong in comfort because it doesn’t feel clammy on the inside. It also moves well and stretches quite a bit, so there’s not restriction to your movement.
The Apex Flex Futurelight jacket weighs in at 1 lb, 2 oz, making it heavier than a minimalist jacket, but not so heavy that it affects mobility. If you want something lighter, you can go with an ultralight jacket, but it won’t have the weather protection of the Apex Flex. This is heavier than many similar jackets, but not heavy.
Under some light abrasion testing, the jacket held up well. The slightly heavier weight means the fabric is slightly stronger than ultralight jackets. We’ve used it for multiple long hikes in all conditions and have yet to notice any damage or wear.
Especially when compared to The North Face’s Brigandine at $750, the Apex Flex looks like a steal if you don’t need the Brigandine’s extra features. You’re still getting the Futurelight technology and an excellent overall coat.
Thanks largely to the Futurelight technology, The North Face Apex Flex jacket is excellent. It is superb in snow and light rain, but won’t hold up for several hours in constant, heavy rain. The attention to detail is strong and the value is great.