Jackets and outer shells are something I've previously cut corners on and I often purchase a lower end of the market jacket for when venturing out on my trips - sadly I know this often leads to that particular jacket failing during those exceptionally damp and windy days.
I've wanted a GORE-TEX waterproof jacket for a very long time, and now I finally own one. Was this jacket the right choice for my needs?
Below is my honest opinion after 3 weeks of wearing The North Face Apex Flex Shell GORE-TEX waterproof jacket.
Would I recommend this jacket?
Honestly, I wished I owned this particular jacket years ago while undertaking previous expeditions and trips, it's just simply perfect, especially for someone who's 6ft3 with long limbs. From the first moments of getting my hands on the Apex Flex I could instantly feel the high quality finish of the material, without even trying it on and getting it wet it just felt reliable.
In the last 3 weeks I've placed myself outside in the more slightly miserable weather with the intention of finding some potential faults to moan about, but during my personal discovery of The North Face Apex Flex shell jacket I've found it to be a very comforting and successful one.
During a recent long weekend away in North Wales I experienced heavy rain and wintry howling winds, I've never felt so protected from the elements while wearing a jacket. The long sleeves, flexible movement and fitting shape all worked well together while hiking through the Welsh hills. I felt reassured that my valuables were safe in it's three substantial pockets due to it's toughened waterproof zippers.... and it has armpit vents, I've never had this experience. I've often been jealous of Kelly's armpit vents while cycling on the cooler days. It’s easy to look back at many points of my life and wished I had this jacket on - especially during the back to back thunder and heavy rain storms while cycling across Canada and the USA in 2015.
And I can't’ forget to mention its durability, which was put to its test when attempting to climb through a tight tunnel/cave in a slate quarry. The group of people who I was with went through the slender, but welcoming hole first with ease. I nearly didn’t follow the group because I was slightly worried I would snag the jacket on the old rust pins and jagged edges of its entrance, but then I’m here to put this jacket through its worst I can find. I slowly placed one foot down the hole, and then my leg followed with some adjustment wiggles [the others made it look easy]. I was soon chest deep into the hole with the Apex jacket rubbing and catching on the weathered slate. Then I was stuck, I couldn’t go any further. Being 6ft3 meant I couldn't adjust and bend around the tight hole. I felt slightly embarrassed as I wiggled back out, but the jacket was 100% fine, no scratches, rips or pulls in the material... unlike my trousers.
Should you buy this jacket?
From my personal experience with the Apex Flex I’m going to say an easy YES, but please do your own research first to make sure it's the right jacket for your particular needs.
What excites me more about this jacket is the future journeys we will have together and it's not that often I get too excited about clothing. My near future trips back to Canada will be its biggest test for comfort range, but I have a great feeling it won't let me down.
It will also be one of the first things I pack for 2018 journeys through Europe. I have a good feeling it will also be my go too jacket while bicycle touring.
Value for money: 4.5/5
This post has been commissioned in partnership with Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports