The North Face Apex Flex GTX Rain Jacket Review

Updated: March 22, 2023

The North Face Apex Flex GTX is a very versatile rain jacket.

Designed for hiking, the jacket has excellent water and wind resistance properties. While it's heavier than typical rain jackets, it offers extra warmth and comfort with its soft-knit interior, as well as decent breathability.

One of the main features we like are the pit zips, which help to get rid of excess body heat during strenuous activities. It also has a sleek and attractive design and fits over one's clothes easily without being baggy.

This rain jacket is perfect for casual outdoor expeditions and everyday wear. It'll keep you warm, dry and comfortable in the worst weather conditions.

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North Face Apex Flex GTX

Manufacturer: The North Face


  • Premium waterproofing and wind protection, excellent at keeping you warm and dry (built incredibly well)
  • Super soft and comfortable interior knit lining
  • Subtle branding and modern design mean you can wear it as a part of your everyday look
  • Substantial pit zips make it easy for you to cool down
  • The fit allows for layering, adding to warmth
  • Velcro cuffs at the wrists allow you to securely customize the fit and tightness
  • Great flexibility of the material


  • A bit bulky and heavy
  • The thickness of the jacket means it is moderately breathable
  • Not ideal in warm climates, more suited for chilly to moderate weather
  • The arms are a little bit too long, but the Velcro cuffs allow you to customize the fit with a little bunching


The North Face Apex Flex GTX provides excellent protection from the elements with its layered Gore-Tex fabric and Durable Waterproof Repellent (DWR) finish. It doesn't quite fit into any rain jacket category as it has more of a softshell design, while being very durable and thick.

It'll keep you completely dry and safe in stormy weather and provides good breathability so you don't end up feeling clammy and cold. It's stretch-woven outer-layer allows for excellent range of movement, while its soft inside keeps you comfortable.

The Apex Flex is thicker and heavier than most rain jackets so takes up much more space in your bag when you're not wearing it. So while it wouldn't be the ideal choice for a lengthy or hardcore outdoor mission, but is perfectly suitable for everyday winter use and for more casual outdoor activities.

This jacket offers more than a simple rain jacket would, as its soft interior layer provides a bit extra warmth and comfort, in addition to keeping you dry.

The design of the Apex Flex GTX is streamlined and trim. It doesn't look like a typical rain jacket, and therefore makes it more attractive for everyday use. It's quiet, stretchy fabric and understated design is less conspicuous than other rain jackets, so it's perfect to throw on over your clothes as you commute to and from work or run errands.

The jacket includes many useful features to ensure maximum comfort and protection. It has pit zips, which help to expel excess body heat so you won't overheat during high-energy activities or get cold and clammy as moisture from perspiration evaporates off your skin. It has an adjustable hood and hems so that you can alter it to fit your body comfortably.

This rain jacket is premium quality and has excellent durability so you will be able to utilize it for many outdoor adventures. While this jacket is an excellent choice for protection from the weather, it may be slightly too thick and heavy to use comfortably in warmer temperatures.

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Key Takeaway

Finding the correct rain jacket for hiking and adventures at altitude for your needs and budget can be a tricky task and sifting through the troves of reviews can be time consuming and confusing. To make things easier, check out our expert review on the five best rain jackets for hiking here. 

This jacket is not ideal for very long backcountry hikes (over a week), as it is a bit heavy and bulky and difficult to store.

The Apex Flex jacket is however perfect for light adventuring and everyday wear and can guarantee to keep you dry no matter what the weather conditions due to the 3-layer Gore-Tex build which provides outstanding waterproofing and the softshell exterior which protects you from windy conditions. 

If you’re looking for a great everyday jacket suitable for short hikes, this jacket is for you. 

Key Features 

Water Resistance

With 3-layer Gore-Tex and DWR finish, the Apex Flex GTX is totally waterproof and offers excellent protection from wind as well. You can feel confident in remaining bone dry underneath this jacket as you brave stormy weather. It's premium quality material along with the waterproof coating, makes this the ideal jacket to throw on if you're going out on a cold, rainy day. The Apex Flex GTX is well designed and will serve you well in all your expeditions.

The extra bulk of this jacket results in good wind resistance. So while protecting you from the rain, it'll also keep out chilly gusts of wind, which can make a big difference as you explore the outdoors on a cold day. The Apex Flex GTX provides some light insulation to keep you warm and protected from unfavorable weather conditions.

Durability and Fabric

The Apex Flex GTX is a premium quality rain jacket with impressive durability. The jacket will hold up well as you travel through various environments and last you a long time. Its great value for money as it is made to last and extra effort has gone into ensuring all the features are functional and efficient.

The exterior fabric has some stretch, which allows you to move freely and easily and enjoy some more rigorous activities while wearing the Apex Flex GTX. While the material is flexible and stretchy, it is also very durable and can go through quite a beating and come out unscathed.

Made with 3-layer Gore-Tex and a stretch-woven exterior, the Apex Flex GTX is labelled as a softshell, whereas most rain jackets are classified as hardshell jackets. The jacket incorporates a soft-knit interior as well. The fabric used is of superior quality and ensures you will get a lot if use out this rain jacket.

Breathability and Warmth 

Despite the thickness of the fabric, the Apex Flex GTX offers good breathability. It may run slightly on the warmer side as you work up a sweat, but the pit zips allow for good ventilation and is a good way to get rid of excess body heat from within the jacket. The jacket would be suitable for casual outdoor activities in cold weather.

While rain jackets are designed to protect you from the elements, they rarely provide you with extra warmth. However, the combination of its soft-knit interior, sturdy build and wind resistance work well to keep you warm. This is why this rain jacket is perfect for everyday wear in cold weather conditions.

Comfort and Weight

The Apex Flex GTX features a stretch-woven material that allows for an unrestricted range of motion. The interior fabric is also soft and comfortable so you can wear the jacket for hours on end without feeling the need to take it off. The material is also very quiet for a rain jacket, and makes the Apex Flex GTX perfect to throw on for any occasion.

While the thickness and build of the jacket is very comfortable, it also makes the Apex Flex GTX much heavier than other rain jackets with a weight of 765g (27oz). So it wouldn't be the ideal rain jacket choice if you're planning a lengthy expedition where you need a jacket that will fold up neatly into a small space and not add extra weight.


This rain jacket has an 'active' fit and is capable of allowing you to layer under the jacket for extra warmth in colder conditions, this can however make the size run slightly large when just wearing a base layer. This option makes the jacket versatile as it allows for use in colder conditions.


The North Face Apex Flex GTX rain jacket features a large helmet compatible hood to ensure even greater protection from the rain. The hood has both front and back cinches, the back cinch secures the hood around the sides of the head. The hood has a significant bill which provides extensive coverage for your face. The hood is also easy to button down to protect you in the wind and rain.

Pit Zips

Because of the extra warmth and lack of breathability of the jacket, you can easily get too hot when wearing it on a hike where you are exerting energy. The jacket accommodates this by providing pit zips, which are perfect for dumping heat quickly when you’re on the move and do not want to take your jacket off to cool down.

Storage and Pockets

The Apex Flex has three pockets. There are two generous hand pockets and one chest pocket which allows you to safely store your valuables, such as your mobile phone.

About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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