Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Smooth outer fabric, goggle wipe
Cons: Uninsulated hood, fabric wets out more than most
Best Uses: Resort skiing in warm, dry climates
The Spyder Sentinel jacket is your standard ski jacket. We tested a list of some of the best ski and snowboard jackets ever made. Among these the Sentinel stands out for its failure to make a splash in any category. However, as compared to the hundreds of ski jackets that we did not test, the Sentinel is certainly well-made and comes from a background of deep high-speed ski history. The jacket gives a comfortable and confidence inspiring first impression, but comes up short in our testing in weather resistance and insulating value. Styling is neutral, fit is fine for those with short arms, and the goggle wipe redeems some of the jackets shortcomings.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Spyder brings solid construction and inexpensive materials to this all-around, lightweight design.
The Spyder Sentinel ranked near the bottom of our tested jackets for warmth. Only the specialized, and Top Pick winning, Arc'teryx Modon insulated less than the Sentinel. However, the Sentinel was among the lightest in our test. Interestingly, the Sentinel and sibling the Spyder Titan both come equipped with manufacturer claimed "60g" insulation. The Titan jacket felt much warmer to us though.
The stretchy polyester shell fabric of the Sentinel feels more like lightweight softshell climbing pants than a dedicated foul-weather piece. Therefore it was surprising to find that it blocked the wind as well or better than the rest of the jackets in the test. Possibly this wind protection value comes from a sophisticated cut as much as from any sort of fabric technology. Indeed, when it came to water resistance in our sprinkler test, the soft feeling fabric soaked up more water than any other jacket in the group. This soak-through occurred even without the mechanical disturbance of our forearm rub test.
In such a lightly insulated jacket, ventilation isn't as important as in the more heavily insulated pieces like the Helly Hansen Enigma. Nonetheless, the Sentinel's short pit zips transferred less air than most of the other jackets in our test.
Interestingly, again as compared to the Spyder Titan, the Sentinel belies its budget roots. Spyder omitted from the Sentinel the pant-clips that it includes on the Titan. Surely the profit margin could allow for inclusion of this simple perk? However, Spyder does deliver the nicety of a goggle wipe in the chest pocket.
Fit and Comfort
The Sentinel jacket's shell fabric, as noted above, is soft and comfortable to deal with. The cut is close enough to keep the weather out, but sleeve length is on the short side. The hood is uninsulated and has fiddly adjustments. These drawcord adjustments, very similar to those on the Patagonia Primo Down, keep the cords out of the way and serve to cinch the hood tight, but do so in an overly complicated way. So complicated that goggle- and glove-clad testers couldn't tighten or loosen them unassisted.
Our testers found nothing particularly notable or offensive about the style of the Spyder Sentinel. It is a neutral jacket in classic ski style, from a brand associated with ski racing culture and history.
We recommend this jacket for the occasional, fair-weather skier that wants a jacket that will hold up for a long time.
The Sentinel is at the less-expensive end of our testing scale, but other jackets in the review offer better bang for those few bucks.
The Spyder Sentinel is a simple, clean jacket with simple, clean construction. It's weather protection is a bit limited, and the style is generic, but if you head to the bar in foul weather (and have a style "town jacket" to get you there), the Sentinel will take care of you on the slopes.
Spyder makes a plethora of jackets. Men's women's styles abound, but there is no specific women's version of the Sentinel. Another version for men is the Sentinel 100.
— Jediah Porter
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Most recent review: January 31, 2015
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