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Hands-on Gear Review
Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody - Women's Review
Cons: Velcro cuff tabs get snagged, no hand pockets, expensive.
Our testers loved the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody - Women's. It rated second only to the Patagonia Houdini - Women's in our tests and we've given it our Top Pick for Alpine Climbing award. With its stretchy athletic fit, this jacket flexes in style with every hand jam, post hole and talus hop. Articulated elbows and gusseted underarms keep it from flapping in the wind while still allowing you to move over terrain with ease. The fabric is a stretchy Gossamera nylon ripstop with DWR treatment that keeps the drizzle out but your self-generated moisture breathing. Unlike most of the other models we reviewed, this jacket feels like it provides a little warmth as well, making it perfect for your next adventure in the high alpine. This jacket is soft to the touch and comfortable against your skin, but also abrasion and wind resistant. It's roomy enough to be part of a layering system but compressible and not bulky when you're not layered up. It also stows in its own chest pocket and has a convenient loop to clip it to a climbing harness or backpack. We did prefer the higher level of water resistance provided by the Patagonia Houdini, our Editors' Choice winner, but otherwise these two models were neck and neck in our tests. If you are looking for a wind breaker jacket that provides an extra bit of warmth for your next bike ride, hike, or 14,000 foot climb, the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody - Women's is a great way to go.
RELATED: Our complete review of wind jackets - women's
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody - Women's weighs 4.9 ounces (140 g) and is made with a 30 denier nylon ripstop with DWR treatment. It has an adjustable hood, drawstring hem, and Velcro cuffs. It has one pocket (chest) that it packs into and comes in six different colors.
This jacket rated high for wind resistance in our tests. Though we felt more air passing through this material than the Patagonia Houdini, The North Face Cyclone Hoodie - Women's and the Sierra Designs Microlight 2 - Women's, the extras on this model actually outweigh this slight difference and make it more wind resistant overall. The Velcro cuffs, drawstring drop back hem, adjustable hood and almost imperceptible draft flap behind the zipper help to defy the wind. This jacket also does a great job of finding the balance between wind resistance and breathability; you want a wind breaker to be resistant enough to keep you warm, but also breathable enough to keep you from feeling clammy. We also loved the feel of the Gossamera fabric — it is soft, comfortable and warm even with only minimal layers underneath.
The Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody - Women's breathes well and regulates temperature without compromising warmth. You can feel confident layering up underneath this jacket without moisture building up inside, and the compressible fabric makes it compact when stuffed into its chest pocket for stowing. The adjustable Velcro cuffs and drawstring hem allow you to customize its breathability, but its best feature is the non-locking zipper which allows you to unzip in a crux move or on a bike when you don't have two hands to pull the zipper. Grab the fabric on the side of the zipper, pull gently and voila!
During our water tests, the DWR coating on this jacket did bead moisture well, but it held it a little longer than the Patagonia Houdini. The good news is that if this wind breaker does happen to get sopping wet, it is quick to dry. While none of the jackets that we tested were completely waterproof, if you are concerned about getting caught in a storm in your wind breaker then you'll be better off with the Patagonia Houdini, which had the best water resistance of all the models we tested.
The Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody - Women's is one of the lightest models that we tested and weighs the same as the The North Face Cyclone Hoodie. At only 4.9 ounces (140 g), you don't have to think twice about taking it with you when you are unsure about the weather. It stuffs into its chest pocket and has a clipable loop to attach to your harness. The Patagonia Houdini is slightly lighter (3.6 ounces) and smaller, so if ultralight is your mission then we'd go with that model instead.
This wind breaker packs in the versatile options while remaining lightweight. The anatomical gussets make it roomy enough for layering when it gets cold and the visor hood fits comfortably over a bike or climbing helmet. When not wearing a helmet, the drawstring system on the hood allows you to customize it to fit your head without obstructing your peripheral view. We also liked the soft brim visor on the hood and soft fleece lining around the nose/mouth area, which wicks away any kind of condensation or nose drip. The drop back hem makes this jacket a good choice for cyclists, as it provides maximum coverage in the rear. The cinch tab for the hem is in the rear so it is not uncomfortable under a climbing harness or pack hip belt.
The Gossamera fabric is stretchy and moves with you in any situation and the sleeves are long enough for long-armed ladies. The non-locking YKK zipper is handy, smooth and includes a perfectly sized draft flap that does not get caught or let you down when the storm is approaching. The reflective logo makes this jacket easy to find or for someone to find you in the dark. And we love how small the jacket compresses into the chest pocket, making it easy to throw in the lid of a daypack or clip onto your climbing harness.
The one feature that somewhat limits this jacket's versatility is the vertical chest pocket. This is the only pocket on the garment and we have mixed feelings about it. We like it because it is easily accessible and roomy enough to fit a smartphone, climbing topo or small camera, without weighing down too much on the chest material. But if you like toting around more stuff, the limited storage capacity is not big enough for a larger smartphone, or for carrying multiple items like a phone, energy bar and keys. The lack of hand pockets is nice when you are wearing this jacket under a pack or harness, but then there's nowhere to put your hands when the wind is blowing. If you prefer to have hand pockets, then the Marmot Stride - Women's or The North Face Flyweight Hoodie - Women's are better options.
The Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody - Women's is made of a Gossamera ripstop nylon and is abrasion resistant. We wore this jacket on many sharp granite climbs and hikes without any blowouts in the material. The Velcro tabs at the cuffs are heavy duty, though they did tend to catch and snag on rocks and vegetation.
This jacket is great for just about everything with high wind potential, particularly in a cooler environment. Sailing, winter running, backcountry spring skiing, cycling, bouldering, traveling, you name it. We've specifically given it our Top Pick for Alpine Climbing award, because we find in that application we like to have a bit more warmth from our wind breaker, and this model delivers that.
At $149, the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody - Women's is the thoroughbred of wind breakers. Though it comes with a lofty price tag, this jacket exceeds the features provided by some of the other models we reviewed. The fully adjustable hood alone is worth a second and third look, and the drop back hem is sure to please the cyclists out there. The soft Gossamera fabric not only feels soft next to the skin but breathes and stretches with every move. The manufacturer also claims to guarantee the quality and performance of their products, stating that "Defects in materials or workmanship are covered for the practical lifetime of the product. Material refers to zippers, buckles and fabrics."
The Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody - Women's wind breaker jacket comfortably moves with the hard core outdoor adventurer when shifting weather conditions are part of the game. The well-thought-out, yet simple, craftsmanship becomes evident when wearing this superior garment. With a women's specific athletic fit, it is a good looking jacket that is smart and functional in almost any outdoor endeavor that requires a formidable shield against Mother Nature when she is not in the mood. However, we particularly appreciated all the bells and whistles on this model when climbing in the High Sierras and as such have given it our Top Pick for Alpine Climbing award. Derby winning thoroughbreds are pricey and so is the Squamish, but when you're off suffering through gusting winds at a shaded belay you'll be glad you paid the price.
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— Jean Tucky
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: May 6, 2015
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