The Arc'teryx Kyanite AR is a high-performance piece of outerwear. The brushed fleece liner, athletic cut, and stretchy material used throughout make this fleece a pleasure to wear while climbing, skiing, or just hanging out. The design is simple but incredibly functional. With two zippered hand pockets and one internal zip pocket, it provides just the right amount of storage space without becoming bulky. The scuba-style hood is great for keeping the wind out, and the slim fit makes it easy to layer over. If you can afford the hefty price tag, you won't be disappointed with this high-quality fleece.Editor's Note: The Kyanite AR (an update from the previously tested Kyanite) was added to our fleet on August 26, 2022.
Arc'teryx Kyanite AR Hoody Review
Cons: No thumb loops
Compare to Similar Products
Arc'teryx Kyanite AR Hoody
Check Price at REI
$169.00 at REI
Check Price at REI
|$169 List||$119 List|
Check Price at REI
|Pros||Incredibly soft brushed fleece interior, athletic fit, incredibly comfortable||Cozy, athletic fit, breathable, lightweight||Breathable, lightweight, inexpensive, comfortable for athletics||Perfect fit for most active uses, ideal weight for many conditions, great hood design||Less "teched out" aesthetic, thumb loops, large chest pocket|
|Cons||No thumb loops||No thumb loops||Average weather resistance||Not as warm for its weight as some high-loft models||Heavy, not built for heavy movements|
|Bottom Line||An extremely comfortable and well-built fleece that’s ready to accompany you as far into the mountains||Patagonia made the classic R1 warmer and more comfortable with this versatile piece||Highly featured and even higher performing, this cost-effective option provides a hard-to-beat value||A perfect layering piece that regulates body temperature so well you'll leave it on from summit to sleeping bag and everywhere in between||This midweight fleece looks good enough to wear for apres ski drinks while offering enough performance to make it a worthy cool weather hiker|
|Rating Categories||Arc'teryx Kyanite A...||Patagonia R1 Air Fu...||Outdoor Research Vi...||Patagonia R1 Hoody||Kuhl Interceptr 1/4...|
|Layering Ability (15%)|
|Weather resistance (10%)|
|Specs||Arc'teryx Kyanite A...||Patagonia R1 Air Fu...||Outdoor Research Vi...||Patagonia R1 Hoody||Kuhl Interceptr 1/4...|
|Measured Weight||15 oz||12.5 oz||13 oz||11.4 oz||15.1 oz|
|Main Material||53% polyester, 38% nylon, 9% elastane||100% Polyester||94% polyester, 6% spandex||93% polyester, 7% spandex||Body: 78% acrylic, 22% polyester
Side panels: 70% acrylic, 30% polyester
|# of Pockets||2||3||3||1||1|
|Unique Features||Scuba hood, stretchy fabric||Slim-fit hood, quick drying||Thumb holes, UPF 30, 3-panel hood with binding||Balaclava hood, odor control, thumb holes||Thump loops, articulated sleeves, low bulk seam stiching|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Arc'teryx Kyanite is the cream of the crop when it comes to performance fleece wear. Warm, incredibly comfortable, and built to move, this fleece is ready for any cold-weather adventure you have in mind. The scuba-style hood fits comfortably under a helmet, while the stretchy wrist cuffs help keep out cold air. This jacket accommodates wide-set shoulders and doesn't obstruct your range of motion in the slightest. The simplicity of this fleece hides the quality of its manufacturing and it proved to be one of the best models we reviewed.
This fleece straddles the line between being a light and midweight fleece. Warmer and more wind resistant than micro grid fleeces, it makes a decent stand-alone option in moderately cold weather and adds substantial warmth if you're using it as a part of a layering system. The close fit and the coziness of the Polartec Power Stretch Pro lining make it feel warm. If you are looking to build out your cold-weather layering system for wintertime pursuits, this is an ideal choice.
Our testers found this jacket to be a little too warm to wear while on the go for spring ski tours but just right for wearing under a shell while sitting on the lift at the resort. Essentially, the jacket tended to be a bit warm for hard exercise but has an excellent weight-to-warmth ratio.
What separates this jacket from the pack is how comfortable it is. The brushed fleece liner feels great against bare skin, and the seams didn't rub or feel tight on the shoulders or under the armpits. Arcteryx's notable quality shined through with the piece and it proved to be one of the most comfortable fleeces in the review.
The Polartec Power Stretch Pro used throughout is incredibly stretchy and leaves you feeling unencumbered while on the move, even during sustained overhead movements like rock climbing. The fleece feels like a cozy blanket but one that's built with athleticism in mind.
The top of the front zipper is lined with a soft fabric, so when you're fully zipped, there is no unpleasant rubbing against your chin. The handwarmer pockets come with zippers that zip up to a streamlined fit against the body and don't rub while wearing a harness. The scuba-style hood fits snuggly against your head and doesn't droop down over the eyes.
The Kyanite AR is one of the most breathable midweight fleeces we reviewed. While it's not as breathable as some of the lightweight microgrid fleece options in our fleet, it does a good job considering how much warmth it provides. Air flowed well through the garment while walking in the cold of the Flatirons early in the morning and hanging out for post-climbing beers in the parking lot.
This wouldn't be our first choice to use as a jacket to go running, to do hard uphill hikes, or to do heavy cardio in, as it traps a bit more warmth than the other lighter models but it is breathable enough to wear while wintertime skiing and hiking.
With a slim but not skin-tight fit, this piece is the ideal cut to both layer over and under. The wearer has plenty of room to utilize a long sleeve base layer, and the slim fit makes putting an insulating layer and a shell over top a non-issue. The fleece moves well under other layers making it ideal for wearing with other larger jackets.
Our testers would have liked to see the inclusion of thumb loops in the wrist cuffs to make layering even easier. Having loops to hook your thumbs on keeps your sleeves from getting bunched up underneath other layers and helps keep the sleeve securely tucked into gloves when it's cold and windy out.
While the tight weave of the material does a moderate job of keeping out the wind, there is no waterproofing to speak of. The hood provides some protection in light rain but you'll need to immediately layer up if you encounter any precipitation.
The jacket is an ideal standalone piece for cold and dry environments, in early mornings or late evenings when there's no precipitation in the forecast, and generally makes a great layer to wear under a shell when it's wet and cold. But when the weather gets rough, it's best to have a heavier piece ready.
Our size medium weighs in at 15 ounces. While it's not the lightest fleece available, it does have one of the best weight-to-warmth ratios. It's packable enough for the backcountry or a long hike, but if you're after a fleece that's ultra-lightweight, you may want to look elsewhere. If you're after more warmth and wind resistance, the extra weight you'll be carrying will be well worth the trade-off.
The low-profile zippers, the close cut of the fleece, and the well-fitted hood create a streamlined jacket that provides a lot of comfort and is a great fit for its relative lightweight. For the features, this jacket felt airy on our testers.
Should You Buy the Kyanite AR?
Our testers had very few complaints about this jacket and found the comfort to be superb and the details refined. The quality of the product speaks for itself. Arc'teryx products are often priced well out of the range of many consumers, but we found this piece to offer a good value. While it's one of the most expensive fleeces we reviewed, it wasn't priced so extravagantly over our other top picks. We think for the extra money, you are getting a great product that will last a long time, remain stylish because of its simplicity, and will handle wear well.
What Other Fleece Jackets Should You Consider?
The Arc'teryx Kyanite AR is one of the most comfortable fleeces on the market. Its athletic cut makes it ideal for hiking, skiing, climbing, or any movement heavy activity, and it's the highest midweight performer in our fleet. If you are after a technical lightweight fleece, the Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody costs a little less and is an exceptional performer, while the Mountain Hardwear Stratus Full Zip will save you even more dollars.
— James Lucas and Buck Yedor
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