The Arc'teryx Incendo Hoody running jacket is akin to a cowboy's trusty colt revolver. No matter what situation you might get into out on a run in the mountains, the Incendo is going to keep you in the fight. We threw drizzle, wind, and cold from the outside at this jacket, as well as perspiration and heat from the inside. There are definitely specialty jackets on the market that handle one area better than most, but the glory of the Incendo is its balance between shielding you from the elements while remaining breathable.
Arc'teryx Incendo Hoody Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, packs into pocket, superior weather resistance
Cons: A bit pricey
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Our Analysis and Test Results
For the better part of three years, we have tested the Incendo in all of its variations. The 2020 iteration is the most effective yet. We have consistently given this jacket high ratings for its surprising balance of desireable attributes such as weather resistance, comfort, breathability, and lightness.
The earliest Incendo we tested was quite impressive for the time with breathable mesh under each arm. This newest version has truly massive breathable gusseted mesh panels that run from mid-forearm and wrap up and under, all the way to the waistline. These panels are probably three or four times the surface area of the original Incendo, which still had pretty good breathability. The mixture of lightweight DWR coated material and large mesh panels produces a highly breathable running layer.
To illustrate the level of breathability of the Incendo, we could complete a 30 minute set of intervals without adjusting the jacket at all. No unzipping to create more venting, no manual flapping the jacket like a superhero cape, nothing. We just went out, pushed hard, and didn't have to fuss. Brilliant! On slightly warmer days, we could unzip and utilize the single plastic snap mid-chest that allows the jacket to be unzipped but remain in place, flap free.
Like all of the competitors we tested, the Incendo is treated with a DWR water repellant. In past years it ranked right up at the top of running jacket performance for weather resistance. While we still feel this jacket strikes an excellent balance, it is outgunned by some of the Gore-Tex laden offerings on the market today. The Incendo rounds out the Arc'teryx line of jackets by offering some weather resistance coupled with an ultra-lightweight and a high level of breathability. Seeking a higher level of weather resistance requires either sacrificing breathability or a huge weight penalty when considering thicker soft-shells.
Considering the Incendo isn't a rain jacket, it sheds light precip, like dew from plants as you brush past during early morning, and wind, excellently. Persistent rain will absolutely penetrate, as it did with every jacket we tested except for those with Gore-Tex. Where the Incendo excels is in finding a balance between all of the desirable attributes one wants in a running layer. Weather resistance, while not the greatest, is effective in its purpose.
Comfort and Mobility
Year after year, Arc'teryx dishes out running layers that display an ultra-high level of attention to detail. The seam layouts, strategically placed gussets, zipper liners, and materials have been consistently at the top of the game. The newest Incendo is no exception to this trend. When out for a jog, it stays in place without any noticeable hiking up around the waist. The back is cut with a bit of extra fabric to ensure the jacket stays in place and doesn't expose your plumbers crack. Generous sleeve lengths and offset wrist cuffs work well at keeping everything covered up even when hopping on a bicycle and with outstretched arms.
The Incendo truly is a trim fit, and without stretch fabric, it is critical to get the proper size to fully enjoy the stellar comfort. Arc'teryx has gone a long way to ensure this jacket fits properly, stays where it should be while you are moving, and doesn't create any uncomfortable wear points where it could contact your skin. An internal elastic drawstring around the waist adds some extra comfort and wind resistance. When the wind kicks up, you can tug the drawstring with one hand and cinch it around your waist easily while moving. Loosening requires a bit more attention (and two hands) but is also quite painless. Overall, this jacket provides excellent comfort and mobility without being too baggy or too snug.
At just under five ounces, the Incendo offers a ton of jacket for a tiny weight penalty. Not only does it pack up and easily stow in your running pack, it also deploys easily and doesn't require a ton of effort to get it back into its stow pouch. Some jackets do offer a smaller packed size, but often this is achieved through sheer brut force and having to develop some serious finger strength.
The stow pouch for the Incendo cleverly doubles as a media pouch too. And, for those who are still living in 1997, there is even a reinforced hole to feed cabled headphones through. For those living in the 21st century, with Bluetooth earphones, welcome to the future, you have a hole in your pocket for no reason. Overall, the portability features of the Incendo are top-notch and display as much attention to detail as the rest of the jacket — which is saying a lot.
The Incendo is one of the top scorers in nighttime visibility. Reflective blazings on each forearm, flanks, chest, and back give decent visibility from any angle. While the black color scheme we tested isn't ideal for daytime visibility, there is a super-high vis option also available.
Supposing we tested a brighter version of this jacket, it likely would have been the top-scoring jacket in both day and night visibility considering the generous application of reflective markings and the generally dull color schemes offered by other jackets this year.
Even at full retail, the price of the Incendo is a great value. If one considers the fact that the most expensive jacket in our review is the better part of three times the cost of this one, the value is just that much more apparent. If you're on the hunt for a "jacket" of all trades option, the Incendo is an absolutely great choice. While there are options with more weather protection or higher breathability, the Incendo finds a balance between all of these attributes which is what boosts its rankings and makes it such a high-value piece.
Ever since we tested the first version of this jacket we have been throwing awards at it. The Incendo performs well in so many categories it is hard to find a reason not to give it the Editors' Choice Award once again. This jacket is so functional that, even if you're unsure on a running jacket, one run in this one will show you what you have been missing. Overall we found running in uncertain weather conditions, cooler mornings, and high output activities all significantly more comfortable with the Incendo shielding us.
— Brian Martin