Arc'teryx Incendo Hoody Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, good breathability, packs into pocket
Cons: Not the most weather resistant
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Throughout the last few years, we have tested the Arc'teryx Incendo as its design has evolved, and the 2020 iteration is the most impressive yet. We have consistently given this jacket high ratings for its surprising lightweight balance of weather resistance, comfort, and breathability. For such a well-made and high-performing jacket, it also comes at a price point that is much more accessible for most users than other high-end jackets.
The Incendo stands out as one of the most breathable models in our lineup with its truly massive gusseted mesh panels that run all the way from the forearm up to the armpit and all the way back down to the waistline. The lightweight perforated material does a great job of releasing heat in the areas where you need it most. The main body material of the Incendo also provides a good amount of air permeability, making this one of the most breathable running jackets in our lineup.
During many of our cool weather testing runs, we could complete a 30-minute hard effort while wearing the Incendo without having to adjust the jacket at all. When the temperature goes up a few notches, you can unzip the zipper and utilize the single plastic snap in the middle of the chest in order to open the jacket for ventilation but keep it securely in place without flapping around. This design, along with the breathable mesh panels, combine to make one of the most breathable jackets that we tested.
Like most of the competitors that we tested, the Incendo is treated with a Durable Water Repellant (DWR) coating, providing a light film that prevents water from penetrating the material of the jacket. While this treatment helps maintain an excellent level of breathability with some increased weather resistance, it is definitely outgunned by some of the fully waterproof GORE-TEX laden offerings on the market today.
Considering that the Incendo isn't a traditional rain jacket, it does a great job of shedding wind, light rain, and moisture, like dew from plants as you brush past during the early morning. Persistent rain will eventually penetrate the material, as it did with most jackets that we tested except for those with fully waterproof membranes built into the material. The Incendo excels by striking an ideal balance between weather resistance, lightweight construction, and a high level of breathability. While there are other products that provide a higher level of weather protection, they typically come with other tradeoffs like reduced breathability or increased weight.
Comfort and Mobility
Year after year, Arc'teryx consistently creates all kinds of garments that display a high level of attention to detail. The materials, seam layouts, strategically placed gussets, and zipper liners are of consistently high quality, and the Incendo is no exception to this trend. When on the go, it comfortably stays in place without any noticeable movement around the waist, arms, or shoulders, and the back of the jacket is cut slightly longer than the front to ensure that it keeps you covered during dynamic movements. Generous sleeve lengths and offset wrist cuffs work well at keeping everything covered up even with outstretched arms when running, hiking, biking, or climbing.
Like many Arc'teryx products, the Incendo has a tailored performance fit, and without any stretch fabric, it is critical to get the proper size to fully enjoy the stellar comfort. The jacket moves with your body as you move, without being too tight or wasting any material. An internal elastic drawstring around the waist helps dial in an optimal fit. When the wind kicks up, you can tug the drawstring with one hand and easily cinch it around your waist to tighten it, even when on the move. Loosening the cinch requires a little 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 a measured 4.6 ounces in a men's size medium, the Incendo offers a ton of jacket at a tiny weight. Not only is it among the lightest jackets in our lineup, but it also can be stuffed into its own side pocket for easy storage.
The Incendo packs down small and doesn't require a ton of effort to get it into or out of the stuff pocket. 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 Incendo's stuff pocket also has convenient double-zippers for easy access and includes a small mesh pocket and a hanging loop to clip to a pack.
The stuff sack on the Incendo cleverly doubles as a media pouch with an access port for those old-school rockers who run with wired headphones. It also has the previously mentioned cinch cord adjustment around the waist, the chest snap to allow unzipped ventilation, and one of the best breathable mesh panel designs in our lineup.
The hood does a good job of keeping out the elements with its fitted size and small brim reinforcement, but it is notably missing a cinch cord or some type of adjustability. Even with its smaller size, we've found that most hoods tend to wiggle free while running, and the ability to tighten it down for a customized fit is always appreciated. On clear days when the hood isn't needed, it can conveniently be rolled up and snapped onto the collar for a more streamlined fit with less material bouncing around. Reflective blazings on each forearm, flanks, chest, and back also give the Incendo decent nighttime visibility from any angle.
If you're on the hunt for a "jacket" of all trades with solid all-around performance, the Incendo is a great choice. While there are options with better weather protection or higher breathability, this jacket finds a balance between all of these attributes, offering superb value even at full retail price. The Incendo would be a likely Best Buy contender if it weren't already a top performer and Editors' Choice Award winner.
With no major weaknesses, the Incendo performs well in so many categories that it's a no-brainer to give it our Editors' Choice Award once again. Overall, we found that running or performing any other high-output activities through any type of uncertain weather conditions were all significantly more comfortable with the Incendo on our back.
— Nick Bruckbauer & Brian Martin