The Incendo Hoody vs. the Incendo Jacket
Arc'teryx now exclusively produces the hoody version of the Incendo. It features an updated silhouette, more mesh panels under the arms, and a small snap at the chest so you can leave the jacket unzipped for extra airflow, but still have it held in place. The hoody version retails for $139, $20 more than the jacket version we reviewed. See the hoody on the left and the jacket version on the right:
As we haven't gotten our sweat on in this new version yet, the rest of the review pertains to the jacket version of the Incendo.
Hands-On Review of the Incendo Jacket
After running around Salt Lake City and through the surrounding foothills for a few months, we came to regard the Incendo as Old Faithful. A fantastic jacket that we could rely on to perform all situations. The cold and cloudy mornings were no match for the Incendo. We could pop our iPhone 6 in the adequately sized, weather resistant, media pocket, shrug off the inclement weather, and enjoy our run. If you're looking for a running jacket that has more of an eye to weather protection while retaining breathability this is your horse which is why we have selected it as the top pick for backcountry and trail running. That's not to say it isn't an excellent urban running jacket. With its bright color options and excellent low light reflectivity it does make a great city running jacket, however, you do sacrifice some breathability compared to the OR Boost.
The Incendo's breathability and weather protection had us practically floating down the trails.
We think the most impressive thing about the Incendo is how remarkably breathable it is, considering it only uses one fabric throughout the entire body of the jacket with small patches of polyester mesh under each arm. These mesh vents go a long way to dissipate heat and excess moisture.
We were surprised with how far we could push ourselves before it was mandatory to unzip the jacket to provide more venting than the built-in underarm mesh. The only times when the Outdoor Research Boost outperformed the Incendo, breathability wise, was on prolonged uphill stretches where our heart rate was elevated past our aerobic threshold.
As we ran through the city streets and onto the Shoreline Trail System the Incendo transitioned from environments perfectly, providing visibility and heat retention in the cold low light morning, and breathability when the sun started to rise and the hills started to challenge us.
We felt that the Incendo's venting and breathability was adequate for our more mellow city runs that didn't include a surplus of hills. If you are going to be running in a primarily hilly environment where your heart rate is constantly getting close to the red line, this jacket will be pushed to its limit of breathability and you will notice a buildup of moisture especially in the forearms.
The Incendo had excellent ventilation while retaining a high level of weather resistance.
Like all of the competitors we tested, the Incendo was treated with a DWR water repellant. During our original testing before taking it out in the real world it performed much like the rest of the jackets. The DWR treatment allowed the material to hold water and mist to bead and not soak into the fabric.
The Incendo broke away from the rest of the pack in the real world. This model allowed us to push into the five-mile mark while running in near constant light rain and drizzle before any noticeable water began creeping through the seams. We want to impress again that none of the jackets in this test function as a rain shell, they are more of a temporary barrier between you and the elements with the benefit of shedding light rain.
The Incendo made a very uncomfortable test much less uncomfortable. The DWR treatment held up well, with the zipper and pit vents being the weak points.
That being said, the Incendo was the best at repelling water, even after we sent all of the jackets through a wash cycle and retested the Arc'teryx retained its ability to shed light rain. This added rain resistance made it the ideal candidate for the backcountry and trail running Top Pick as it will offer you more protection in an environment where it is more difficult to escape the elements.
Snoop Dog would use this jacket Fo Drizzle. Get it? For drizzle.
Along with the Incendo's superior water resistance, it performed well in windy conditions. In the breezy, cold, overcast mornings this jacket was in its element. While we performed the wind isolation downhill bike ride test there was a noticeable amount of wind blasting through the arm vents, though knocking too many points for this wouldn't be incredibly fair, as the jacket isn't designed to have your arms outstretched with wind directed right into the arm vents as it was done on the downhill test. The rest of the jacket did an excellent job cutting through the cold air of Emigration Canyon.
The zipper was on par with the OR Boost for keeping air from leaking through. Both jackets had a flap inside the zipper that both improved comfort and solved this wind leak issue that other jackets had. Other than this isolated situation, the jacket performed quite well in all other windy situations, and we found the large mesh arm vents to be more help than harm.
Comfort and Mobility
Having tested similar Arc'teryx jackets previously we knew to size up from our 'typical' jacket size. Our primary tester is typically borderline between medium and large jackets, and medium is typically the right fit. If you are borderline our advice would be to try the large first over the medium.
The Incendo truly is a trim fit, and without stretch fabric, it is critical to get the proper size to enjoy how comfortable this jacket is. 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. The neck is especially comfortable and like the OR Boost, the zipper is protected under a clean flap, keeping it away from your body. The half elastic cuffs are also tapered to give the sleeves extra length which keeps them from creeping up on your arms when you don't want them to.
Overall, this jacket provides excellent comfort and mobility without being too baggy or too snug. We found that the arms had enough range of motion that one could easily use this jacket while rock climbing or in any other activity where a light breathable shell would be beneficial. Although there wasn't anything wrong with the comfort and mobility of the Incendo, if this category is something you find critical, it is hard to compete with the comfort and mobility of the Outdoor Research Boost, as it has two types of stretchy material offering flexibility even at the extremes of movement.
We enjoyed all of the portability features of the Incendo. At 4.1oz, this jacket is light, although it wasn't the lightest jacket in our review. At 1.6oz, the Montane Featherlite 7 was the lightest.
The pocket the jacket stuffs into is optimally sized. Not only does this pocket fit the media devices of this age, it also fits the jacket perfectly. It isn't over or understuffed, which allowed our tester to pack and deploy the jacket while moving, which is a big plus. We also enjoy efficiency, seeing the stuff pouch double as a media pocket got us all hot and bothered.
The storage pouch for the Incendo becomes a media pouch when the jacket is deployed. The white circle you see at the top is a reinforced headphone port.
The stow pouch, which is the media pouch flipped inside out is cleverly sized to accommodate the iPhone6 (which is good since you decided to purchase it instead of health insurance) and similarly sized devices. We especially liked the offset reinforced headphone cord hole, offset so it doesn't bend the cord coming from the headphone jack. It's the little things that set this jacket apart. Along with having a properly sized storage pouch, the zipper has a double sided pull which is critical if a jacket is going to be made to store in its own pocket. We were unpleasantly surprised to see in 2017 some companies are still manufacturing and advertising jackets as stowable and then putting single sided zipper pulls on the storage system.
At 4.2oz, the Incendo is on the lighter end of the scale.
Day and Night Visibility
The Incendo was a top competitor for the most visible day and night piece. Had the color schemes we tested been different, things might have swayed in this model's favor. However, the incredibly high visibility Outdoor Research Boost took the prize for most visible. All that is well and good but it shouldn't detract from how well the Incendo performed in our variety of visibility tests.
Our mobile phone-distracted-driver rated the Incendo just below the Boost. It was stated, however, that the reflective blazing is one of the most visible in the low light of the nine jackets tested. The only jacket with brighter reflective material was the Nike Impossibly Light jacket, which appeared to have light emanating from inside the jacket itself.
The day and night visibility of the Incendo was excellent. The reflective blazing on the wrists was especially helpful in spotting our tester in low light.
Whether you're stepping out your door for a short jog or running a marathon, we recommend the Incendo. We found this model to be at home on equally on city streets and backcountry trails. The superior weather protection and smart portability system make this jacket ideal for longer runs and excursions into the foothills and mountains.
Even at the retail price of $139, the Incendo is a great value. It's well made and consistently scored near or at the top of every test we threw at it. It successfully does exactly what it was designed for; it is lightweight, breathes, repels water and resists the wind. What more could you ask for? But if you're on a budget, take a look at the Patagonia Houdini Pullover, which received our Best Buy award!
We gave the Arc'teryx Incendo our Top Pick award because of how much we loved its performance. During our testing, we found that it provides great protection from the rain, and since it's lightweight, it's perfect for long distance running. Additionally, it offers a decent amount of wind resistance, so you can run on those windy days without being pummeled to death. On top of all this, it breathes, which is one of the most important (and hard to find) aspects of a running jacket. Finally, this model packs into its own pocket, and has reflective blazes on the sleeves and lower back. We loved how well it handles the elements and we think you will too.