Arc'teryx Incendo Hoody Review
Cons: Not the most weather resistant, fit is hit-or-miss for larger frames
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Arc'teryx Incendo once again maintains its spot at the top of our running jacket lineup. We have consistently given this jacket high ratings for its surprisingly 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. This opens the jacket for ventilation but keeps 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 non-waterproof jackets that we tested. 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 trade offs like reduced breathability or increased weight.
Comfort and Mobility
Arc'teryx consistently creates garments with superb 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. Like much of their running line, it's even narrower through the chest, shoulders, and arms than their trekking or all-purpose lines. Because of this and the lack of any stretch face fabric, proper sizing is critical to fully enjoying this jacket for those with larger frames.
The Incendo moves well, and the fit can be customized via an internal elastic drawstring around the waist. 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.
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 only through sheer brute force and 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.
Features and Visibility
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.
The Incendo remains an Editor's Choice Award winner, though not so soundly as in previous years. Strong improvements in the field gave it a run for its money this time. Still, no other running jacket so completely embodies everything it means to be a running jacket. Assuming you nail the fit, there isn't a single runner we wouldn't readily recommend the Incendo to.
— Nick Bruckbauer & Walt Handloser
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