The Arc'teryx Incendo Hoody running jacket is tried and true. The past unhooded version was our previous Editors Choice and the new model did well with everything we threw at it once again. The Incendo scored well in every category and takes top honors; it offers superior weather protection and portability and has been given a huge boost in breathability over past versions. This is a great jacket by any standard.
Arc'teryx Incendo Hoody Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Lightweight, packs into pocket, superior weather resistance
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Our Analysis and Test Results
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. While the older hoodless version of the Incendo didn't have the breathability we wanted from a top level running layer, this updated jacket does. Massive mesh panels running from the forearm, to flank give this thing the heat and moisture dumping capabilities we want. If the new mesh panels don't give you enough air flow, Arc'teryx also added a small, mostly unnoticeable plastic snap mid chest along the zipper which allows you to run with the jacket completely unzipped without looking like you're wearing a cape.
Don't think Arc'teryx simply stitched a hood onto the old Incendo and dropped it on the market. They seem to have surgically implanted features into the old Incendo that have greatly improved it from an already highly functional running jacket. While additions could be clunky and not well integrated, this is not the case. The biggest modification other than the hood is the resized mesh vents. They are now more than twice the size of the original. The result of this modification is a significant boost in breathability.
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.
The new Incendo Hoody has more than adequate breathing and venting for any running situation. Without sacrificing any of the elements we loved with the previous version, Arc'teryx was able to bump up the breathability of this version. Going against the old addage, "Be bold, start cold." The Arc'teryx Incendo Hoody actually makes you pretty comfortable at the start and during your run when you're all warmed up. Maybe they could coin a new catch phrase like, "Be goody, start with the Incendo Hoody." Or not.
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 updated Incendo, along with a hood, has seen a doubling in size of the underarm mesh vents. We didn't find this had any negative effect on the weather resistance of the jacket and actually had quite a positive effect on the climate inside the jacket which is discussed in depth in the breathability section.
The Incendo broke away from the rest of the pack in the real world. This model allowed us to push a bit further while running in near constant light rain and drizzle before any noticeable water began creeping through the seams. The addition of a hood aided in a bit of extra weather resistance as well as warmth. 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.
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.
The structure added to the brim of the hood proved to be a critical feature. While a hood without a brim would shed precipitation down your face, the brim added a touch of extra comfort in keeping this at bay.
Along with the Incendo's superior rain/drizzle 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. It's important to note the size of underarm vent has almost doubled in this new hooded Incendo which we feel was a positive change.
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. Arc'Teryx is notorious for having an incredible attention to detail and a continued drive to refine their garments. This second generation of Incendo is further proof. This hooded version retained everything we loved about the fit of the origional Incendo but included a comfortable, non-intrusive hood into the design as well as increased the size of underarm side vents.
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, non abrasive 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.
An internal elastic draw string around the waist added some extra comfort as well as wind resistance. When the wind kicked up we could snug the draw string with one hand and cinch it around our waist easily while moving. Loosening required a bit more attention and two hands but was also quite painless.
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 4.8oz, 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 newest iteration of the Incendo has added just a touch of weight. Up to 4.8oz from 4.1 on the hoodless version. The functionality far outweighs this fraction of an ounce.
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. Additionally 2019 saw the introduction of pocket inception, thats right, there's a pocket within the stow pocket. This allows you to stuff a few gels and your ID in and have them stay secure and not bouncing around.
The stow pouch, which is the media pouch flipped inside out, is cleverly sized to accommodate a modern iPhone or 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.
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.
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 resistance and smart portability system make this jacket ideal for longer runs and excursions into the foothills and mountains. We also found this to be a go-to layer for early morning bike commutes to and from work helping take the nip out of the wind but also keeping us from getting excessively sweaty. Again, when there is a real threat of rain looming, we would go for a rain shell as this jacket (and all running jackets) aren't meant to ward off serious downpours.
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! It's also noteworthy that while the Incendo was significantly improved for 2019 it's price remained the same as the original version. Once could see a justification for a higher price in the changes, keeping the same price was a real integrity move Arc'Teryx, (Insert clapping hands emoji).
We gave the original Arc'teryx Incendo our Top Pick award in 2017 because of how much we loved its performance. Since that version, there have been several positive updates to the jacket including a hood and significant added ventilation. It's hard not to give this jacket the editors choice award as it is such a fantastic garment. During our testing, we found that it provides adequate 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.
— Brian Martin