Arc'teryx Norvan LT Hoodie Review
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Arc'teryx Norvan LT Hoodie
Check Price at REI
Check Price at Backcountry
$130.00 at Amazon
$170.00 at Amazon
$130.00 at REI
|Pros||Extremely breathable for a waterproof jacket, great weather protection, zipper is easy to use, lightweight, fits well||Ultralight, packs into its pocket, breathable, very comfortable, versatile||Lightweight, very breathable, comfortable, wool-lined hood, good visibility||Very light, excellent breathability, adjustable hood, great visibility||Good breathability, lots of pockets, portable|
|Cons||Expensive||No reflective visibility features||Hood not adjustable||Harder to pack into its pocket than some||No reflective accents for visibility|
|Bottom Line||This ultralight waterproof layer is enough to weather any storm and is one of the most breathable rain jackets we've tested||When you're looking for an ultralight, packable jacket, this model is second to none||This is a very comfortable jacket with a wool-lined hood and wool panels for breathability in the armpits||You won't be missed in this super breathable and ultralight jacket with excellent visible colors and reflective materials||A comfortable jacket with just the right balance of weather protection, breathability, and weight, with a lower sticker price than the higher-end models|
|Rating Categories||Arc'teryx Norvan LT...||Patagonia Houdini A...||Smartwool Merino Sp...||Asics Men's Fujitra...||Brooks Canopy|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Comfort and Mobility (20%)|
|Features and Visibility (15%)|
|Specs||Arc'teryx Norvan LT...||Patagonia Houdini A...||Smartwool Merino Sp...||Asics Men's Fujitra...||Brooks Canopy|
|Measured Weight (size Medium)||6.9 oz||4.1 oz||5.2 oz||4.1 oz||5.6 oz|
|Number of pockets||1||1||2||1||3|
|Main Material||N13p 3L GORE-TEX with C-KNIT backer||51% Recycled Nylon, 39% Nylon, 10% Polyester with DWR finish||100% Nylon, non-PFC DWR finish||100% Nylon||100% Recycled Polyester|
|Unique Features||Gusseted underarms||Carabiner clip-in loop||Packs in to right hand pocket, wool vented pits||Laser-cut ventilation holes||Carry sling attaced to integrated stuff sack|
|Vent Type||None||None||Armpit||Armpit, back||None, breathable material only|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Arc'teryx Norvan LT Hoodie is a highly breathable rain shell for foul weather. This jacket is weatherproof enough to use for mountain running and one of the most breathable waterproof shells we tested. Most rain shells lack breathability, but this jacket is almost as breathable as a windbreaker style running jacket. It's extremely comfortable, too. The Gore-Tex material used isn't stiff and heavy like some rain jackets. This jacket feels almost soft, in fact. This is one of the most premium rain shell running jackets we've tested, and it shows.
The Norvan LT Hoodie doesn't have any built-in breathable mesh panels or zippered vents. Nevertheless, it breathes surprisingly well for a fully waterproof jacket. We've worn a lot of fully waterproof jackets over the years, and very few shed heat as well as this one. When testing for breathability, it almost felt unfair to compare this jacket to other fully waterproof jackets. Its breathability is much more comparable to a windbreaker. With this jacket, you won't have to choose between getting wet from rain or getting wet from your own sweat.
While the Norvan LT Hoodie provides respectable breathability for such a high level of weather protection, it isn't quite as breathable as most of the non-waterproof jackets we tested. If this jacket had pit vents or other breathability features, we think it would be improved. However, it wouldn't be as lightweight if more features like this were added. As with any waterproof jacket, there is an expected trade-off between weather protection and breathability. While this jacket is by no means stuffy, some breathability features could be nice.
The Norvan LT Hoodieis made with a Gore-Tex waterproof breathable material. This jacket is one of the most breathable waterproof jackets we tested. It is much more waterproof than a DWR-treated windbreaker running jacket. This was one of our highest-performing jackets in the shower test and the jacket we grabbed whenever there was rain in the forecast. This jacket will keep you dry in a torrential downpour.
It's worth noting that the zipper on the Norvan LT Hoodie isn't completely waterproof. It is waterproof, and the area around the zipper has always stayed dry. But, if you were to spray a high-pressure stream of water at this zipper, some would get through. There is a strip of waterproof fabric behind the zipper, but we found that water could still seep through, theoretically. Either way, this level of weather protection is much higher than most of the jackets in this review. This is a great jacket for days when the weather is questionable.
While the Norvan LT Hoodie does have awesome weather protection, some older versions of the Norvan did have some durability issues. However, the newest version of this jacket, as tested here, seems to be quite durable. After a thorough two months of testing, this jacket still feels as it did when it was brand new. This newest version of the jacket is heavier than older ones, and you can tell that Arc'teryx beefed up this jacket for the newest iteration.
Comfort and Mobility
The Norvan LT Hoodie is an extremely well-tailored jacket. It's just loose enough to fit an insulated jacket or fleece underneath, without feeling at all loose. This jacket provided us a great range of motion, even when we had a layer underneath. The articulated sleeves move with you, no matter what activity you're getting into. The seems don't catch or chafe at all, either. In fact, the seems are just about flush with the rest of the interior of the jacket.
The Norvan LT Hoodie feels good against the skin, too. We were impressed with the feel of this jacket — it's almost soft. It's certainly much more comfortable than many waterproof jackets we've worn over the years. The material isn't very swishy. Even with the hood on, we weren't overwhelmed by the sound of a swishing rain jacket while running in this.
While the fit and finish of the Norvan LT Hoodie are top-notch, this jacket isn't quite as comfortable as a windbreaker-style running jacket. There's not a waterproof fabric in the world that is more comfortable than some of the softest, least rainproof windbreakers out there. Well, this jacket doesn't break that trend. But for a fully waterproof running jacket, this thing is pretty comfortable.
The Norvan LT Hoodie weighs 6.9 ounces in a men's size medium. It packs into its own pocket and is small enough to throw in your bag and almost forget about it. This is the lightest fully-waterproof jacket we tested in our men's running jackets review. There aren't many waterproof jackets that are lighter than this.
While the Norvan LT Hoodie can be stuffed into its own pocket, it is not particularly easy to do so. Compared to some other jackets, this jacket is almost difficult to pack into its pocket. The Gore-Tex material is stiffer than some softer fabrics, and the only pocket on this jacket isn't very big. But, it can be done. And once you get the hang of it, it doesn't take that long to stow this jacket away.
Features and Visibility
The Norvan LT Hoodie has almost no features that you don't absolutely need. It has one pocket on the left hip of the jacket. We didn't even notice this pocket at first, and then we were skeptical of the placement. But once we realized this pocket is big enough for a smartphone and tried it out, we were convinced. This is one of the best pockets for actually running with a smartphone we saw on any running jacket. Most chest pockets are only okay for storing your phone. This hip pocket is almost perfect for it. If this were a tight-fitting stretchy garment, it would carry a smartphone better. But that's pretty much the only way you could improve this pocket.
The Norvan LT Hoodie also has a built-in hood adjustment cord, which makes it easy to adjust the hood on the go to help ensure optimum protection from the elements. Also, the hood has a small bill that keeps some rain from dripping onto your face. We found this hood easy to tighten around our heads. The hood fits very well in general, too. But we wouldn't expect anything less from Arc'teryx.
Should You Buy the Arc'teryx Norvan LT Hoodie?
The retail price of the Norvan LT Hoodie can be shocking, costing over three times the price of some of the other jackets we review here. However, this is the most weather-resistant jacket we tested. And the 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric is quite breathable, especially compared to other rain shells. Finally, this is an extremely comfortable jacket. If you're looking for a weatherproof jacket for inclement weather running and other outdoor pursuits, this jacket is certainly worth considering.
What Other Running Jackets Should You Consider?
If you're looking for a less expensive running jacket that isn't as waterproof but will protect in light rain, we think the Patagonia Houdini Air or the Brooks Canopy are worth a look. If you're looking for a fully-waterproof rain jacket and aren't as concerned with breathability, check out the Salomon Bonatti Waterproof or the Patagonia Storm Racer.
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