Keeping your body comfortably warm while simultaneously allowing efficient transfer of heat and moisture is an area where many running layers struggle, especially during the frigid days of winter. The Arc'teryx Trino, our Top Pick for Winter Running, comfortably comes out ahead of the competition in this regard. While the softshell material is significantly heavier than single-layer polyester jackets, the cold-weather performance is off the charts. No matter what high output activity you undertake, from running intervals to cruising snowy singletrack on a fat bike, this jacket will keep you comfortable without having to constantly add or remove layers.
Arc'teryx updated the Trino to a new hooded model, the Trino SL (which stands for super light). We're now linking to the updated model.
Our Analysis and Test Results
When training during the winter months, our testers live by the motto "be bold, start cold" to allow their bodies to warm up and be comfortable when heart rate and internal temperatures rise. The consensus among our testers is that the Trino makes both the cold starts and warm high-intensity moments much more comfortable. Thick softshell material makes the blustery moments at the trailhead a bit less miserable, and the highly breathable nature of the jacket keeps you from getting clammy or overheated no matter how hard you're pushing.
Arc'teryx has equipped the Trino with a few different types of fabric, each having very specific properties to provide a balance between weather protection and breathability. The underarm and back panels shed heat like a Siberian Husky sheds hair on a sofa, while the chest, shoulder panels, and arms are equipped with Gore Windstopper material to resist the elements. Even the Windstopper layers proved to be highly breathable during our testing, as evidenced by the lack of sweat and moisture on the inside of the jacket during exertion.
Because the Trino is so adept at maintaining warmth while breathing efficiently, we rarely felt the urge to shed a layer or even unzip for more ventilation. Multi hour fat bike rides in 30-degree temps were absolutely perfect. If you're likely to encounter sporadic bouts of wind either from nature or because your aerobic activity of choice entails fast downhill travel followed by punchy uphills like cross country skiing or fat biking, the Trino is perfect.
While the Trino is heavily slanted towards providing exceptional breathability and temperature regulation, it does offer decent weather protection as well. The biggest vulnerability in the Trino's armor is rain. Having Gore Windstopper material over the chest, shoulders, and arms generally kept us dry with small bouts of precipitation, and we didn't notice any discomfort from snow collecting and melting through the jacket during an afternoon of fat biking with light snow falling. However, when the skies opened up and dumped, we ended up getting pretty wet. Where the Trino shines is on cold, dry, windy days when you want to have a buffer that won't hold in moisture and allow you to overheat.
During high wind, the Trino has another advantage over thinner single layer nylon running jackets. Single-layer jackets, for the most part, are extremely noisy in high winds. Anyone who has spent time in the alpine knows how exhausting the constant crinkly flapping sound can be. The Trino, on the other hand, is almost entirely silent in high wind. The body mapping fit and heavy material keep things calm, which in turn calmed us as well.
Comfort and Mobility
From previous experience with "body mapping" garments from Arc'teryx, we knew our 5'11", 175lb gear tester would need a size large. While he often floats between medium and large, the medium size would have been painted on, and honestly, nobody needs to see that. The large fit perfectly with all of the nerdy details we have come to expect from Arc'teryx products. The back hem is cut to offer more overlap for activities that require a lot of hip flexion such as cross country skiing or biking. The wrist cuffs are similarly cut to allow glove overlap even with arms outstretched.
If the Trino isn't quite as snug as you want, it comes equipped with internal hem adjustments, which are effective and easy to use. There isn't much wiggle room inside to begin with, but snugging up the hem definitely keeps out any unnecessary cold air. Gussetted underarm panels and cleverly positioned pockets make for relatively friction-free activity. In the infamous words of Ned Flanders, "It feels like I'm wearing nothin' at all."
Take the portability score of the Trino with a grain of salt. It's like having a heavyweight boxer fight a welterweight but only judging them on the weigh-in instead of the fight. While the Trino definitely wins the fight, it's comparatively heavy to the other contenders. At a scale crushing 16.2 ounces, it isn't ideal for stuffing down in a small pack for emergencies. This jacket is meant to be put on at the car and worn throughout a workout, and it is fantastic for that use.
There is no dedicated pocket for stuffing into like many running jackets, and even if the Trino had one, it would have to be pretty big as this multi-layer softshell isn't especially collapsible. While many jackets that offer a high level of portability are suited for occasional use, the Trino is focussed primarily on high output activity in cold weather, where you likely won't be taking it off. If the attributes of the Trino are attractive to you, be selective when taking this jacket on outings. Is it likely to be cold the entire time you're out? If so, the Trino is a great layer. If it's likely to warm up into the 50s in the middle of your run, storing this hefty piece will be a challenge.
We were happy to see true 360-degree reflective markings on the Trino, giving it excellent night and low light visibility. These markings are found on each forearm, love handles, and one on the left bicep and left chest panel. They are incredibly bright and translate into eye-catching movement that's difficult to miss.
Other handy features found on the Trino include a pair of rear stuff pockets with angled, easy access, and the previously mentioned breathable panels on the sides and back of the jacket.
If you're looking for a jacket that offers superior temperature regulation during cold-weather aerobic activity, the Trino is a great value. Yes, it might cost more than all of your monthly utilities combined, but considering how comfortable it will keep you on your next snowy interval session, it's worth it. We have seen similarly priced jackets with significantly lower performance, especially in the temperature regulation department. There is a lot of tech in the Trino, and it is evident out on the trails.
The Trino represents a new high-mark in temperature regulation for cold-weather aerobic activity. We felt warmer at the car and cooler during our intense workouts than we have in any other jacket. The weather protection isn't quite as burly as other jackets, but honestly, we do our best to avoid working out in a downpour anyway. What we can't avoid is the cold winter months, and the Trino, our Top Pick for Winter Running, cut right through it.
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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.