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Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody Review

The Gamma MX is a clean cut jacket equally at home en route to the office as it is on the trail.
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Price:  $349 List | $348.00 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Athletic fit, intelligent pocket placements, stylish look
Cons:  Fitted cuffs, shorter waist cut, expensive
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 23, 2019
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • Weather Protection - 30% 9
  • Breathability - 30% 5
  • Mobility - 20% 7
  • Weight - 10% 6
  • Features - 5% 8
  • Style - 5% 9

Our Verdict

We have long been fans of the Gamma line of jackets, as they are durable, dependable, weather resistant, and comfortable. This heavier jacket is lined with fleece backing, making it a good option for colder activities like winter hiking and ski touring. With clean looks and a trim fit, it is also versatile enough to wear in casual settings.

While this contender was one of the top performers in weather protection, it did not do as well during intense activity, as the fleece liner prevented it from being as breathable as its lighter weight cousin and Editors' Choice winner, the Gamma LT. We would recommend the Gamma MX Hoody for those living in colder climates or who favor the additional wind protection, and the LT version for a more active profile.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Athletic fit, intelligent pocket placements, stylish lookDurable fabric, great fit, all-around usefulnessGreat for general use, lightweight, weather resistantInexpensive, great breathability, stretchyTrim fit, abrasion resistant material, harness and helmet friendly
Cons Fitted cuffs, shorter waist cut, expensiveLimited water resistance, fitted cuffsCuffs not adjustable, no hood drawstringsLimited weather protectionNot as wet weather resistant, UK zippers can be awkward to use
Bottom Line The Gamma MX is a clean cut jacket equally at home en route to the office as it is on the trail.This is a great medium weight softshell jacket that will hold up to rugged use thanks to its durable fabric.A lightweight and weather resistant softshell that offers top performance for a wide range of applications.For summertime rock climbing where cool winds and rough surfaces are expected.The Torque easily wins our Top Pick Award for Climbing with its well thought out designs that appeal to both summer and winter climbers and mountaineers.
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody Arc'teryx Tenquille Hoody Ferrosi Hooded Rab Torque
Weather Protection (30%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
3
10
0
4
Breathability (30%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
Mobility (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
Weight (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
Features (5%)
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
6
10
0
6
Style (5%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
Specs Arc'teryx Gamma MX... Arc'teryx Gamma LT... Arc'teryx... Ferrosi Hooded Rab Torque
Type Stretch Stretch woven Stretch woven Stretch Woven Stretch woven
Weight (size medium) 1.3 lbs 1.06 lbs 0.65 lbs 0.8 lbs 1.03 lbs
Material Fortius 2.0 - Face: 85% nylon, 15% elastane.
Backer: 94% polyester, 6% elastane
Wee Burly (56% nylon, 34% polyester, 10% elastane) Kauss polyester Body and hood: 86% nylon, 14% spandex 90D stretch woven ripstop
Shoulders and lower sleeves: Cordura® 91% nylon, 9% spandex 120D stretch weave
Ripstop Matrix
Number of Pockets 4 3 2 3 3
Hood Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Adjustable Cuffs Stretch cuffs Stretch cuffs Stretch cuffs Stretch cuffs Yes, Velcro

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody is a trim-fitting softshell jacket that offers excellent weather protection and additional warmth, has features that are well thought out and user-friendly, and is stylish enough to wear both in the mountains and out to dinner. This jacket performed best during lower exertion activities in cold weather, as other models did better in warmer or more active conditions.

Performance Comparison


Hiking on a cold and breezy fall day was a great place for this softshell to shine.
Hiking on a cold and breezy fall day was a great place for this softshell to shine.

Weather Protection


The "MX" in Gamma MX stands for mixed weather, and this is a jacket that does better than most in these challenging conditions. The jacket uses the proven stretch fabric they have long used in their Gamma line, a fabric that effectively blocks wind, snow and light rain. This stretch-woven Fortius 2.0 fabric keeps the elements at bay, beading water off in light precipitation thanks to its DWR treatment. However, with prolonged exposure to moisture, like all softshell jackets, this one will wet through, and at a faster rate than shells with a heavier coating like The North Face Apex Bionic 2.

In a light drizzle water beads right off  though in a prolonged shower the fabric began to wet out along the shoulders and back.
In a light drizzle water beads right off, though in a prolonged shower the fabric began to wet out along the shoulders and back.

With a large helmet compatible hood, the Gamma MX Hoody is capable of sealing around the face and the high zipper closes securely around the chin with a comfortable brushed fleece backing. The wrist cuffs utilize a fitted gasket that is somewhat stretchy. This fits our wrists quite comfortably and seals effectively, though it is tough to fit these cuffs over lightweight gloves.

Breathability


The Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody uses a proprietary fabric comprised of polyester/nylon/elastane called Fortius 2.0. It has been one of our lead reviewer's favorites for traveling in colder temperatures during moderately aerobic activities like ice climbing and ski touring. The fabric is air permeable and does effectively pass moisture through to keep your body dry and cool during activity, though the fleece-backed lining does inhibit this to some extent. We found that during extended activity we were noticeably wetter between the inner lining of our softshell and the exterior of our fleece mid-layer than when we wore a softshell without a lining. Unlined jackets like the Outdoor Research Ferrosi and the Arc'teryx Tenquille did a better job of keeping the moisture passing through without wetting out on interior materials.

This jacket does breathe  but given the fleece backing  is better suited for lower-output activities like hiking  climbing  or backcountry skiing.
This jacket does breathe, but given the fleece backing, is better suited for lower-output activities like hiking, climbing, or backcountry skiing.

Mobility


Arc'teryx is known for well-fitting garments that feel tailored in all of the right places. The Gamma MX is no exception. It is a trim, athletic fit, despite descriptions from Arc'teryx claiming a regular fit. They also describe this jacket as being hip length, though we found that it barely covered our waist. Given that the arm length and torso was also close-fitting to the point of being snug when layered over a mid layer such as a Patagonia R1 Hoody, consider sizing up one size in this jacket.

The stretch woven panels of the Gamma MX move well with the body. Despite having no means to secure the cuffs other than a fitted gasket, we did not experience any drop in the cuff while reaching overhead. We did, however, note that while reaching above, the hem would rise to 3.5 inches, which exposed our baselayers or skin, and pulled the jacket from under the harness while climbing.

As you can see  this product does a pretty good job of staying on Phil's wrist even without velcro. What you can't see is that it pulled up a little at the waist. We give it an 8 out of 10 for mobility.
As you can see, this product does a pretty good job of staying on Phil's wrist even without velcro. What you can't see is that it pulled up a little at the waist. We give it an 8 out of 10 for mobility.

Weight


The Gamma MX jacket has a verified weight of 1.3 pounds. This is the same weight as the Columbia Ascender. It is much more of a capable jacket than the Ascender. This jacket is also bulkier, which does not make much of a difference while being worn as it is much more soft and flexible than the North Face Apex Bionic 2, but when stuffed in a pack it takes up much more room than a lighter weight model like the Sigma SL.

Features


Like the rest of the Gamma models we have worn, the Gamma MX jacket has well-thought-out features that climbers and skiers can appreciate. The full-sized hood accommodates both ski and climbing helmets and has a three-way cinch system with hidden cord locks to ensure a tight seal around the face. The collar is lined with soft fleece, and a rubber gasket backs the zipper. There are two handwarmer pockets, as well as two Napolean style chest pockets that are easier to access if you are wearing a harness or a pack.

The three-way closure on the hood is easy to operate  even with gloved hands.
The three-way closure on the hood is easy to operate, even with gloved hands.

The left shoulder features a small zippered pocket that we like to stash a GU gel pack or our ski pass in. There are no interior pockets. While the wrist closures are not adjustable, they do form a pretty good seal around the wrist. Those wishing to wear gloves, however, likely will prefer a jacket with adjustable cuffs to be able to tuck the gloves inside the wrist.

The fitted cuffs offer the best seal of any of the jackets that employ them  though we prefer velcro wrist closures for more usefulness with gloves.
The fitted cuffs offer the best seal of any of the jackets that employ them, though we prefer velcro wrist closures for more usefulness with gloves.

Style


We were impressed by the style of the Gamma MX jacket. It is clean cut, has a tailored, athletic fit, and is equally fashionable on the cliffs or at the coffee shop. It is available in several subtle colors that would not seem out of place in an urban setting.

Value


This is one of the most expensive jackets we tested. Arc'teryx is known for their well designed and tailored jackets, and the contrast between the fit of this jacket and a less expensive one is noticeable, though a lighter (less expensive) shell with a light new fleece base layer would be less expensive and more versatile.

Conclusion


The Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody is a softshell jacket that has an additional fleece backing that serves to further protect from the wind as well as lightly insulate the user in colder weather activities. For the mountain enthusiast who also wants to look good and stay protected from the elements while in the harshest conditions that a softshell jacket can (or should) handle, the Gamma MX Hoody might be just the shell you need.


Ryan Huetter