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Arc'teryx Venta SV Review

Arcteryx Venta SV in Blig Sky
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Price:  $399 List
Pros:  Windproof, excellent features, stylish.
Cons:  Fleece insulation can be too warm for active use, hood does not protect face well.
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Chris McNamara and Max Neale  ⋅  Mar 8, 2014
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64
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Protection - 30% 10
  • Breathability - 30% 3
  • Mobility - 20% 7
  • Weight - 10% 2
  • Features - 5% 8
  • Style - 5% 9

The Skinny

The Venta SV is No Longer Available
The Arc'teryx Venta SV is a fantastic softshell for downhill skiing and snowboarding, and general use in cold weather. This lightly insulated jacket is wonderfully comfortable and is our testers' favorite softshell for shredding the slopes and busting out tricks in the park on warm, sunny days. The midweight fleece insulation also make the jacket great for walking around town and for hiking on very cold days. Go for the Venta SV if you want warmth, fantastic features, and tip-top style. However, the Venta SV is too warm for aerobic activities in all but the coldest temperatures.

Our Analysis and Test Results

Windproof Softshells


As we describe in the Arc'teryx Venta MX, windproof softshells are best if you already own a hardshell jacket and want something that's slightly more breathable and more comfortable. Windproof softshells are an expensive, wonderful luxury for use in windy conditions.

Performance Comparison



Weather Protection


This jacket scores very high here (10 out of 10) because its Windstopper membrane is highly water resistant and windproof. We wish this jacket were cut longer like the Arc'teryx Venta MX is because, as you can see in our photos and in the video, the jacket rides up easily, thereby exposing your belly and back. The Venta MX's longer cut and is better for activities that involve lots of upper body movement.

Fleece insulation makes jacket is warmer than the Arc'teryx Venta MX, thus it's best for high output activities in cold days.

Jeff Smith gets some air in the Venta SV  a windproof model best for downhill skiing and snowboarding.
Jeff Smith gets some air in the Venta SV, a windproof model best for downhill skiing and snowboarding.

Breathability


This jacket scores relatively low (3 out of 10) in this category because of its windproof membrane. It's poorly suited to aerobic activities unless it's very cold out. This one of two softshells we've tested that has pit zips! Arc'teryx incorporates this feature because the combination of the relatively limited breathability and the fleece insulation make it very easy to get hot in this jacket. The pit zips - along with the front zipper - help dump heat, but it is often not enough.

Mobility


Arc'teryx is well known for their fantastic work with patterning and the Venta SV is no exception. This jacket is super comfortable. However, our testers found that the Arc'teryx Venta MX was more comfortable for activities, like climbing, where you have your arms overhead.

Weight


The extra fleece insulation in this jacket make it relatively heavy. 23 oz!!

Features


Wowzer, Arc'teryx hits the nail on the head with this jacket's features, which are tailored to all-purpose use. The most notable design element is the handwarmer pockets, which are better for general use (read: around town) than the climbing specific cross-over chest pockets found on the Venta MX. Arc'teryx uses their Drop Hood, which is meant for snowsports and is not as protective as the hood on the Venta MX. Though large and helmet compatible, we much prefer hoods that protect your chin better than the Drop Hood. As usual, Arc'teryx aces it when it comes to the small details like zippers and drawcords. We give the jacket 8 out of 10 points in this category.

The Venta SV has a very comfortable Drop Hood that's ideal for skiing and snowboarding. More chin coverage on climbing shells  like the Venta MX and Alpha SV  increases weather protection and warmth.
The Venta SV has a very comfortable Drop Hood that's ideal for skiing and snowboarding. More chin coverage on climbing shells, like the Venta MX and Alpha SV, increases weather protection and warmth.

Style


The Venta SV is very attractive. 9 out of 10.

Best Applications


This jacket is best suited to downhill skiing and snowboarding in warmer weather, and around town. It works very well for hiking in very cold weather, and moderately well for climbing.

Value


Softshells in general, and windproof softshells even more so, are a luxurious (poor value) type of apparel. They're very comfortable and can be fantastic if you have the cash for them. We recommend purchasing a hardshell jacket and a wind jacket before a softshell.


Chris McNamara and Max Neale