Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody Review
Cons: Expensive, not very weather resistant, holds onto smell over time
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Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody
$159.00 at Amazon
|$74.25 at Backcountry|
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$179.00 at Backcountry
$84.95 at Amazon
|Pros||Technical fit, thoughtfully incorporated features, stretchy breathable fabric||Low price, simple and effective design, tiny packed-size, impressive DWR coating||Ultimate breathability, next-to-skin softness||Lots of zippered pockets, ease of packing, elastic brim||Affordable, mesh-backed ventilation, large zippered hand pockets|
|Cons||Expensive, not very weather resistant, holds onto smell over time||No feature to stow-away hood, thin material can feel clammy during high-output activity||Cold in a strong wind, expensive||Goofy looking brimmed hood, swampy, lack of DWR treatment||Relatively heavy, lack of water resistance, oversized stuff sack|
|Bottom Line||A thoughtfully-designed technical layer for the refined mountain guide||The best overall value and performance in a lightweight package that sets the category standard||An ultralight, breathable, versatile layer for those who live by the mantra of fast-and-light||Best-in-class storage in a lightweight, ripstop-nylon shell, all at an affordable price||A price-point option that balances wind resistance and breathability, but lacks in terms of weather proofing|
|Rating Categories||Arc'teryx Squamish...||Patagonia Houdini||Patagonia Houdini Air||Rab Vital Hoody||The North Face Flyw...|
|Wind Resistance (30%)|
|Breathability and Venting (30%)|
|Weight and Packability (20%)|
|Fit and Functionality (10%)|
|Water Resistance (10%)|
|Specs||Arc'teryx Squamish...||Patagonia Houdini||Patagonia Houdini Air||Rab Vital Hoody||The North Face Flyw...|
|Measured Weight (size M)||4.8 oz||3.9 oz (size L)||4.0 oz||4.7 oz||7.6 oz|
|Material||100% nylon, DWR finish||100% nylon ripstop, DWR finish||90% nylon (51% recycled) / 10% polyester double weave, DWR finish||Hyperlite nylon||WindWall: 100% Recycled Polyester woven with DWR finish|
|Pockets||1 zip (chest)||1 zip (chest)||1 zip (chest)||3 zip (2 external hand, 1 internal)||2 hand|
|Safety Reflective Material?||Yes, reflective logo||No (company states reflective logo on left chest, too small to really be visible)||No (company states reflective logo on left chest, too small to really be visible)||Yes, reflective logo on chest and back||No|
|Stowable Pocket?||Yes: chest pocket||Yes: chest pocket||Yes: chest pocket||Yes: internal pocket||Yes: hand pocket|
|Cuff Style||Half Elastic||Half Elastic||Half Elastic||Half Elastic||Elastic|
|Hood Fits Over Helmet?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Since the last time we tested the Squamish Hoody, Arc'teryx revamped this current version with elastic cuffs (instead of Velcro), and the fit is now slightly slimmer. This gives it more of a refined look, as stylish in the high alpine as it is around town. There are now dual cord locks along the hem for an adjustable fit around a harness, and an adjustable storm hood that does a great job of staying put in a heavy wind.
The Squamish is made of a very lightweight 30-denier, Tyono fabric that is both stretchy and breathable. While breathability and wind resistance are often mutually exclusive concepts, this jacket does a nice job of walking that fine line. On an unexpectedly windy day in the plains of northern Colorado — where wind gusts reached 60mph — we were comfortable enough to continue our hike, even though we were only wearing a t-shirt underneath this thin shell. Even without having to lock it down, the storm hood does a fantastic job staying in place over a hat, just with the jacket fully zipped up. Despite this performance, we still think it is best used in warmer weather situations, or for highly aerobic scenarios where breathability is valued over wind resistance — like skinning uphill.
Breathability and Venting
Thanks to the fairly permeable, stretchy nylon build, the Squamish ranks near the top of our list in terms of breathability. We loved this jacket for long fall trail runs and cannot wait to wear it in the skin track. Although this jacket lacks any sort of conventional venting, there are no issues with this jacket dumping heat. Even when worn as a mid layer, the Squamish strikes a nice balance of warmth and breathability — when layered correctly with one of our favorite base layers, we had no issues with moisture build-up. Really, the only issue we have is that nylon, like polyester, has a tendency to gather stink. And after a few uphill training sessions, it was time to put this layer through the wash.
Weight and Packability
On the scale, our men's size medium weighs only 4.8 ounces, corresponding to the advertised weight and putting it among some of the lightest jackets we tested. Similarly, it packs down into its own zippered chest pocket, and is directly comparable to the smallest jackets in this review. With a reinforced clip-in loop, this jacket could comfortably be carried on a harness, or just as easily tossed into any pack for a backup outer layer.
Fit and Functionality
It is hard for us to conceive of a better fit for a jacket than the Squamish. It is sleek, with the same refinement as a veteran mountain guide while also allowing adequate room underneath for warmer layers. Our head tester fits into that body type, with a slender, 5-foot, 10-inch frame which fits ideally into a medium jacket. We have known Arc'teryx pieces to be a tough fit for those who are bulkier or have broad shoulders, so we highly suggest trying on this jacket before buying.
In terms of features, the Squamish does not have quite as many as some of the other windbreakers that we tested. It does not have a way to stow away the hood, or hand pockets, or a mesh lining on its single chest pocket to aid ventilation. But again, alpine refinement is the name of the game with this well-designed jacket — for example, hand pockets would be useless under a harness. It does feature a helmet-compatible storm hood that stays in place, even through gale-force winds, and two adjustable cord locks on the hem to really lock things down when the weather turns. These essential features are integrated perfectly into this jacket, and we won't knock it for design considerations.
We really wish this wasn't the case, but the major weakness of the Squamish is when it comes to water resistance. After just one turn under the showerhead, we found water running down the inside of the jacket, completely soaking our base layer. While it does come with a DWR coating applied, it seemed to wear off much quicker than some of the other coatings on comparable jackets. The nylon fabric itself is quite absorptive, although the jacket's permeability does allow for it to dry out rather quickly in the sun.
There's no denying it; this jacket is one of the most expensive in the review. While we think it is certainly a quality piece, we would only consider it to be a reasonable investment for those who demand this jacket's balance of breathability and wind resistance. Those regularly engaged in high-level technical pursuits, like ski mountaineering or alpine climbing, should consider this windbreaker.
Without a doubt, the Squamish is a top-quality windbreaker with some serious strengths. But like most Arc'teryx pieces, you are going to pay a hefty price for its quality of construction. For fair weather, high-mountain adventure, this jacket certainly presents an interesting alternative to having to carry a full rain or hard shell.
— Andy Wellman
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