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Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody Review

A thoughtfully-designed technical layer for the refined mountain guide
Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody
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Price:  $159 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Technical fit, thoughtfully incorporated features, stretchy breathable fabric
Cons:  Expensive, not very weather resistant, holds onto smell over time
Manufacturer:   Arcteryx
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 18, 2020
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 13
  • Wind Resistance - 30% 7
  • Breathability and Venting - 30% 9
  • Weight and Packability - 20% 7
  • Fit and Functionality - 10% 6
  • Water Resistance - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Squamish is our favorite technical jacket to bridge the gap between breathability and wind resistance. But for all of its features, this lightweight jacket carries a serious price tag. For warm windy days, this jacket is both breathable and offers a level of wind protection comparable to the top models we tested. While it won't keep you dry from much more than an alpine fog, its gusseted athletic fit and superlative features, including a storm hood and dual cord locks for hem adjustment, are some of the most well-designed in this review. We recommend this lightweight jacket for technical alpine pursuits like climbing and trail running, when saving weight is a major priority.

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Pros Technical fit, thoughtfully incorporated features, stretchy breathable fabricLow price, simple and effective design, tiny packed-size, impressive DWR coatingUltimate breathability, next-to-skin softnessLots of zippered pockets, ease of packing, elastic brimAffordable, mesh-backed ventilation, large zippered hand pockets
Cons Expensive, not very weather resistant, holds onto smell over timeNo feature to stow-away hood, thin material can feel clammy during high-output activityCold in a strong wind, expensiveGoofy looking brimmed hood, swampy, lack of DWR treatmentRelatively heavy, lack of water resistance, oversized stuff sack
Bottom Line A thoughtfully-designed technical layer for the refined mountain guideThe best overall value and performance in a lightweight package that sets the category standardAn ultralight, breathable, versatile layer for those who live by the mantra of fast-and-lightBest-in-class storage in a lightweight, ripstop-nylon shell, all at an affordable priceA 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 Windshell Flyweight Hoodie
Wind Resistance (30%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Breathability And Venting (30%)
9.0
8.0
10.0
7.0
9.0
Weight And Packability (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
4.0
Fit And Functionality (10%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
Water Resistance (10%)
4.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
3.0
Specs Arc'teryx Squamish... Patagonia Houdini Patagonia Houdini Air Rab Vital Windshell Flyweight Hoodie
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.

Performance Comparison


This jacket is the perfect companion for long alpine climbs, that...
This jacket is the perfect companion for long alpine climbs, that often require significant energy just on approach.
Photo: Jill Rice

Wind Resistance


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.

Hiking or climbing in the alpine often puts you at the will of the...
Hiking or climbing in the alpine often puts you at the will of the wind. But when we paired this jacket with a solid base layer, we were able to keep the wind at bay.
Photo: Jill Rice

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.

This jacket quickly became our go-to for trail running, even if it...
This jacket quickly became our go-to for trail running, even if it meant that we were wearing a groutfit.
Photo: Jill Rice

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.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

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.

Although the storm hood is a bit tight around a bike helmet, it is...
Although the storm hood is a bit tight around a bike helmet, it is more comfortable with a climbing helmet and stays in place well when a strong wind kicks up.
Photo: Jill Rice

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.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Water Resistance


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.

Though you can't really see our face, we promise, there is a look of...
Though you can't really see our face, we promise, there is a look of disappointment in our eyes after the soaking results of this shower test.
Photo: Jill Rice

Value


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.

Quality and attention to detail is what Arc'teryx is known for.
Quality and attention to detail is what Arc'teryx is known for.
Photo: Jill Rice

Conclusion


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.

We love this jacket! We just struggle convincing ourselves that the...
We love this jacket! We just struggle convincing ourselves that the price-tag is worth it.
Photo: Jill Rice

Andy Wellman