Salomon Agile Full-Zip Hoodie Review
Cons: Wind cuts through elastane mesh, no storage pocket, specific fit
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Salomon Agile Full-Zip Hoodie
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|Pros||Breathable, surprising water repellency, stylish and comfortable||Low price, simple and effective design, tiny packed-size, impressive DWR coating||Lots of zippered pockets, ease of packing, elastic brim||Affordable, mesh-backed ventilation, large zippered hand pockets||Affordable, large hand pockets and hood|
|Cons||Wind cuts through elastane mesh, no storage pocket, specific fit||No feature to stow-away hood, thin material can feel clammy during high-output activity||Goofy looking brimmed hood, swampy, lack of DWR treatment||Relatively heavy, lack of water resistance, oversized stuff sack||Billows in anything more than a breeze, lack of features|
|Bottom Line||This running-focused shell isn’t the most wind resistant, but features an appealing balance of breathability and water resistance||The best overall value and performance in a lightweight package that sets the category standard||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||Holding it down for the classic windbreaker, in style and function|
|Rating Categories||Salomon Agile Full-...||Patagonia Houdini||Rab Vital Windshell||The North Face Flyw...||Columbia Flashback|
|Wind Resistance (30%)|
|Breathability and Venting (30%)|
|Weight and Packability (20%)|
|Fit and Functionality (10%)|
|Water Resistance (10%)|
|Specs||Salomon Agile Full-...||Patagonia Houdini||Rab Vital Windshell||The North Face Flyw...||Columbia Flashback|
|Measured Weight (size M)||5.6 oz||3.9 oz (size L)||4.7 oz||7.6 oz||5.7 oz|
|Material||100% polyester upper, 88% polyester / 12% elastane lower||100% nylon ripstop, DWR finish||Hyperlite nylon||WindWall: 100% Recycled Polyester woven with DWR finish||Water-repellent polyester|
|Pockets||2 zippered hand||1 zip (chest)||3 zip (2 external hand, 1 internal)||2 hand||2 hand|
|Safety Reflective Material?||Yes, reflective inserts||No (company states reflective logo on left chest, too small to really be visible)||Yes, reflective logo on chest and back||No||No|
|Stowable Pocket?||No||Yes: chest pocket||Yes: internal pocket||Yes: hand pocket||No|
|Cuff Style||Half Elastic||Half Elastic||Half Elastic||Elastic||Elastic|
|Hood Fits Over Helmet?||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Salomon Agile is a breathable, comfortable athletic jacket that offers an intriguing balance of breathability and weather resistance. Although you wouldn’t exactly expect it from a 100% polyester upper, the panels that cover the hood, shoulders, and top of the arms have an unusual ability to shed water. The rest of the jacket incorporates 12% elastane into the mix for superior ventilation and a natural stretch.
The Salomon Agile, like the award-winning Flyweight Hoodie stand apart from the crowd as two jackets that opt for a polyester shell, rather than the more traditional nylon. Polyester is a fabric common to base layers, as it tends to be more breathable than nylon. Unfortunately, this advantage on one hand negatively affects its wind resistance on the other. Not only that, but the bottom half of the Agile is partly elastane, which is about as wind resistant as spandex. So while this jacket works fine for running trails in more covered areas, expect a chilly greeting as you climb onto exposed ridgelines.
Breathability and Venting
While wind resistance suffers a bit as a result, breathability is capitalized as a performance feature of this lightweight shell. The polyester/elastane panel makes up the majority of the back of this jacket, which has the added benefit of efficiently transferring moisture away from your base layer to keep you fresh and cool when you’re working hard uphill. This superior ability to thermoregulate means that the Agile particularly excels anytime there are major temperature swings — like everyday in the desert Southwest, or during the shoulder seasons. If the heat is getting to you in the middle of a run, you also have the option of opening up the two hand pockets, which are also mesh-backed for improved airflow.
Weight and Packability
Tipping the scales at 5.6 ounces, the Agile is surprisingly in the upper tier in terms of weight when compared directly to the rest of the jackets in this review. But any jacket that weighs only about 1/3 of a pound is incredibly light, and indeed that’s how it feels when worn — lightweight and airy, thanks to the breathable panels that extend from your back, through your underarms, and around to your core. While this jacket does have the ability to fold up into one of its hand pockets to form a rather petite package, neither is specifically designed as a stowable pocket, so be careful not to lose a zipper if you pack this jacket up.
Fit and Functionality
This athletic shell has a particularly slim fit that appeals to the running crowd, pavement pounders and trail runners alike. Even our head tester found this jacket to be a bit slimming, who at 5 feet, 10 inches, has a skinny mountaineer’s frame that generally fits well in most athletic wear. The Agile certainly lives up to its name — the polyester/elastane panels are supple and stretchy, allowing for complete freedom of movement. While this may seem like a good choice for rock climbers as a result, we worry about the ability of this jacket to stand up to abrasion. As the only ones available, the low position of the hand pockets also eliminate any possible carrying capacity once hidden underneath a harness.
Similarly, the hood is designed to be pulled tightly over your head or a lightweight hat, and isn’t helmet compatible. But for its designated purpose, it does a fantastic job of keeping your hat securely on your head, even through heavy springtime gales. To continue to point the Agile in the direction of a running-specific jacket, this shell very much has the style of an urban athletic piece, which is further supported by particular design features. Notably for commuters and those who like to run in the evenings or early mornings, the right arm is branded with a highly reflective insert.
Based on our experience with other polyester windbreakers, we didn’t expect much in terms of water repellency — yet, the Agile blew away all of our expectations. Don’t think that you can take this jacket out comfortably with heavy rain in the forecast, but it is more than adequate in a light drizzle. Even in our standardized shower test — which is designed to replicate a quick, heavy downpour — our shoulders stayed remarkably dry under this exceptionally thin jacket. Almost more so than the water resistance of the upper body, we were impressed by the hydrophobia of the polyester/elastane back panel. If you are running without a hat, the hood also features a duckbill to help keep rain out of your eyes.
Given its affinity for breathability, and its astounding water resistance, the Agile stands out as an interesting option for a windbreaker — most lightweight jackets are generally one of the two, but infrequently both. Given its middle-of-the-road price point in this category, this would make a great companion for those runners or cyclists looking to strike out without worry in those areas that tend to see short, passing showers in the spring and summer.
While perhaps a bit more versatile than we give it credit for, the Salomon Agile Wind Hoodie is certainly geared towards runners. The combination of polyester and elastane make this jacket exceptionally breathable, yet it has the uncanny ability to shed light rains better than most. If you care more about weather than wind-resistance, then this is a versatile piece of activewear.
— Aaron Rice
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