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Arc'teryx Kyanite Hoody - Women's Review

The lightweight and stylish fleece is built for town and leisurely hikes
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Price:  $179 List | $116.35 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Super cozy materials, stylish, lightweight, warm, amenable fit
Cons:  Expensive, zipper slips down, shorter sleeves
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 11, 2020
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 13
  • Warmth - 20% 6
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 9
  • Breathability - 20% 7
  • Layering Ability - 20% 8
  • Ease of Movement - 15% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 5% 6

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Kyanite is the fleece we reached for most when heading to town, lounging in the house, or going on a leisurely hike. The lightweight, stretchable Polartec fabrics offer exceptional warmth and movement that vents passively through the material. It's not the most breathable fleece. It does, however, do the trick on a relaxed hike or Sunday afternoon cragging session. It's simple and stylish with a slimming fit. While we appreciate many features of this jacket, we are less than thrilled about the zipper that doesn't stay put. The price is also quite high. This super soft and well-fitted fleece is an addition that any Arc'teryx lover should consider checking out, and it's one of the ones we find ourselves wearing the most for its lightweight comfort.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Arc'teryx Kyanite can easily transition from work to the trails. This versatile and sleekly styled lightweight fleece is a wonderful choice for fall hikes and chores around the house. It has a full-zip polyester build with a balaclava hood and two high handwarming pockets that layer nicely with a climbing harness or backpack.

Performance Comparison


While some of the colors might be bright  this lightweight contender is cozy with plenty of functions.
While some of the colors might be bright, this lightweight contender is cozy with plenty of functions.

Warmth


This wonderful lightweight fleece packs a lot of warmth into its thinner layers. The outer Polartec shell provides some wind protection, while the interior, soft fleece works to keep the body warm and protected from cold weather. The fleece insulates both when wet and dry, offering lots of warmth in any condition. Wear it on its own or as a jacket on cool days.

A look at the microfleece that's super soft and warm against the skin.
A look at the microfleece that's super soft and warm against the skin.

From hot summer days to cold fall nights, we wore this jacket in a plethora of conditions. We used it as a wear-alone piece and wore it underneath other jackets on cold days. What we learned is that for lightweight fleece, it's pretty darn warm. It offers decent thermoregulation but holds its heat; as a result, we'd recommend it as a mid-layer during cold days in the winter or as a stand-alone jacket in the winter and fall.

The full balaclava hood provides good coverage but doesn't come all the way up the face. We do appreciate its helmet compatibility.
The full balaclava hood provides good coverage but doesn't come all the way up the face. We do appreciate its helmet compatibility.

Comfort and Fit


The interior fleece is ridiculously soft and feels so good on the skin. When we first put it on, we didn't want to take it off! The Polartec fabric stretches in all directions and offers a good amount of room through the shoulders, torso, and hips.

The pockets are large and still useable  even with a harness on.
The pockets are large and still useable, even with a harness on.

The wrists are simple, without any loops or hems in the material. This jacket has two handwarmer pockets (not fleece lined) and an interior chest pocket that's large enough to fit a smaller iPhone. The hood is helmet-compatible and fleece-lined, providing the ultimate in comfort.

The length of the arms is medium to long. The material also stretches  offering a versatile and comfortable fit.
The length of the arms is medium to long. The material also stretches, offering a versatile and comfortable fit.

Our only caveat in this category is the zipper. In addition to many online users that have reported the "no-slip zipper" sliding down on its own, we noted this problem as well. When it is zipped up about ¾ of the way, and we move, the zipper travels down.

Unfortunately  Arc'teryx still hasn't fixed the traveling zipper.
Unfortunately, Arc'teryx still hasn't fixed the traveling zipper.

This annoying feature lost many comfort points here. That said, when it's completely zipped up, we had no issues. We strongly urge Arc'teryx to fix this issue, as keeping a jacket zipped shouldn't be as big an issue for such an expensive product. Aside from that, we love this layer, and it's our preference for wearing on most days.

Breathability


The Kyanite provides good thermoregulation, but it's not the best out there. The exterior face fabric is continuous, while the interior architecture is made up of continuous fleece along the back for moisture-wicking and insulation. The front of the fleece features a more breathable mesh that attaches and accommodates the pockets built into the jacket.

The material is thin and offers passive breathability through its tiny porous holes. However  it's less breathable than jackets donning Grid patterned architecture.
The material is thin and offers passive breathability through its tiny porous holes. However, it's less breathable than jackets donning Grid patterned architecture.

We wore this jacket while hiking, running, and playing around town. It provides good breathability, especially in cold weather, though we found ourselves taking it off when we began to sweat. It has an above-average level of thermoregulation but ultimately keeps you warmer than cooler. As a result, we'd recommend it for activities that aren't super sweaty, like day hiking and wearing around town. It's not our first choice for highly aerobic activities like ski touring or running.

We test it out while taking a short jog on the roads and trails around our home.
We test it out while taking a short jog on the roads and trails around our home.

Layering Ability


This fleece can layer well but can get stuck on thicker baselayers. Designed to be worn on its own or in a layered system, the Polartec Stretch Pro fabric provides a considerable amount of stretch.

This fleece layers easily over and underneath other layers. The only thing that would make it easier is the integration of a thumb loop  which it doesn't have.
This fleece layers easily over and underneath other layers. The only thing that would make it easier is the integration of a thumb loop, which it doesn't have.

It stretches well but doesn't offer as much room as others in the review. The arms around the shoulders are a little tighter, and if you're wearing a midweight or heavyweight baselayer (depending on the material), it can bunch; this is a result of the fleece-lined interior. With thinner baselayers or t-shirts, we had no problems. The face fabric is continuous and doesn't have much friction, so it layers effortlessly underneath other jackets or larger fleeces.

Ease of Movement


The stretch provides easy movement for all sorts of activities. The arms are long enough to accommodate long limbs, and the jacket doesn't ride up when you reach up. We do wish it was a tad bit longer in the torso. The wrists don't have any thumb loops, so you don't have the option to keep the arms pulled down when reaching up, but it doesn't move much anyway, so we're not too worried about that. We love that the fleece stays where it should, without needing many adjustments.

The jacket stays put even with arms raised. The fabric is incredibly mobile and moves with you.
The jacket stays put even with arms raised. The fabric is incredibly mobile and moves with you.

Weather Resistance


Weather resistance is average. We took the Kyanite with us to Red Rocks, Nevada, where the winds can be pretty strong; we stood up on high peaks to measure how the continuous face fabric holds up to super gusty conditions. When worn with a base layer, we didn't notice the wind ripping through the fabric. As a result, we'd wear it in windy weather with a light windbreaker or thin base layer underneath.

Here we pour water on. It beads for a moment then...
Here we pour water on. It beads for a moment then...

For wet weather, it provides some basic resistance but is far from waterproof. In our water tests, we poured a little water on the face fabric. For a moment, when there were just a few beads, it did a good job of repelling the droplets; the water didn't absorb at first and simply dribbled away.

Absorbs quickly. While it offers little in the way of wind and water resistance  it'll layer nicely under a thin shell.
Absorbs quickly. While it offers little in the way of wind and water resistance, it'll layer nicely under a thin shell.

We also observed the same result when wearing it during a light rain shower. However, when more water was added, and the rainstorms got heavier, the fabric readily absorbed the water. During our objective water tests, it provided resistance from complete absorption for about two seconds, before the 100mL of water absorbed into the fabric. Even though the water absorbed into the fabric, it didn't transfer into the inner layers, which means more protection during wet storms.

We'd recommend this fleece for wearing under a light rain jacket or windbreaker when the weather gets bad. It'll do fine for some wind, but doesn't offer the same protection as an insulated jacket or softshell; just as you'd expect.

Value


This jacket is expensive. Some people might be willing to shell out the extra dollars simply because it is stylish and versatile. However, for those looking to pinch pennies, there are better options with better value. That said, the materials used are durable, and the fleece hasn't shown signs of pilling or durability issues, even after wearing consistently for a few months.

We enjoy the Arc'teryx Kyanite while taking a drive and checking out some of the beautiful San Juan mountains.
We enjoy the Arc'teryx Kyanite while taking a drive and checking out some of the beautiful San Juan mountains.

Conclusion


The Arcteryx Kyanite stands out as a lightweight and fashionable fleece that offers technical performance. It's perfect for wearing as a mid-layer in the winter while milling around town, or as a light hiking jacket in the Fall or Spring. It is expensive, so be sure you're ready to throw down if you fall in love with it.

This lightweight and cozy fleece is our goto when we want a jacket that'll offer warmth and hardly feels like its there.
This lightweight and cozy fleece is our goto when we want a jacket that'll offer warmth and hardly feels like its there.

Amber King