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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:  $180 List | $124.93 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Super cozy materials, stylish, lightweight, warm
Cons:  Expensive, not the most breathable, zipper slips
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 18, 2019
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Kyanite stands out as a favorite to wear around town and on the trail. The lightweight and stretchable Polartec fabrics offer exceptional warmth and movement that vents when needed. It's not the most breathable fleece out there but does the trick for less sweaty excursions like a Sunday afternoon hike or climbing session at the cliff. It's simple and stylish and offers a slim and stretchy fit. While we appreciate many features of this jacket that can either worn alone or as a mid-layer, we are less than thrilled about the zipper that doesn't stay put and slides down. The price is also quite high. While it can be used as a technical fleece, this is a perfect warm friend on a fall hike or as a warm mid-layer when the temperatures begin to plummet.


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Price $124.93 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Super cozy materials, stylish, lightweight, warmBreathable, durable, helmet compatible hood, awesome thermoregulation, high valueBalaclava hood with neck gaiter, good wind and water protection for a fleeceLightweight, breathable, full-length zipper and a hoodSuper breathable, wind and water resistance, lightweight design, layers easily
Cons Expensive, not the most breathable, zipper slipsNot weather resistant, expensiveNot very breathable, expensiveNot very warm, no weather resistanceTight through the shoulders, expensive, stinky after one use
Bottom Line The lightweight and stylish fleece is built for town and leisurely hikes.The reigning champion that simply can't be beat for versatility.A technical jacket for alpine and ice climbing, or other active sports in colder climates.This light fleece is a high-performance layer that is breathable and comfortable.Our favorite for aerobic activities during the winter months.
Rating Categories Kyanite Hoody R1 Full Zip Hoody Fortrez Hoody Rab Nucleus Hoody - Women's Vigor Hoody
Warmth (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
4
Comfort (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
Breathability (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
10
Layering Ability (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Ease Of Movement (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Weather Resistance (5%)
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
8
Specs Kyanite Hoody R1 Full Zip Hoody Fortrez Hoody Rab Nucleus Hoody... Vigor Hoody
Type Lightweight Midweight Midweight Lightweight Midweight
Main Fabric Nylon, polyester Polartec PowerGrid(93% recycled polyester/7% spandex) Polartec Power Stretch with Hardface Technology (88% polyester, 12% elastane) Thermic fleece & Power Grid Nylon, polyester
Unique Features Stretchy, abrasion-resistant fabric, gussets for movement Hidden zippered pocket, balaclava hood fits under a helmet, brick-patterned insulation balances breathability and warmth Balaclava hood with neck gaiter Close fitting hood fits under a helmet Insulated front and back panel, breathable arms
Weight (ounces) 11.2 11.9 11.9 11.2 10.2
# of Pockets 2 hand 2 (hand), 1 hidden zippered pocket (right hand) 3 (2 hand, 1 arm) 2 (hand) 2 (2 hand, 1 chest)
Hood Option? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

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 perfect choice for fall hikes and chores around the house, and it offers many features that provide a gauntlet of uses. We just wish the alleged "non-slip" zipper would stay in place, and it wasn't so expensive.

Performance Comparison


Enjoying a coffee while spending time with Grandpa in Northern Ontario.
Enjoying a coffee while spending time with Grandpa in Northern Ontario.

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.

The interior fleece is exceptionally cozy and pretty warm for the lightweight construction of this jacket. It's one of our favorites for Fall and Spring wear.
The interior fleece is exceptionally cozy and pretty warm for the lightweight construction of this jacket. It's one of our favorites for Fall and Spring wear.

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.

This cool Fall hike was perfectly suited for the Arc'teryx Kyanite Fleece. Here  we layer it underneath an insulated jacket when temperatures hovered just over freezing.
This cool Fall hike was perfectly suited for the Arc'teryx Kyanite Fleece. Here, we layer it underneath an insulated jacket when temperatures hovered just over freezing.

Comfort


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 higher pockets are compatible with either a harness or backpack straps. They are also comfortable and quite large  accommodating a phone or snack easily. This makes it a great option for climbing or hiking.
The higher pockets are compatible with either a harness or backpack straps. They are also comfortable and quite large, accommodating a phone or snack easily. This makes it a great option for climbing or hiking.

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 hood fits tightly to the head  not impeding peripheral vision.
The hood fits tightly to the head, not impeding peripheral vision.

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.

The zipper always travels down to about this point...especially when we put our hands in our pockets.
The zipper always travels down to about this point...especially when we put our hands in our pockets.

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.

We love the helmet compatible hood.
We love the helmet compatible hood.

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 continuous face fabric on the Arc'teryx Kyanite is surprisingly breathable  simply because it is so thin. While it doesn't compare with competitors that use a PowerGrid technology  it's still the most breathable of those that have a continuous face fabric design.
The continuous face fabric on the Arc'teryx Kyanite is surprisingly breathable, simply because it is so thin. While it doesn't compare with competitors that use a PowerGrid technology, it's still the most breathable of those that have a continuous face fabric design.

We wore this jacket while hiking, running, and playing around town. In all cases, we noticed that it provides good breathability, especially in cold weather. But we found ourselves taking it off when we began to sweat. In general, 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.

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.

Canoeing on the Bonnecheure River was a little chilly. Luckily this fleece is super easy to layer underneath an insulated jacket.
Canoeing on the Bonnecheure River was a little chilly. Luckily this fleece is super easy to layer underneath an insulated jacket.

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 and gra; this is a result of the fleece-lined interior. With thinner baselayers or t-shirts, we had no trouble. The face fabric is continuous and doesn't have much friction, so it layers effortlessly underneath other jackets or larger fleeces.

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.

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 too many adjustments.


This fleece stays put. Whether you put your arms up  down  or you're simply hanging out and enjoying a view.
This fleece stays put. Whether you put your arms up, down, or you're simply hanging out and enjoying a view.

Weather Resistance


Weather resistance is about the same as most fleeces in this review, offering an average level of protection. We took the Kyanite with us to Red Rocks, Nevada, where the winds can be pretty strong; we stood up high to see 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. But, without, we are sure the results wouldn't be as positive. As a result, we'd wear it in windy weather with a light windbreaker or thin base layer underneath.

The continuous face fabric is latticed with tiny pores that isn't completely wind or waterproof  but it provides more protection than other porous fleece jackets.
The continuous face fabric is latticed with tiny pores that isn't completely wind or waterproof, but it provides more protection than other porous fleece jackets.

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.

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.


Top Left: We pour water on the jacket and it starts to repel the water initially. Top Right. After pouring the water  it absorbs it readily. Bottom: Here we see the back of the jacket. Even though the water went through the front  it didn't penetrate to the back. The fleece interior provided good protection from water penetration.
Top Left: We pour water on the jacket and it starts to repel the water initially. Top Right. After pouring the water, it absorbs it readily. Bottom: Here we see the back of the jacket. Even though the water went through the front, it didn't penetrate to the back. The fleece interior provided good protection from water penetration.

As a result of these tests, 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 quite expensive. Some people might be willing to shell out the extra dollars simply because it is quite 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 after wearing consistently for a few months. If you're seeking something similar, but less expensive, take a look at the jacket, retailing for a little less.

Here we lounge on a park bench while working on our Fleece Jacket review. This stylish fleece proves to offer a wide range of functions. From keeping you warm as a mid-layer to wearing on its own. We like using it for stylish wear around town  amoung other things.
Here we lounge on a park bench while working on our Fleece Jacket review. This stylish fleece proves to offer a wide range of functions. From keeping you warm as a mid-layer to wearing on its own. We like using it for stylish wear around town, amoung other things.

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.

We enjoy this semi-technical fleece that offers the comforts of a lounge-around jacket and the complexities of a decent thermoregulator. Enjoy it on less technical missions or while just wearing around town.
We enjoy this semi-technical fleece that offers the comforts of a lounge-around jacket and the complexities of a decent thermoregulator. Enjoy it on less technical missions or while just wearing around town.


Amber King