Arc'teryx Kyanite Hoody - Women's Review
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Arc'teryx Kyanite Hoody - Women's
|Price||$180.00 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
$101.93 at REI
|$62.26 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
$90.27 at Backcountry
$34.73 at REI
|Pros||Comfortable, stretchy, mobile shoulders, fluffy interior, warm, polished exterior look and feel, easy to layer||Very stretchy and comfortable, cozy and warm, breathable, comparatively compact||Very stretchy, comfortable thumbholes, extended coverage, packable, very breathable, great warmth-to-weight ratio||Exceptionally breathable, extremely lightweight, clever thumb loops, great neck protection, shirt-like comfort||Instantly cozy, soft and fluffy, affordable, lots of color options|
|Cons||Zipper not wind resistant, slim cut may be limiting||Slim fit doesn't work for everyone, not very windproof, fuzzy exterior collects debris||Chest pocket looks bad, oddly long cut, light colors are see through||Not as warm, hard to layer over other things, lighter colors are somewhat see-through||No pockets, challenging to layer, not breathable, less wind resistant|
|Bottom Line||All the comfort of your favorite sweatshirt combined with the performance of a technical fleece layer||An extremely versatile fleece with lightweight breathability and stretchy comfort combined with midweight warmth and protection||This lightweight fleece features good technical performance and coverage, a great warmth-to-weight ratio, and a reasonable price||An excellent lightweight, breathable fleece shirt to level up your winter running wardrobe||A simple pullover with a classic design that's cozy, relaxed, easy to love, and affordable|
|Rating Categories||Arc'teryx Kyanite H...||Patagonia R1 Air Fu...||Outdoor Research Vi...||The North Face Summ...||Columbia Benton Spr...|
|Layering Ability (15%)|
|Specs||Arc'teryx Kyanite H...||Patagonia R1 Air Fu...||Outdoor Research Vi...||The North Face Summ...||Columbia Benton Spr...|
|Main Material||53% polyester, 38% nylon, 9% elastane||Recycled polyester||94% polyester, 6% spandex||Polyester||Polyester|
|Cuff Construction||Tanica stretch fabric||Quick-drying woven binding||Same fabric as jacket||Elastic band||Elastic cuff|
|Weight||12.6 oz||10.7 oz||8.9 oz||4.4 oz||10.4 oz|
|Number of Pockets||2 hand||2 hand, 1 chest||1 chest||None||None|
|Features||No slip front zipper, chin guard, moisture wicking, off-shoulder seams, no armpit seams||Off-shoulder seams, no armpit seams, moisture wicking||Thumbholes, flat seam construction, UPF 30, moisture wicking, off-shoulder seams, no armpit seams, chin guard||Off-shoulder seams, no armpit seams, thumb holes, scuba hood, moisture wicking||Comfort stretch, extended collar|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Arc'teryx Kyanite is a midweight fleece made of extremely stretchy fabric (58% polyester, 38% nylon, 9% elastane). It has two zippered hand pockets, thoughtfully placed seams, and a moisture-wicking interior.
The Kyanite Hoody is among the warmest fleeces we tested. Its midweight fabric is thick and toasty, while the interior fuzziness adds that instant-heat feeling, even on bare skin. A fitted hood adds even more warmth with its scuba style shape and extra high chin for burrowing in. The hood's roomier fit and extra stretch means you can still wear it over a ponytail or beanie. A longer torso with a moderate drop hem keeps your waist protected even as you recreate.
Though the Kyanite has no thumbholes or loops, its sleeves are plenty long enough to keep our long-armed testers covered in most situations. The stretchiness of the fabric also allows for added warmth, as it's easy to pull the sleeves all the way over our hands or the hem down over the tops of our butts when we want. The fabric itself is remarkably wind-resistant — much more so than nearly any other fleece we tested — but the main zipper has wide teeth and no wind guard behind it, which is the only weak point in this otherwise remarkably protective jacket.
Every one of our testers thoroughly appreciated the superb comfort of the Kyanite Hoody. The interior fabric has all the softness and plushness of a classic fleece jacket, giving us the feeling of donning a cozy blanket. While most fleeces in our lineup have some level of stretch to their fabric, the Kyanite blows them all away. This exceptional elasticity not only makes it easier to wear and move in but also helps this otherwise straight cut jacket be more accommodating of a wider variety of body shapes than most.
We appreciate the thoughtful placement of the seams on this fleece. The shoulder seams have been moved back, off the tops of the shoulders, to avoid conflicting with backpack straps. Instead of armpit seams, Arc'teryx employed a diagonal seam running back across the bottom of your biceps. Two zippered hand pockets are spacious enough for plenty of items as well as your hands. They extend below the bottom of their zippers, but not quite to the bottom of the jacket — still too far to avoid interfering with a hip belt or harness though. On the inside of the jacket, the hand pockets are not secured to the jacket at the bottom. While this means it doesn't offer internal slip pockets, it is actually a more comfortable arrangement for heavier items. When holding a large smartphone, these free-bottomed pockets tug less on the jacket than other fully attached pockets.
Almost none of the fleeces we tested offer long-time water resistance, and the Arc'teryx Kyanite is no exception. A light mist soaks right into the external fabric without beading up. Despite this instant absorption, it took far longer for that water to actually soak all the way through to our bodies underneath. That's not enough for us to recommend it as an outer layer on a rainy day, but it does offer us some peace of mind if we got briefly caught without a shell. As previously discussed, the Kyanite fabric is more wind resistant than most others in our lineup, though the wide-toothed zipper, without any wind guard, proves a weak point.
The size Small Kyanite we tested weighs 12.6 ounces, higher than average among our test fleet. As a midweight fleece, though, we think that is a reasonable weight. On the other hand, the thick, fluffy fabric of this jacket doesn't easily compress into a very small bag or carry-on luggage. There are many reasons why we would still choose to bring the Kyanite with us — but we'd prefer to wear it than try to pack it.
Considering its exceptional warmth, the Kyanite is more breathable than you might expect. The fabric itself strikes the middle ground of breathability — not so breathable that it's a good choice for running but not so "unbreathable" that we sweat while just sitting around on a gradually warming morning in the woods. Its sleeves are cuffed by equally soft stretch fabric that can be comfortably pushed up our arms without biting into our skin.
Unzipping the Kyanite is the obvious way to achieve maximum ventilation, and is made easier by a well-balanced hood that doesn't drag the jacket back too much when partially (or fully) unzipped. Additional venting options are cleverly hidden in the hand pockets.
The pockets are made of holey mesh material reminiscent of an old-school gym jersey, and can be left open to allow airflow to your core without unzipping the entire jacket. This is a great solution for moderately intense activities on cold days, like hiking to a fall summit or snowshoeing on a spring day.
The ability to adequately layer the Kyanite is dependent on getting the right fit. As a cozy, loose jacket that feels like a sweatshirt, it can be tempting — and extremely comfortable — to get it in a larger size that ends up more difficult to layer. If sized too small and too tightly fitted against your body, less room remains for comfortable layering underneath against the soft but grippy fleece interior. However, its extra stretch allowed us to wear the Kyanite as an outer layer over some truly bulky clothing, though it wasn't particularly comfortable.
Here again, as a looser-fitting article of clothing, some outer layers are difficult to layer over the top. A slim-cut windbreaker layered overtop created some odd bulges. However, the exterior surface of the Kyanite is smooth and sleek, and thicker coats and shells slide over the top of it with ease. We like the Kyanite most when worn alone as a sweatshirt layer, but it can be layered if the fit is right for your body shape.
Should You Buy the Arc'teryx Kyanite?
As one of the most expensive fleeces in our lineup, the Kyanite might not be the right choice for everyone. It lacks the thumbholes or additional pockets that some technical users might crave for wearing with a hip belt or keeping wrists protected while climbing. However, for general comfort and use, we adore wearing the Kyanite. Its protection, warmth, and stretchable comfort made it a favorite for many casual activities, from hiking and camping to sleeping on airplanes and lounging around after a big holiday dinner.
What Other Fleece Jackets Should You Consider?
The Arc'teryx Kyanite is a superbly comfortable, stretchy, and warm fleece. If you want thumbholes, consider the REI Hyperaxis 2.0. Or if you want something a little lighter and more packable that's still warm and comfy, the Patagonia R1 Air might be the jacket you crave. But if you want the coziest zippered sweatshirt we've found that still protects and performs like a technical layer, the Kyanite Hoody is our favorite choice.
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