Outdoor Research Archangel - Women's Review
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Outdoor Research Archangel - Women's
|Price||$389.37 at Backcountry|
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|$649 List||$599.00 at Amazon|
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Check Price at Amazon
$399.00 at Backcountry
|Pros||Durable, generous coverage, lightweight and breathable||Lightweight, breathable, fully featured, durable||Great range of motion, lightweight, great weather protection, versatile||Comfortable, durable, breathable, simple||Durable, comfortable, versatile|
|Cons||Large zippers can be difficult to operate, lack of storm flaps allow water inside||Not the lightest on the market||Shorter torso length, some features overdone||Fewer overall features, less versatile||Shorter back length limits use in extreme weather|
|Bottom Line||A good hardshell for rugged alpine environments where rain won't be a threat to the zippers||An incredibly versatile model that is competent for a wide range of adventures||An excellent all-around shell jacket for most mountain uses||This is a remarkably weatherproof stretchy hardshell that feels more like a softshell||This a versatile, durable hardshell offers a lot for a reasonable price|
|Rating Categories||Outdoor Research Ar...||Norrona Trollveggen...||Arc'teryx Beta AR||Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0||Patagonia Triolet -...|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Mobility and Fit (20%)|
|Venting and Breathability (20%)|
|Features and Design (10%)|
|Specs||Outdoor Research Ar...||Norrona Trollveggen...||Arc'teryx Beta AR||Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0||Patagonia Triolet -...|
|Measured Weight||16.3 oz||13 oz||13.4 oz||12.5 oz||16.4 oz|
|Length of back, from base of neck to bottom||27 in||28 in||26 in||26 in||26 in|
|Material||Gore-Tex Pro 3L, 100% nylon 70D plainweave face with nylon woven backing, Gore-Tex Pro with stretch, 90% nylon 10% polyurethane 40D stretch plainweave face with 100% nylon woven backer panels||40D Gore-Tex Pro fabric||N40d 3L Gore-Tex (body)
N80d 3L Gore-Tex Pro (arms)
|3L recycled polyester knit face with PU membrane and recycled polyester backer/Proflex||3L 75D 100% recycled polyester Gore-Tex shell with a waterproof/breathable barrier and DWR finish|
|Pockets||1 interior chest, 2 hand||2 chest, 1 interior chest||2 handwarmer, 1 internal chest||1 internal chest, 2 hand||2 external chest, 2 hand, 1 interior mesh bucket|
|Helmet Compatible Hood||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Harness and Hip Belt Compatible||Yes, high pockets||Yes, high pockets||Yes, high pockets||Yes, high pockets||Yes, high pockets|
|Drawcords||3 hood, 1 waist||1 hood, 2 waist||4 hood, 2 waist||3 hood, 2 waist||3 hood, 2 waist|
|Adjustable Cuffs||Yes, Velcro||Yes, Velcro||Yes, Velcro||Yes, Velcro||Yes, Velcro|
|Two-Way Front Zipper||Yes||No||No||Yes||No|
|Warranty Policy||Infinite Guarantee||5 year - production and material defects||Practical lifetime warranty - Material or workmanship defects will be replaced or repaired at Arc'teryx's discretion||Guarantee covers the original owner with proof of purchase, for the usable lifetime of the product||Ironclad Guarantee|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Outdoor Research Archangel is a durable hardshell made of great materials, with a few notable features that limit its versatility.
The Archangel uses some of the highest quality hardshell fabric in the industry–3L Gore-Tex Pro fabric. This is a stiff and tough hardshell material that will weather many storms. The material, however, doesn't tell the whole story of how well a jacket does at keeping the weather out, and there were a few design features in the jacket that raised concern.
The main front zipper has a storm flap behind it to keep the wetness out, but the hand pockets and pit zips do not. This jacket is designed for cold and burly weather, so the interaction of this jacket with precipitation in a liquid form is perhaps less critical. However, the mountains do wild weather things, and we want to be ready for it all. In our testing, rain easily snuck through these zippers. In the pockets, there is still a waterproof layer to keep the moisture off your body (but not off the contents in the pocket), but in the pit zips, drips will leak right through.
Mobility and Fit
The Archangel is in the category of stiffer, burlier hardshell jackets. As such, it is a bit looser to allow full range of motion, but the overall cut is comfortable and reasonable for technical climbing and skiing maneuvers. The pit zips have very large teeth, making the underarms feel much stiffer. We often felt the zipper curl and flex under our arm, which was not the most comfortable feeling and could have been avoided with a smaller and more supple zipper. The large teeth also made this zipper more difficult to operate at that weird underarm angle.
Venting and Breathability
The Archangel uses top-notch waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex Pro, as burly as you can get while remaining reasonably breathable. This jacket also features pit zips to help to shed excess heat in a hurry. Typically we like this feature, but the large teeth and lack of storm flap or waterproof zippers here raised concern for the permeability of the jacket in really wet weather. Indeed, in our testing, liquid water runs right through these zippers. In frozen climates, however, where liquid precip is not a thing, this permeability may be a boon to the underarm ventilation, even when not unzipped!
The OR Archangel is one of the heavier jackets we tested and is designed to provide a bit more coverage with a longer back length and generous hood, making it feel more like an expedition hardshell model.
Features and Design
The Archangel has an excellent hood with a brim that easily accommodates a helmet. The adjustments to hem and hood are easy, though the cinches are external on the hood — not our favorite because of the potential for snow and ice buildup. There is an internal chest pocket, though it is small and just barely fits a midsized smartphone.
The jacket has big-toothed zippers throughout. For the main zipper, we like this, and it has a storm flap behind it to keep precip out. However, the hand pockets and pit zips do not have a storm flap, and these larger teeth easily let water through. This is not a great feature and knocks this jacket down significantly in this review, while there are many other things we really like about it. With a few tweaks to these problem areas, we imagine this jacket would score quite a bit higher in our review.
Should You Buy the Outdoor Research Archangel?
The Archangel is made of high-quality materials with a few details that might be important and limiting for some users. The pit zips are not waterproof, and the bigger size reduces mobility and comfort in some arm movements. For cold regions, this jacket may still be a good choice, given its burly materials, good breathability, generous coverage with back length and a big hood.
What Other Hardshell Jackets Should You Consider?
If you're looking for good storm coverage in your hardshell jacket, consider the Mammut Nordwand Pro HS for its similarly long back length and generous coverage to keep the storm out, including a powder skirt. If your activities trend to the milder or lighter end of the hardshell spectrum, the Patagonia Triolet is a burly shell in a svelte package, packing a lot of performance into a simple and sleek garment.
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