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Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody - Women's Review

If you regularly run in the rain, you won't be disappointed with this ultralight Gore-Tex superstar
Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody - Women's
Photo: Arc'teryx
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $325 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Weather-proof, comfortable, well-featured
Cons:  Expensive, less breathable
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Ally Meller ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 25, 2021
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 11
  • Breathability - 30% 4
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 9
  • Comfort and Mobility - 20% 8
  • Portability - 15% 8
  • Features - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Arc'terx Norvan SL Hoody is the creme de la creme of all weather-proof running jackets. This jacket's Gore-Tex ShakeDry exterior easily repels water and causes it to bead up and drain off long before soaking into the material. Because of this jacket's incredible features and water resistance, we awarded it one of our Top Pick Awards for its weatherproof construction. Although it's quite a bit pricier than most models, if you are in the market for an exceptionally waterproof jacket that is super light and packable, look no further than the Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody.

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Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
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Check Price at REI
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$130 List$129.00 at AmazonCheck Price at REI
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Pros Weather-proof, comfortable, well-featuredBreathable, comfortable, great featuresSuper comfortable, breathableIncredibly lightweight, breathableLightweight, comfortable, flattering, breathable, semi water-resistant
Cons Expensive, less breathableNot the warmestLess weather protection, no pocketsFew features, no hoodNot very warm
Bottom Line If you regularly run in the rain, you won't be disappointed with this ultralight Gore-Tex superstarA comfortable, breathable jacket that is well-equipped with great features for any runnerThis is a wildly comfortable and breathable jacket that's simple and effectiveAn incredibly light and breathable jacket ideal for fast and light alpine missionsAn affordable and surprisingly functional running jacket that is loaded with unexpected features
Rating Categories Norvan SL Hoody Merino Sport Ultra Light Hoody Airshed Pro Pullover Arc'teryx Cita SL - Women's Agile Full-Zip Hoodie
Breathability (30%)
4
8
9
8
8
Weather Resistance (20%)
9
8
5
7
6
Comfort And Mobility (20%)
8
7
9
7
8
Portability (15%)
8
7
8
10
6
Features (15%)
8
7
4
4
6
Specs Norvan SL Hoody Merino Sport Ultra... Airshed Pro Pullover Arc'teryx Cita SL... Agile Full-Zip...
Measured Weight (ounces, size Small) 4.1 oz 5.1 oz 4.1 oz 2.3 oz 5.2 oz
Number of Pockets 0 2 0 1 2
Main Material GORE-TEX ShakeDry Main body: 100% recycled nylon
Trim/lining: 54% Merino Wool, 46% Polyester
Capilene Cool polyester in sleeves and hood, nylon stretch taffeta shell 50% nylon, 50% polyester 88% polyester, 12% elastane, DWR finish
Unique Features Weather resistant body, not sleeves. Very thick, dual-material Merino wool panels, reflective material, media port Two-way zipper Two materials, sturdy collar Lightweight
Vent Type None Back and underarms Under arms Back and underarms None
Reflective Material? Yes Yes No No Yes
Hood? Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody stands in a league of its own as far as running jackets are concerned. This pricey piece is more like a ventilated, lightweight raincoat than the other running jackets we tested. If you need some serious rain protection, we cannot recommend this jacket enough. Read on to see if there is anything we didn't love about the Norvan Hoody.

Performance Comparison


When wet weather calls, all you have to do is zip up and keep...
When wet weather calls, all you have to do is zip up and keep cruising.
Photo: Ally Meller

Breathability


Oftentimes, we find that breathability comes at the price of weather resistance and vice versa. We do not mean to dissuade you, but the Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody is by no means the most breathable jacket in our lineup. On a warmer day, it absolutely feels like you wrapped yourself in a garbage bag. However, if rainy runs are in your future, this jacket will suit your needs perfectly. This lightweight Gore-Tex ShakeDry casing is svelte and nimble, giving it a great balance between breathability and waterproofness.


If you are a fairweather runner or don't see much precipitation, the Norvan Hoody won't be the top pick for you. But if you like to run no matter the weather, and the skies frequently open up on you, this jacket is a worthy investment. It heats up as you run, but there isn't another jacket you'll want on your team when the conditions are severe. This jacket has been thoughtfully designed to wick moisture while also providing a waterproof surface to keep you cruising.

It may not be the most breathable, but it is lightweight enough to...
It may not be the most breathable, but it is lightweight enough to not be stifling.
Photo: Ally Meller

Weather Resistance


We are so excited to write about the weather resistance of the Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody. We have never met a running jacket like this one. It is more like a shelter than a jacket. The entire jacket is made of Gore-Tex ShakeDry material, which makes raindrops bead on its surface immediately.


The Norvan Hoody is full of thoughtful features that add to its bombproof exterior. The wrist cuffs and waistband have elastic sewn in. This acts as a seal to help keep wet weather out.

No downpour can infiltrate the tough exterior of the Norvan SL Hoody.
No downpour can infiltrate the tough exterior of the Norvan SL Hoody.
Photo: Ally Meller

The hood is constructed with a small brim to keep rain from your eyes, and the front zipper zips high to encase your entire torso. No matter how much rain came down, our clothing under the Norvan never got wet. Furthermore, we love how well the Norvan blocks cold winds. As we are sure you know, nothing ruins the view from high atop an alpine peak like an icy breeze cutting through your clothing. The Norvan kept our body temps up even when the weather seemed to be against us on our most punishing runs.

The well-engineered hood offers rain protection when you need it most.
The well-engineered hood offers rain protection when you need it most.
Photo: Ally Meller


Comfort and Mobility


The technology of outdoor gear has come a long way. This is super apparent with the comfort and mobility of the Norvan SL Hoody. Gone are the days of noisy, stiff, trash bag-like jackets.


Despite its lack of elastic material in its body, the Norvan Hoody moves as you do. It isn't the softest jacket we've tested, but the softest jackets we know don't repel moisture at this high level.

We love that we have weather protection and full ranges of motion in...
We love that we have weather protection and full ranges of motion in the Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody.
Photo: Ally Meller

The Norvan Hoody offers a middle-ground type fit. While streamlined in its profile, it offers plenty of space to stack layers beneath it. But it is also incredibly comfortable to wear over a single, moisture-wicking layer. We tend to be really particular about the fit of the shoulder panels on running jackets. We love that we have plenty of space to thrive and move freely with this jacket on our backs. If you are looking for a soft and gentle jacket that repels a light mist, the Norvan will be way too much for you. The comfort and mobility of this jacket are great for what it is — an epically rugged trail runner's raincoat made for missions under extreme conditions. We love that we have found a jacket that provides the perfect balance between comfort and extreme weather protection.

The saturated streets of Seattle won't stop us from running in this...
The saturated streets of Seattle won't stop us from running in this jacket.
Photo: Ally Meller

Portability


Arc'teryx added watershed technology to omit the need for a double layer of fabric. This is part of why the Norvan SL Hoody is so light and packable. It weighs in at a mere 4.1 ounces for a women's size small and packs down to the size of a fist in its own personal pocket.


The Norvan is the jacket we keep in our running packs at all times. Even on days when the sun is shining, we stash this lightweight stunner into our packs just in case the weather turns.

The Norvan Hoody is a lightweight superstar. It weighs in at just...
The Norvan Hoody is a lightweight superstar. It weighs in at just 4.09 oz.
Photo: Ally Meller

Because it is so light and small when packed, we hardly notice it. We love the thoughtful pouch for stowing the jacket. Many of the jackets that we tested pack neatly into their own pockets. We like that the designers at Arc'teryx took it a step further and added a minuscule pouch with a drawstring for all of your compact stashing needs.

A helpful little storage pouch is always an added bonus.
A helpful little storage pouch is always an added bonus.
Photo: Ally Meller

Features


The Norvan SL Hoody features are a bit different from the features we are used to seeing on some of the popular running jackets. We have already outlined some of the bells and whistles put for by Arc'teryx in this jacket. We discussed the feather-weight storage pouch, the slight brim of the hood for added protection, and the elastic cuffing around the edges.


The Norvan also has reflective elements built into its design. While the entire jacket isn't reflective, the logos and zipper edges add a bit of sparkle to increase visibility. In addition to the brim of the hood, the hood can be rolled up and stashed out of the way with a single snap if you don't need it. The front of the hood has a soft cord you can cinch to further secure the water repellent hood in place.

The edging of the stashable hood is slightly reflective for safety.
The edging of the stashable hood is slightly reflective for safety.
Photo: Ally Meller

Value


A lot of crucial details come into play when assessing the value of a running jacket. We like to include micro-metrics, such as durability and the variety of functions. The Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody is, by far, the most expensive jacket we've reviewed for runners. Though the price tag is significant, we think that the Norvan is worth the money. As frugally minded as we are, this jacket rocks. Arc'teryx constructs incredibly durable products, and the Norvan Hoody follows suit by being profoundly rugged. Upon becoming acquainted with this jacket, we stopped wearing all of our other raincoats. Because the Norvan became our daily raincoat, we absolutely think that shelling out the (large) amount of cash is worth it in this case.

What can we say, we love epic weather protection.
What can we say, we love epic weather protection.
Photo: Ally Meller

Conclusion


The Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody is a sound choice for running in wet and windy conditions. From its thoughtful design details to its Gore-Tex water repellence, this protective jacket deserves one of our Top Pick Awards. The price tag is a bit daunting, but once you tackle a few rainy day runs in this jacket, we don't think you'll ever look back.

Rainy days and long runs in the Norvan have become two of our...
Rainy days and long runs in the Norvan have become two of our favorite things.
Photo: Ally Meller

Ally Meller