Arc'teryx's attention to detail, quality construction, and high-end materials are apparent in the Andessa jacket. This jacket has all the little comforts and details we love in a ski jacket, such as a removable snowskirt, stretchy shell material, and Recco avalanche technology. The Andessa is super warm and comfortable and we had trouble getting it back from one of our testers, she loved it so much. The insulation in this jacket is very clever. It has 750 fill power down around the core areas for primary insulating warmth and Coreloft synthetic insulation in the areas that receive more abrasion and more moisture, like the sleeves, underarms, and zipper areas, to keep these areas warm even when the jacket is compressed and wet.The 2016 Andessa jacket has a more form-flattering cut than the previous model we tested, but seems to fit rather small.
Arc'teryx Andessa Review
Cons: Fits small, hood and collar fit tight with a helmet, expensive
Our Analysis and Test Results
This intelligently designed jacket with strategically placed 750 fill down and synthetic insulation will keep you warm, dry, and high functioning on the coldest of days at the resort.
Due to the waterproof/breathable 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric with a durable water-resistant coating (DWR) that is tried and true for water repellency, and the perfectly taped and welded seams to keep water out, the Andessa is very water resistant. It kept us dry during all types of precipitation and its extra features like the watertight zipper and taped seams made us feel extra secure.
The hood just barely fits over a ski helmet, unlike the cavernous Sentinel hood, and we prefer the Sentinel's easy to use hood drawcords that are found on the outside of the jacket and can be pulled with gloves. To tighten the Andessa's hood you need to unzip the collar of the jacket and reach inside. Despite the outside flap that covers the zipper we did notice a draft through the font of the jacket when we were travelling downhill and on very windy days on the chair lift.
The Gore-Tex membrane of the Andessa is relatively breathable. We like its mesh-backed pit-zips for extra ventilation when working hard on powder days. They allow for extra air circulation but kept unwanted snow out. Meshed back pit-zips allow slightly less air circulation than non-mesh backed, like the ones found on the Mountain Hardwear Barnsie.
The Andessa Jacket is at the front of the pack for warmth. Its quality 750 fill down insulation kept us very warm on the coldest days of sitting on the chair lifts. We love that the hood is also insulated with down and it fits over a ski helmet, which seals in body heat on the coldest days. Arc'teryx uses a process called "Down Composite Mapping" to strategically place synthetic insulation in areas that are prone to moisture (like the underarms and hem) so these areas will still retain loft when they get wet. Down insulation is placed in the areas (like our core) that need the most warmth.
We could really see the effect of the body mapped down insulation when we used our infrared camera to see where the heat was escaping, and we could clearly see where the down insulation was keeping our core warm.
The Andessa Jacket has almost every ski feature you can think of: notably a removable snow skirt and Recco Avalanche Rescue Technology (an extra safety feature for those who will be skiing the big lines in-bounds.) Find out more about Recco in our Buying Advice article. The Andessa also has all the pockets you could ask for, including a large interior mesh goggle pocket, interior zipper pocket with a key clip, and a pass pocket. We wish it had a media pocket that was headphone compatible, but other than that the Andessa has everything we needed.
We like how clean and simple the Andessa looks. This year Arc'teryx has somehow managed to squeeze all that down insulation into a more flattering package than the previous version we tested. If you are looking for a more understated, stylish jacket, the Andessa could be the one for you. We also wish it came in a few more colors, it is currently only offered in three choices. If you're looking to stand out on the slopes we recommend the very stylish Orage Nina.
Comfort and Fit
We love the soft feel and stretch of the Andessa's shell material and think it is very comfortable. Because of the stretch, the jacket moves well with the wearer when while skiing. Our main fit complaint is that when the hood is pulled up over a helmet, there is not enough room in the front neck area of the jacket to zip it all the way up. It feels very confining around the neck and face, and could use a little more space in that area. Overall the Andessa seems to fit a little small. Our tester who is normally a size small found that the medium size jacket fits her well, and our medium sized tester found the medium jacket a little snug, especially when she wore an extra layer underneath, so we recommend sizing up.
The Andessa is made for resort skiing or snowboarding, especially in cold climates. This could also be a great jacket for any outdoor activity when it is really cold, like dog sledding, tobogganing, or just getting around town.
Arc'teryx is notorious for their high-quality products, and they are also notorious for their high prices. The Andessa retails for $875, which is more than any pair of skis in our Women's All Mountain Ski Review, and we think this is a little pricey for what you are getting. For a jacket with great ski features and down insulation, the Patagonia Primo Down Jacket - Women's and the Columbia First Tracks 860 better value for your money.
The Andessa jacket is a high quality, high price jacket with lots of little details to keep you warm and functioning well at the ski resort. It is super warm, water resistant, and comfortable, but you may want to size up. We like its great ski features such as the removable powder skirt, Recco technology, and many pockets. The 2016 version is a more flattering version and we think it has a sleek, understated style.
— Jessica Haist