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Arc'teryx Sentinel AR - Women's Review

A high-tech, durable, and weather-resistant resort shell that stands out above the competition
Arc'teryx Sentinel AR - Women's
Photo: Arc'teryx
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $675 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Durable, weather resistant, stylish, breathable, refined
Cons:  Expensive, powder skirt non-removable
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Jacqueline Kearney ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 7, 2020
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 12
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 9
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 8
  • Warmth - 20% 5
  • Ventilation - 20% 8
  • Style - 10% 9
  • Features - 10% 8

Our Verdict

Arc'teryx is known for making some of the most high-end weather-resistant gear on the market, and the Sentinel AR is no different. "AR" stands for "all-round," and this bomb proof shell really feels like it can do it all. The hefty Gore-Tex 70 denier shell construction feels impermeable to wind and moisture, and the fully taped seams and watertight zippers leave very little room for error. It was hard to deny how well protected from the elements we felt when wearing the Sentinel AR. All of this sleek and high tech construction comes with a noticeable price tag, however, which may or may not be worth it depending on your frequency of use and budget. If you're looking for the best resort shell, this should be at the top of your list.

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Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
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$199.96 at Amazon
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Pros Durable, weather resistant, stylish, breathable, refinedTop quality, good looking, warm, comfortable, useful featuresBreathable, versatile, comfortable, strong value, classic lookWarm, three jackets in one, well-constructed with thoughtful featuresInexpensive, stylish, warm, stretchy and comfortable
Cons Expensive, powder skirt non-removableExpensive, not very breathableNo insulationSlim fit, heavyNot the most water resistant, runs a little small, not very breathable
Bottom Line A high-tech, durable, and weather-resistant resort shell that stands out above the competitionWarm, cozy, good looking, and comfortable, this is a great jacket for resort skiing that comes at a high costA sleek and technical backcountry shell with enough stretch, space, and breathability to be extremely versatile at a fair priceThis jacket is versatile and has all the necessary ski features for a long day on the hillAn inexpensive, synthetically insulated shell to keep you warm, dry, and stylish without breaking the bank
Rating Categories Sentinel AR Primo Puff Black Diamond Recon... Thermoball Eco Snow... Columbia Wild Card...
Weather Resistance (20%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Comfort And Fit (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Warmth (20%)
5.0
9.0
4.0
8.0
7.0
Ventilation (20%)
8.0
6.0
9.0
4.0
5.0
Style (10%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Features (10%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Sentinel AR Primo Puff Black Diamond Recon... Thermoball Eco Snow... Columbia Wild Card...
Insulation Flannel backer 65g PlumaFill None PrimaLoft ThermoBall Eco 60g Omni-Heat
Waterproofing Gore-Tex Gore-Tex 2L BD.dry DryVent 2L Omni-Tech
Weight (in pounds) 1.3 lbs 2.0 lbs 1.5 lbs 2.3 lbs 2.1 lbs
# of Pockets 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered pass, one internal mesh, 1 zippered internal 2 hand, 1 chest, 1 internal 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered pass, 1 zippered chest, 2 internal mesh 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered sleeve (goggle-wipe), 1 internal goggle, [liner] 2 zippered hand 2 zippered hand, 2 zippered chest, 1 zippered pass, one internal mesh, 1 zippered internal
Main Fabric 70D nylon 100% recycled polyester plain-weave GORE-TEX fabric with stretch 84% nylon, 16% elastane 100% recycled polyester, DWR treatment Omni-Tech Lux Stretch 94% Polyester/ 6% Elastane
Unique Features RECCO, higher zippered hand pockets, gaping pit zips hood has laminated visor; watertight zippers; RECCO reflector removable powder skirt, 4-way stretch shell 3 jackets in 1, zippered hand pockets, outer layer has "mechanical stretch", side-zip venting mesh lined pit zips, headphone port, built-in spandex wrist gaiters
Hood Option? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pit Zips? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cuff construction Velcro Velcro Velcro Velcro Velcro with wrist gaiters
Ski features Powder skirt, hem cinch, pass pocket, helmet compatible hood Powder skirt, helmet compatible hood Powder skirt, hem cinch, pass pocket, helmet compatible hood Powder skirt, helmet compatible hood, goggle pocket Powder skirt, hem cinch, pass pocket, helmet compatible hood

Our Analysis and Test Results

Arc'teryx is known for consistently producing some of the best weather-resistant gear on the market, and the Sentinel AR truly fits this mold. This jacket was in a league of its own here against jackets that performed similarly in other areas. We also found the features of this jacket to be a perfect mix between resort features and the vetted simplicity of many backcountry-specific products. For us, the slightly stiff feel of the 3L construction of this shell was quickly forgotten when put to the test. This jacket seals out wind and moisture in a streamlined and functional style. We also received many compliments on the color and slightly tapered cut of the Sentinel AR.

Performance Comparison


The Sentinel AR reliably keeping snow and wind out on an early...
The Sentinel AR reliably keeping snow and wind out on an early season surprise powder day.

Weather Resistance


The Sentinel AR, like many Arc'teryx products, is second to none in weather resistance. The heavier DWR treated 3L Gore-Tex shell cut out wind and kept us dry for hours on end with its 28,000mm waterproof rated ability. This material feels burly and consistently beaded moisture all day long. The fully taped seams and zippers taped in instead of sewed eliminate the potential for leaks. Additionally, the Arc'teryx specific water-resistant "Watertight" zippers on all closures and pockets help keep you and your belongings drier longer.


The oversized helmet-compatible hood feels bombproof when quickly cinched down with exterior drawcords on the collar and back of the hood. The location of these adjustments means you do not have to remove your gloves to adjust them quickly. We find that the high collar comfortably zips up and protects our face well even if we aren't wearing a buff. Additionally, this function allows us to adjust the hood to an appropriate tightness even without a helmet underneath. At the base of the jacket, an adjustable hem and snug-fitting powder skirt keeps snow and wind out.

The Sentinel AR comes up high enough to protect your face, but can...
The Sentinel AR comes up high enough to protect your face, but can be adjusted to stay out of your face even if you are not wearing a helmet.

Comfort and Fit


We find that this jacket is true to size and fits well as a shell, leaving just enough room for one or two insulating layers to fit comfortably. The size of the hood is also comfortable, fitting well over helmets with the two drawcords allowing for a custom fit. The slight taper of this jacket is flattering but does not restrict movement and leaves plenty of room around the hips. The cut also leaves room in the shoulders, which can often be a tight spot in women's specific cuts. The flannel backer on the Gore-Tex Sentinel AR shell sits softly against the skin and prevents any stickiness or clamminess.


We did find the Gore-Tex to feel initially stiff, but then found it did not restrict our movement unless we really stuffed the jacket full of layers. Part of this is due to the articulated elbow sewing and gusseted armpits of the jacket, a smart adjustment for the rigid, durable fabric from the Arc'teryx folks.

The Sentinel AR moving freely on the uphill, we really liked the...
The Sentinel AR moving freely on the uphill, we really liked the articulated elbows for added mobility.

Warmth


There isn't too much to say about the warmth of this jacket, as its shell design also means the Sentinel AR does not have any additional insulation. However, the flannel backer provides a minimal extra layer compared to some other shells, and we found the excellent windproof qualities of this material greatly improved our warmth when paired with an insulating layer.


The fuzzy thermal lining is the only insulation on the Sentinel AR.
The fuzzy thermal lining is the only insulation on the Sentinel AR.

Ventilation


The Sentinel AR does not have any insulation in the way to prevent heat and moisture from reaching the breathable Gore-Tex membrane. We found that we could begin working hard and that the jacket allowed us to do so and let our heat escape as we began to exert more energy while bootpacking.


While the powder skirt is not removable, it does connect to the body of the shell with mesh, which we find provides minimal increased airflow. To really increase airflow and keep the sweat at bay, we reached for the gaping, open pit zips, which provide great relief. The large pit zips don't have a mesh lining, so airflow is maximized. We find this to be a crucial aspect of shell ski jackets, and the Sentinel doesn't disappoint.

The Sentinel AR has some of the largest open pit zips we tested and...
The Sentinel AR has some of the largest open pit zips we tested and they greatly improved airflow without having to unzip the jacket.

Style


Where the Sentinel AR really nails it in its slightly tapered cut and longer hemline. It looks and feels refined in a sea of boxy, less flattering ski jackets. It feels like the perfect balance between a feminine freeride look and a functional ski shell. Combined with taped, matching zippers and a wide range of muted to bright color options, you'll stand out ripping around the hill and town. We received many compliments on this shell.


The Sentinel AR stands out on the slopes, even from far away.
The Sentinel AR stands out on the slopes, even from far away.

Ski Features


The most stand-out features on this jacket are the strategically located pockets. A tall and narrower interior drop pocket kept goggles, skins, or snacks smoothly against our frame, and a small, stretchy, thin interior zip pocket kept valuables tight. Additionally, the hand pockets are located slightly higher on the torso, which allows for easy access even if you are wearing a pack. This was great for deep days when we wanted to carry avalanche rescue equipment or extra layers and lunch.


The powder skirt with mesh functions adequately, but we wish it could snap away or, even better, be removable. Here there is also the interesting "Slide'n'Loc" feature, which connects pants to the inside of the powder skirt. However, we could not evaluate its function as it is only compatible with matching Arc'teryx pants.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Value


You get what you pay for with this jacket. We love how secure this jacket makes you feel from the elements, and how its sleek design can transition to backcountry use. If you are in the market to spend big, you will certainly not be disappointed with the quality of this jacket, but there are other options that perform almost as well at a fraction of the price. That being said, you may make up for the expense in the years that this jacket lasts you, as it seems extremely durable. You may also be able to fill two roles with this jacket if you are also looking for an occasional backcountry hardshell.

Conclusion


If you are looking for a high-end, top-of-the-line hardshell jacket and are ready to invest like it, the Arc'teryx Sentinel AR might just be for you. Both its materials and construction give it a bombproof feel, helping you seize on free refills of powder on storm days. Its sleek construction stands out on and off the ski hill, too, in a good way. If the price tag is not for you, there are many other comparable options in this review. However, if skiing is your life and you are ready to make an outerwear investment, then the Sentinel AR is worth it.

The Sentinel AR won't disappoint you, and in our estimation, it...
The Sentinel AR won't disappoint you, and in our estimation, it should last you for many years to come.

Jacqueline Kearney