Sentinel AR vs. Sentinel
Arc'teryx divided their Sentinel line of women's skiwear into AR and LT versions. AR is code for "all-around" and LT for "lightweight". The AR is the replacement for the Sentinel we tested in this review. Though the differences are minor, there are some tweaks — mostly in the fit. Arc'teryx says the Sentinel AR is a bit longer than the Sentinel jacket, and is a smidge slimmer in the chest and waist but slightly more spacious in the hips. Peep the updated Sentinel AR in the first photo (olive green) next to the version we tested (yellow).
We're linking to the updated Sentinel AR, however, be aware that as we haven't tested it, we can't vouch for any of the updates. The following text is only in regards to the previous Sentinel.
Hands-On Review of the Sentinel
The lightest weight, most versatile, and softest feeling ski specific hardshell in this review, the Sentinel will guard you against the elements. It has excellent ski features, high-quality materials, and sleek, simple design.
The Sentinel is a great storm skiing jacket.
The Sentinel does a great job of protecting you from all kinds of weather. The 3-layer Gore-Tex shell material stops wind and moisture in their tracks. We think this is the perfect storm skiing jacket. The Sentinel's cavernous hood was our favorite, and you will be able to put it on over any ski helmet. The hood is super easy to adjust with the toggles at the collarbone to cinch it down — unlike the Arc'Teryx Tiya where the cord locks are on the inside of the hood and very difficult to adjust with gloves. We also like the Patagonia Untracked's hood adjustments, which are similar to the Sentinel.
The Sentinel kept us dry and protected skiing deep powder.
Comfort and Fit
The Sentinel is the most comfortable of the hard shells in this review. We love the soft feel of the N70p GORE-TEX Fabric used — it is much lighter weight, quieter, and more comfortable than the materials used in the Untracked jacket although the Billie Coat has improved its materials this year and are very similar to the Sentinel.
A common theme with Arc'teryx is that the fit is small. We think that the Sentinel is on the lower end of the size spectrum. It fits relatively true to size, but we would not call it's fit unusually "relaxed" like Arc'teryx claims. If you are a lady with a more hourglass shape, you may find your size slightly tight in the hips and should consider sizing up if you want to put a lot of layers on underneath.
The Sentinel's storm hood was our favorite of the bunch. It is huge and will fit over any ski helmet.
Arc'teryx has a certain simple, sleek appeal. This company's garments always look well tailored and well put-together. We think this stands true with the Sentinel. Although it is Arc'teryx's "relaxed fit" it is still the least baggy of the hardshells we tested. The Arc'teryx Tiya also has that fitted, sleek look, even though it is insulated with synthetic fill. The Sentinel has a nice long cut that can cover your behind. We tested the bright and cheerful golden poppy color, but have seen it start to stain and show dirt after time, especially from wearing a backpack. We think that the Flylow Billie Coat is the most stylish of the three hardshell jackets we tested.
The Sentinel has a long cut and tapered waistline. We wouldn't call it relaxed fit though.
We scored all the un-insulated shell jackets we reviewed the same in this department. None of them, including the Sentinel and the Billie Coat, are insulated, and they cannot be evaluated fairly in the warmth department against models with insulation. The Sentinel's shell material has a brushed "Flannel" backing, which some manufacturers (Patagonia) say add warmth, but we don't think it significantly increases the warmth of the Sentinel or the Untracked jackets.
Shell jackets are made to be a versatile layer where you can put as much or as little insulation on underneath depending upon the conditions. If you are looking for a quality, insulated jacket with Gore-Tex shell material, check out the Patagonia Primo Down - Women's or the Tiya
The Sentinel Jacket performs well at top speeds, we did not notice any drafts through the zipper.
Along with the Untracked - Women's, the Sentinel has the best ventilation of the bunch. It has watertight pit-zips that become gaping openings for venting. The Gore-Tex material seems to breathe relatively well, only producing a little bit of condensation inside when we sweat.
The Sentinel is the lightest model in this review and our choice to take ski touring.
We even took this jacket out for a high output cross-country ski and were able to vent enough that things didn't get wet inside the jacket. This bodes well for anyone who is looking for a good ski touring jacket where they'll be working hard on the up and the down.
We love the Sentinel paired with our Patagonia Untracked pants for ski touring. The Sentinel has huge pit zips for great venting on the uptrack.
Since this jacket is meant to be a "Big Mountain Skiing" jacket, Arc'teryx has paid close attention to the Sentinel's ski features. They have kept it simple and included the necessities, but nothing else. We appreciate this in the jacket because it is the lightest weight jacket in this review, and weight matters when you're schlepping yourself around under your own power in the backcountry.
The Sentinel has all the pockets you'll need: two large front handwarmer pockets, goggle and pass pockets, as well as an interior zipper pocket that has been laminated to protect your essential items like phones and wallets from moisture. The Sentinel also has an integrated powder skirt, that we wish was removable like the Primo Down and Billie Coat's are. Many jackets in this review can attach to ski pants to further fortify yourself from getting snow up your back. The Sentinel has a particular feature to do this that is only compatible with other Arc'teryx ski pants called the "Slide 'n Loc snap closure". This is great if you're only loyal to Arc'teryx, just make sure you're getting the right model of pant! We like the Untracked's powder skirt connection that just loops around your belt loops, although we think that snow can still find its way in there.
The Sentinel has all the necessary ski features you could ask for, including a goggle pocket and powder skirt. We wish the powder skirt was removable and had universal attachment systems to attach to any pants.
If you are looking for a mighty fortress of a shell layer that is relatively lightweight for backcountry forays, the Sentinel jacket is a great choice. We brought the Sentinel backcountry, cross-country, and resort skiing. This is the most versatile jacket in this review and could be a great choice if you want a jacket to take with you skiing in all climates, especially when you anticipate it being wet.
The Sentinel is quite pricey, retailing for $625. We think this is a decent value for your buck because it is made from high-quality materials and will last you a long time. If you're looking for a less expensive hardshell that is super stylish, check out the Billie Coat, or for a high functioning insulated jacket, the Armada Stadium.
The Sentinel is a great choice for getting in some backcountry turns.
This high quality ski specific shell will protect you from the elements like a good Sentinel should. It is the most versatile ski jacket we tested and allows you to choose your own layers for up and down, and it is easy to vent. It is lightweight and has all the ski features you will need to keep you high functioning on the ski hill, but no extra bells and whistles. It is a great storm skiing jacket, especially for someone who loves skiing powder! For resort, backcountry, and side country adventures the Sentinel has got your back.