Year after year, the Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody checks all the boxes of what a great softshell for cold weather should be. It's well-tailored, comfortable, decently breathable, and easy to move in. While this jacket isn't perfect for everything, we've found it to be one of the best choices for a broad range of non-summer activities — a layer you can take out without disappointment or frustration. The wrist cuffs are tight and not adjustable, and the hood is on the small side, but neither issue bothered us much when out in the field. The Gamma MX is also a bit heavy due to its lining, though that ups its weather protection considerably. The one major drawback with this shell is the price — it's the most expensive piece in our review. But if you're looking for a softshell for the long haul, a companion for many excursions over many years, this is an excellent candidate.
Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Easy mobility, breathable, helmet-compatible hood, excellent fit, comfortable
Cons: Pricey, non-adjustable cuffs
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Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody - Women's
|Price||$244.99 at Backcountry|
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|$123.35 at Amazon||$167.94 at Amazon|
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|$109.20 at Amazon||$154.99 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Easy mobility, breathable, helmet-compatible hood, excellent fit, comfortable||Highly breathable, quick-drying, harness and helmet compatible, stowable hood, durable||This is a cozy insulated hybrid ideal for situations when you need a bit more warmth in a lightweight package.||Very lightweight, excellent mobility, highly breathable, great fit, affordable.||Full-legth side zippers, excellent fit, windproof, lined, thumbholes|
|Cons||Pricey, non-adjustable cuffs||Not very warm, only one pocket||If you need need good breathability and all-around comfort, this insulated hybrid is a great option.||Not warm, only two pockets||Less breathable due to windproofing, expensive|
|Bottom Line||For the best all-around softshell we've found, look no further than this stretchy, breathable, and attractive layer.||This lightweight and streamlined pullover is a fabulously durable layer that breathes like a dream and dries lightning fast.||Insulated, comfortable, stretchy, lightweight||This smart and ultralight softshell is extremely easy to move in and highly breathable - an excellent pick for the movement-minded adventure seeker.||This innovative hoody ups the ante with great features like full-length side zips, fantastic mobility, and excellent weather protection.|
|Rating Categories||Gamma MX Hoody||Sigma SL Anorak Pullover||Proton FL Hoody||Rab Borealis - Women's||Ultimate V SO Hooded Jacket|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Specs||Gamma MX Hoody||Sigma SL Anorak...||Proton FL Hoody||Rab Borealis -...||Ultimate V SO...|
|Measured Weight - Size Medium (oz)||17.1oz||9.5oz||10.7oz (size Large)||8.3oz||13.1oz|
|Material||Fortius 2.0 - Face: 85% nylon, 15% elastane. Backer: 94% polyester, 6% elastane, DWR finish||Aequora Airperm - 86% nylon, 14% elastane||84% nylon, 16% elastane||Lightweight Matrix single weave with 2-way stretch and DWR||100% polyester|
|Hood||Yes, 2-way adjustable||Yes, 2-way adjustable||Yes, 1-way adjustable||Yes, stretchy but not adjustable||Yes, 1-way adjustable|
|Helmet Compatible?||Yes||Yes||Yes, under||Yes, under||Yes, under|
|Wind Resistant?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, windproof|
|Number of Pockets (zippered unless otherwise noted)||4 (2 hand, 1 chest, 1 sleeve)||1 chest||4 (2 hand, 2 chest)||2 hand||2 hand|
|Available Sizes||XS - L||XS - L||XS - XL||XS - XL||XS - XXL|
Our Analysis and Test Results
A stretchy and deluxe softshell, the Gamma MX Hoody is an ideal piece for activities that require a lot of movement and a little extra weather protection. It earns high marks season because of its lavish comfort and competent wind and water resistance.
The MX designation on this shell stands for 'mixed weather,' and that's where it excels. The Gamma MX provides mixed usage protection in changing weather conditions. It sheds water for a time and blocks a decent amount of wind, though it won't shelter you from a severe storm or downpour. In that situation, you would want a hardshell. Outfitted with a DWR finish that beads and sheds water, and a hood that cinches down to block against windy weather, this jacket is a solid performer through all kinds of cold and windy swing season activities. If you want to add a softshell to your wardrobe that you can feel confident about and that will last for many years, this is a fantastic choice.
The Gamma MX is adequately breathable, particularly when you consider that it has a lining and is on the heavy side. It strikes an excellent balance between protection and ventilation — whether biking, skiing, running, or hiking in the glacial alpine, it allows the body to breathe better than most other lined options. As a bonus, if you are working hard and need more airflow, you can unzip the sizeable mesh-lined hand pockets to use them as vents, a helpful detail that we appreciate.
Mobility is another area where this shell excels due to top-notch tailoring. With underarm gussets, articulated elbows, and lush stretchy fabric, the Gamma MX is easy to move in and an overall joy to wear. It doesn't ride up when you raise your arms, and it moves expertly along with you during all types of activities. Whether hiking, cross-country skiing, ice climbing, or just running around town, this layer is comfortable and non-restrictive. When worn over a helmet, the hood is slightly tighter than on other models, but not enough to cause discomfort or irritation.
The insulative lining of this jacket adds a bit of weight, landing the Gamma in the lower half of our test suite. However, at 17.1 ounces, we don't consider this shell so heavy as to be cumbersome. We have no reservations about recommending it for long days in the mountains. While it's considerably bulkier than other options in our review, the silver-lining is farm better weather protection.
The Gamma MX offers excellent features suitable to the ice climber, backcountry skier, or general swing season athlete. It has a slim and contoured fit that provides a flattering profile for all manner of activities, remote or urban. The helmet-compatible hood adjusts for volume in the back and around the face and features a stiff, laminated brim, which helps keep it firmly in place on a helmet. It also aids in blocking sun and rain from the eyes. It fits over a helmet fairly easily and also adjusts down to fit well over a bare head.
The Gamma has four pockets — one laminated sleeve pocket, one garaged chest pocket, and two hand pockets. While it's a little tight, the hand pockets are indeed accessible if you're wearing a harness. The stretch-woven cuffs are not adjustable, so they can't be tightened around glove cuffs, but they do slide smoothly underneath gloves with a long gauntlet.
The construction quality of this piece is very high, with well-thought-out and useful details. It has a durable, thick wind flap behind the easy-to-use zipper that prevents snagging and that also blocks cold air from coming inside. The material by the face is a very soft fleece which prevents chin chap when the hood is cinched down. The fabric is easy to keep new-looking, and the available colors are fun and appealing. We felt at ease, natural, and even a bit classy wearing the Gamma MX from the mountains to the grocery store to drinks with friends.
This is the most expensive jacket in our review, making it a commitment to purchase. However, paying a luxury price for an excellent item can be worthwhile. This piece is exceptionally comfortable, which is one of the main things you want in a softshell. If you decide to throw down and purchase the Gamma MX, we don't think you will be disappointed. Making your investment even more worthwhile is the fact that this jacket is extremely durable, and the classic look is likely to remain stylish for years to come.
A high-end softshell, the stretchy Gamma MX Hoody offers excellent weather protection, mobility, and comfort. We think this piece illustrates some of the best and most desirable characteristics of a cool-weather softshell.
— Penney Garrett