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Arc'teryx Sigma SL Anorak Pullover - Women's Review

This lightweight and streamlined pullover is a fabulously durable layer that breathes like a dream and dries lightning fast.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $179 List | $123.33 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Highly breathable, quick-drying, harness and helmet compatible, stowable hood, durable
Cons:  Not very warm, only one pocket
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 22, 2019
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81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 14
  • Weather Protection - 30% 8
  • Breathability - 30% 8
  • Mobility - 25% 8
  • Weight - 10% 9
  • Versatility - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Sigma SL Anorak Pullover breezed through our testing criteria like a pro, solidifying its place at the front of the pack and securing an Editors' Choice award. We found this layer to be our favorite softshell for warmer weather activities like rock climbing, hiking, trail running, and cycling. The material is durable and protective without feeling overly stiff or scratchy on bare skin. Providing more-than-adequate wind and water resistance, it dries super fast if you get caught in a spring rain shower or are dripping sweat. The deep front zip allows for easy ventilation, the cut offers great mobility, and the features are just right without being overkill. If you want something to take on all your warm-weather activities, we highly recommend the Sigma.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $123.33 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Highly breathable, quick-drying, harness and helmet compatible, stowable hood, durableThis 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, thumbholesEasy mobility, breathable, helmet-compatible hood, excellent fit, comfortable
Cons Not very warm, only one pocketIf you need need good breathability and all-around comfort, this insulated hybrid is a great option.Not warm, only two pocketsLess breathable due to windproofing, expensivePricey, non-adjustable cuffs
Bottom Line This lightweight and streamlined pullover is a fabulously durable layer that breathes like a dream and dries lightning fast.Insulated, comfortable, stretchy, lightweightThis 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.For the best all-around softshell we've found, look no further than this stretchy, breathable, and attractive layer.
Rating Categories Sigma SL Anorak Pullover Proton FL Hoody Rab Borealis - Women's Ultimate V SO Hooded Jacket Gamma MX Hoody
Weather Protection (30%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
9
Breathability (30%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
6
Mobility (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
6
Versatility (5%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
Specs Sigma SL Anorak... Proton FL Hoody Rab Borealis -... Ultimate V SO... Gamma MX Hoody
Measured Weight - Size Medium (oz) 9.5oz 10.7oz (size Large) 8.3oz 13.1oz 17.1oz
Material Aequora Airperm - 86% nylon, 14% elastane 84% nylon, 16% elastane Lightweight Matrix single weave with 2-way stretch and DWR 100% polyester Fortius 2.0 - Face: 85% nylon, 15% elastane. Backer: 94% polyester, 6% elastane, DWR finish
Lined/Insulated? No Yes No Yes Yes
Hood Yes, 2-way adjustable Yes, 1-way adjustable Yes, stretchy but not adjustable Yes, 1-way adjustable Yes, 2-way adjustable
Helmet Compatible? Yes Yes, under Yes, under Yes, under Yes
Wind Resistant? Yes Yes Yes Yes, windproof Yes
Water Resistant? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Number of Pockets (zippered unless otherwise noted) 1 chest 4 (2 hand, 2 chest) 2 hand 2 hand 4 (2 hand, 1 chest, 1 sleeve)
Adjustable Cuffs? No No No Yes No
Available Sizes XS - L XS - XL XS - XL XS - XXL XS - L

Our Analysis and Test Results

If you're looking for a layer to breathe, move, and become like a second skin on your next big adventure, this one might be just the ticket.

Performance Comparison


Optimized for climbing  the Sigma Anorak is a great technical layer to consider owning.
Optimized for climbing, the Sigma Anorak is a great technical layer to consider owning.

Weather Protection


While not meant for super serious cold or stormy weather, the Sigma still provides admirable wind and water protection, particularly if you're working hard and the water is coming down in the form of light drizzle or fluffy snow.


We felt decently protected in this pullover despite how thin and light it is. Its wind resistance is apparent, and it repels water well if it's not coming down too hard or fast. And, when the Sigma does get wet, it dries almost supernaturally fast. With the breathable nature of the fabric, (a tightly woven proprietary material called Aequora Airperm), this is also a great piece to use as a sun layer when you don't want to get scorched. And while not meant for super cold temps, the slim cut means it's easy to layer under something more substantial if needed.

This pullover is fantastic for those spring and fall days where it's chilly and windy one moment and blazing hot from the sun the next.
This pullover is fantastic for those spring and fall days where it's chilly and windy one moment and blazing hot from the sun the next.

Breathability


The Sigma breathes well during cardio-intensive activities and warmer days, though venting options are more limited due to the pullover design. While some will find it suitable for things like trail running on cooler days, it's better suited for slightly slower-paced activities like climbing or hiking.



This pullover offers an impressive trifecta of breathability, protection, and quick-drying material. Whether it's super sunny or you're working up a sweat (or both!), you won't feel overly stifled, and wet spots will dry fast. But, magically, when a crisp breeze rolls in, you'll also feel protected. It's kind of amazing that one layer can handle so many different scenarios so well. Climbing in the spring, it was especially easy to appreciate the Sigma because it can handle the quick changes of temperature, sun, wind, and body temp.

The Sigma is incredibly breathable and the deep front zip allows for even more ventilation when necessary.
The Sigma is incredibly breathable and the deep front zip allows for even more ventilation when necessary.

Mobility


Another area of excellence for the Sigma Anorak. Created with a lightweight four-way stretch material that is both highly abrasion-resistant and easy to move in, you'll be happy in this layer no matter what your activity of choice is.


When handling this pullover, the material doesn't feel overly stretchy. But once on the body, it moves fluidly and gracefully. The slim cut means it stays close to the body and out of the way without being constrictive. Special inserts in the hemline keep everything tucked neatly below a harness. The hood has a button to roll it up and stow it away if you don't want the extra material hanging behind you. The only reason we didn't award the Sigma a higher score is because we felt a bit of snugness across the shoulders when pulling it on and off. This piece is created primarily for climbers, but they tend to be bigger and broader across that area. Despite this, we feel it runs true to size. It's just something to be aware of if your upper back muscles are mega swole and you're ordering online — you might want to size up.

Stretchy and expertly tailored  the Sigma is a delight to climb and move in.
Stretchy and expertly tailored, the Sigma is a delight to climb and move in.

Weight


The Sigma has an "SL" designation, which stands for "super light" — and at just 9.5 ounces for a size medium, it certainly is!


Arc'teryx says the emphasis for this jacket is on lightweight and packability. That, coupled with its durability, make it a great alpine layer. Even if space is at a premium and your bag is full, there's probably room to stuff this layer in a nook or cranny. We guess that you'll be glad you did.

The expertly-designed Sigma is one of the lightest in our review and also one of the more feature-rich.
The expertly-designed Sigma is one of the lightest in our review and also one of the more feature-rich.

Versatility


With excellent features and fantastic breathability, mobility, and weather-resistance, this savvy pullover is pretty darn versatile.


While the Sigma probably isn't what you'll grab for date night or a backcountry ski excursion, it's quite versatile within its wheelhouse. It breathes superbly and yet still provides an excellent wind and water barrier. You can use the hood or stow it away. It has a slim, athletic cut, yet still moves and stretches with ease. The special Hemlock inserts keep it under a harness or backpack strap but are also removable. You can zip it up to the chin or vent down to almost the navel. All in all, this is a layer with a lot of uses and a great addition to a comprehensive outdoor wardrobe.

Here you can see the removable Hemlock inserts - soft foam pieces that keep the hemline securely below your harness even when stretching  reaching  and grunting your way to the top of a project.
Here you can see the removable Hemlock inserts - soft foam pieces that keep the hemline securely below your harness even when stretching, reaching, and grunting your way to the top of a project.

Value


While not cheap, this piece is still in the affordable range of technical layers. Considering how high-performing and feature-rich it is, the price seems well worth what you get. If you need something to keep protected from wind and rock that will dry fast and breathe with your body, the Sigma is definitely worth its weight in abrasion-resistant material (and more — it doesn't weigh very much!)

From climbing to walking a pup  this pullover is grand.
From climbing to walking a pup, this pullover is grand.

Conclusion


The Sigma SL Anorak is a lightweight technical softshell geared toward alpine rock climbers. But don't walk away if that isn't what you do — this well-designed pullover has a place alongside many other activities as well. It's incredibly breathable, stretchy, weather-resistant for its weight, and crazy quick-drying. If you canyoneer, run, hike, or bike in non-winter months, this is a smart layer to own and an easy one to appreciate.

Climbing with the Sigma Anorak is a no-brainer  but it's also well suited to many other swing season outings. Anything that requires movement and inspires a high heart rate is a great fit for this pullover.
Climbing with the Sigma Anorak is a no-brainer, but it's also well suited to many other swing season outings. Anything that requires movement and inspires a high heart rate is a great fit for this pullover.


Penney Garrett