The Arc'teryx Squamish is a feature-ridden windbreaker that became a go-to for some of our reviewers and a pass for others. Read on to learn where this jacket performs well and where we find it to be lacking.
This well-fitting windbreaker from Arc-teryx is versatile enough to easily transition from running to carrying a heavy pack.
This jacket performed well in our wind resistance tests. The Velcro cuffs, drawstring drop back hem, adjustable hood and an almost imperceptible draft flap behind the zipper defy the wind. Plus, our testers also loved the feel of the fabric — it is soft, comfortable and warm even with only minimal layers underneath. The only windbreaker we found to be more wind resistant is the Rab Vital Hooded Windshell, which has a different feel.
The Squamish is supremely wind resistant and has more extra features then some of our reviewers' favorite pieces, including a hood brim and adjustable cuffs.
The Squamish, like the Rab Vital, performed well in wind resistance at the cost of breathability, which is an expected tradeoff. This jacket accumulated perspiration relatively quickly during high energy exercise, leaving the wearer feeling clammy and uncomfortable. If you anticipate needing a layer that handles wind and sweat better, we recommend the Black Diamond Alpine Start, our Top Pick for Versatility.
The Squamish has less-than-ideal breathability, but when temps are frigid and the wind is whipping, it is among the best at keeping the wind at bay.
Weight and Packability
The Squamish is in the middle of the pack when it comes to weight and packability. This piece tips the tiny scale at 5.1 ounces. This seems giant in comparison to the featherweight 1.2 ounce Patagonia Houdini, which took home our Editors Choice award. However, the Squamish compresses well, and if you aren't hyper-aware of an extra ounce or two, this jacket can easily be shoved into the bottom of your pack and forgotten about until the time comes.
The Squamish packs down into its own pocket and can be easily tossed in a daypack or clipped to a belt loop or harness.
This windbreaker is pretty versatile, thanks to a hefty feature set. The jacket features a soft brim visor, adjustable Velcro wrist cuff tabs, and a drawstring waist and hood. However, our testers felt that this plethora of features can detract from missions that are better served by a streamlined piece, like the Patagonia Houdini or Black Diamond Alpine Start. With all of these moving parts, we frequently snagged on branches, bushes, rocks, or even our own packs. For some, these features are welcome additions to an already high performing jacket.
The plethora of features of the Squamish make it ideal for some and too much for others.
While none of the jackets that we tested are completely waterproof, some are better than others. During our water tests, the exterior of this jacket beaded precipitation quite well, thanks to its DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Both the Squamish and Patagonia Houdini repel water well and dry relatively quickly once they do become saturated.
For a windbreaker that goes the extra mile in a light shower, we were impressed with the performance of the Rab Vital, the best of the single-layer jackets we tested. The Columbia Flash Forward also performed admirably in light rain, though once soaked, it takes much longer to dry the inner microfleece lining.
The Squamish's DWR finish helps it repel light precipitation, and it's thin material dries quickly if it does get soaked.
This jacket is great for active missions that don't require minimalist designs. It lends itself well to sailing, backcountry spring skiing, cycling, bouldering, and traveling. It's a high performer against the wind and just might be the right choice for your outdoor adventures!
Filled with helpful (but bulky) features, the Arc'teryx Squamish has adjustable Velcro wrist cuffs to keep the wind at bay or allow breathability depending on the current weather.
At $159, the Squamish is the thoroughbred of windbreakers. Though it comes with a lofty price tag, this jacket exceeds the features provided by some of the other models we reviewed. If you don't care about having a windbreaker that is super streamlined and uber packable, then the extra features of the Squamish might be a good fit for you.
The Squamish boasts undeniably high performance, with superb construction and materials. It easily transitions with the outdoor adventurer when shifting weather conditions are part of the game. The well-thought-out craftsmanship allows this jacket to be comfortable and easy to move in. However, its plethora of features made some of our reviewers balk, as it feels like a bit much for a windbreaker, which should be fairly lightweight and streamlined. However, if you're not a minimalist, you may love the extra features the Squamish has to offer.