Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Very windproof, decent rain protection, easy to layer, great warmth to weight ratio
Cons: Crinkly material less comfortable, not very breathable, hood is difficult to keep up in strong winds
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Arc'teryx Squamish is a full-zip windbreaker with an adjustable hood, made of ripstop nylon with mechanical stretch. It's a slim cut jacket, with a single left chest pocket, reflective front logo, and DWR coating.
The Squamish Hoody is one of the most windproof windbreakers we tested. Even without a storm flap behind the zipper, the Tyono™ nylon fabric does an exceptional job keeping gusts at bay. The half elastic cuffs are slightly longer over the backs of your hands and a slight stretch in the material allows you to pull these sleeves down and bury your fingers inside away from the cold wind. A dually adjustable waist hem makes it easy to pull tight, even around bulky layers on a colder day. The hood is also adjustable, but the cord pulls tight around the crown of your head, which isn't the easiest to keep in place when walking into a big gale. All in all, we're impressed at the wind resistance of this jacket, which offers one of the best warmth to weight ratios of any model we tested.
All that wind protection does come at a cost to the breathability of the Squamish. It has no venting features other than the usual unzip method of most windbreakers. The sleeves and cuffs are more comfortable to push up than we expected them to be, which does help. However, we aren't fans of this jacket during high output activities, particularly during something that's also high impact - like running. It easily collects condensation from your body on the inside of the jacket. And the hood and collar are on the heavy side, making them flop around awkwardly and uncomfortably during a run. If you're after a breathable windbreaker, this isn't the best choice.
Weight and Packability
Weighing 4.9 ounces, the Squamish Hoody falls right in the middle of the pack when it comes to weight. It stows fairly easily into its own left chest pocket and has a carabiner loop for added ease. However, it seems to carry a large proportion of its weight in the collar and hood, and the wide, relatively stiff brim is less than ideal to pack away into that tiny pocket. We also found ourselves on several occasions, struggling to zip the completed package closed as the main zipper is quite close to the pocket zipper and needs a little bit of extra care tucking it away for storage. These are relatively minor concerns though, that quickly disappear the more you become familiar with how this jacket works. At the end of the day, it's pretty easy to do and packs into a small, neat little package that's easy to clip onto a harness or pack.
The Squamish has some solid features that make it reasonably versatile within a specific weather-type (aka on the colder side). The stretchy fabric that we've already discussed is augmented with underarm gussets that help give a full range of motion to your arms. The single chest pocket isn't large enough for a smartphone though, and the shell-like material feels a bit crinkly and less pleasant than others on bare skin. It layers well, but maintains a fairly athletic aesthetic that may or may not be your vibe. This is a great jacket for fall hiking, climbing on exposed faces, or evening walks with the dog.
A DWR coating helps the Squamish to be reasonably water repellent. It's slightly better than average when it comes to withstanding heavier rain or longer periods of lighter rain. That is to say, it will help keep you dry for a while, but it certainly can't replace a true rain jacket. After spending an extended neighborhood walk-in medium to light rain, portions of the Squamish were wet, as were our layers underneath. But for an intermittent drizzle or short periods of time in light rain, it works reasonably well.
The Arc'teryx is among the more expensive models we tested, but it's not the most expensive. It's an excellent windbreaker for colder weather and works very well as an emergency layer on an alpine backpacking trip. It's durable enough to last through years of adventures, though not breathable enough to be pleasant when you're very sweaty. If you're after a long-lasting jacket that's lightweight but still warm and protective, this is a great option.
The Squamish Hoody is a well-built windbreaker that boasts one of the best warmth to weight ratios of any jacket we tested. It offers impressive wind protection and decent water protection in a lightweight, compact package. We love this jacket as a mini shell for adventures on days where the weather is iffy and think it makes a great emergency layer.
— Shey Kiester and Maggie Brandenburg