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Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody - Women's Review

This classic windbreaker offers excellent protection in a lightweight shell, but sacrifices breathability in the process
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Price:  $159 List | $110.93 at REI
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
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Shey Kiester and Maggie Brandenburg  ⋅  Apr 8, 2020
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Wind Resistance - 30% 9
  • Breathability - 30% 5
  • Weight and Packability - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 10% 7
  • Water Resistance - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Squamish is a solidly protective windbreaker that packs an excellent warmth to weight ratio. Its loosely fit design makes it easy to layer over even a thicker layer on those truly cold days. A wider hood brim than most, a dual-adjusted hem, and half-elastic cuffs on stretchy fabric all help keep you warm and cozy on windy days. All this protection comes at a cost to breathability, making this a less than pleasant option for strenuous hikes on warm days. But if you want a lightweight, protective shell to throw on over your layers when the cool winds pick up, the Squamish has got you covered.

Compare to Similar Products

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.

Performance Comparison


The high warmth to weight ratio of the Squamish comes in handy on brisk spring days in the high desert.
The high warmth to weight ratio of the Squamish comes in handy on brisk spring days in the high desert.

Wind Resistance


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.

For an impressively windproof jacket  we're a bit disappointed by the fit of the hood  which even when tightened feels on the verge of flying off in high winds.
For an impressively windproof jacket, we're a bit disappointed by the fit of the hood, which even when tightened feels on the verge of flying off in high winds.

Breathability


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.

The Squamish is a great running jacket  but only on truly cold days where you need warmth rather than breathability. We tested it during a snowshoe race in February and it was about perfect.
The Squamish is a great running jacket, but only on truly cold days where you need warmth rather than breathability. We tested it during a snowshoe race in February and it was about perfect.

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 stays lightweight despite having two adjustment points on the hem and another on the hood.
The Squamish stays lightweight despite having two adjustment points on the hem and another on the hood.

Versatility


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.

Annoyingly  the zipper of our model gets stuck on this protective flap under your chin every single time.
Annoyingly, the zipper of our model gets stuck on this protective flap under your chin every single time.

Water Resistance


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.

Whoops! Spilled coffee is no big deal to the Squamish  where you can easily wipe it away - even if you don't notice if right away...
Whoops! Spilled coffee is no big deal to the Squamish, where you can easily wipe it away - even if you don't notice if right away...

Value


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.

As an emergency minimalist shell  we love the extra warmth we get from this packable piece by Arc'teryx.
As an emergency minimalist shell, we love the extra warmth we get from this packable piece by Arc'teryx.

Conclusion


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.

Testing the Squamish on a brisk morning in Yosemite Valley.
Testing the Squamish on a brisk morning in Yosemite Valley.

Shey Kiester and Maggie Brandenburg