The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Arcteryx Sylva Parka Review

A moderately insulated synthetic jacket with a serious windproof outer shell.
Arcteryx Sylva Parka
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Price:  $399 List | $399.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Gore windstopper, Coreloft 140 insulation, non-quilted external construction reduces cold spots, lightweight, stylish
Cons:  No full zipper, cold pockets, finicky zippers
Manufacturer:   Arcteryx
By Liz Williamson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 17, 2016
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74
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 30% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 7
  • Style - 20% 8
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Durability - 5% 7

The Skinny

Sleek and smooth, the Arc'teryx Sylva Parka has a lot to offer. This mid-thigh length parka is, windproof, warm and stylish. Simple and sophisticated, this jacket can't handle windy cold days like a champ. The water-resistant DWR fabric extended our time outside in stormy weather better than The North Face Thermoball Parka and the Columbia Mighty Lite. If you're looking for a jacket that can handle heavy rain and winter weather, check out our Top Pick for Wet Climates the Patagonia Tres 3-In-1 Parka - Women's or the Helly Hansen Long Belfast.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Weighing 1.2 lbs, this jacket is a lightweight bombshell. Insulated with 140 g of Coreloft synthetic insulation, this jacket surprised us with how warm and windproof it was. Simplicity seems to be a theme with this jacket, there are only two colors to choose from: Black or Quartz.

Performance Comparison



This mid-thigh length parka is insulated with 140 g of Coreloft synesthetic insulation. A great jacket for windy  or cold days.
This mid-thigh length parka is insulated with 140 g of Coreloft synesthetic insulation. A great jacket for windy, or cold days.

Warmth


The fact that this jacket is windproof really adds to its warmth. Non-quilted external construction reduces cold spots; insulated with 140 grams of Coreloft, this jacket has the most synthetic insulation out of all the jackets we tested. It allowed us to extended our time outside in winter weather better than the Arc'teryx Nuri and The North Face Thermoball Parka, but it's not as warm as the down insulated The North Face Miss Metro Parka or the Patagonia Downtown Parka. The hood was warm and toasty, thanks to a decent amount of insulation. The hood is also adjustable for super windy days, and there is enough room to fit a beanie underneath the hood.

The hood is adjustable  but not removable. For how lightweight it is  we didn't find this to be an issue. There is a brim on the hood that helped keep rain from falling in our face in wet weather. The hood looks big in this photo  but it actually did a good job staying on our head. There is also enough room to fit a beanie underneath.
The hood is adjustable, but not removable. For how lightweight it is, we didn't find this to be an issue. There is a brim on the hood that helped keep rain from falling in our face in wet weather. The hood looks big in this photo, but it actually did a good job staying on our head. There is also enough room to fit a beanie underneath.

We had two issues with this jacket. There isn't a full front zipper and the zipper stops even higher than mid-thigh. When we were walking around in this jacket, we could feel cold air entering from the bottom. The Sylva Parka could benefit from having a button snap at the bottom of the jacket, like The North Face Miss Metro Parka has, as it makes a noticeable difference.

This jacket is warm  but we wished there was at least a snap button on the bottom of the jacket since there isn't a full zipper. The North Face Miss Metro Parka offers this feature  and we felt like it made a difference in very cold weather.
This jacket is warm, but we wished there was at least a snap button on the bottom of the jacket since there isn't a full zipper. The North Face Miss Metro Parka offers this feature, and we felt like it made a difference in very cold weather.

Another spot we were could feel cold air were the pockets. We only noticed this in temperatures below freezing, but take this into consideration if you live in a very cold climate, as this may not be the best option for you. We noticed this happening with a lot of the synthetic or poorly insulated jackets we tested, like the Helly Hansen Long Belfast or the outer shell of the Patagonia Tres 3-In-1 Parka.

Weather Resistance


Arc'teryx's Windstopper shell fabric (20D nylon ripstop protection) did a good job repelling wind and rain, compared to the Marmot Montreaux, or the Patagonia Downtown Parka, but it's not fully waterproof. In wet weather, water beaded up and rolled off the exterior shell for a surprisingly long time. After an extended period of time in heavy rain, the jacket became saturated, but it also dried quickly. A better option for wet weather would be the Helly Hansen Long Belfast or the Patagonia Tres 3-In-1 Parka.

Arc'teryx's GORE Windstopper fabric works great at blocking wind and rain. Initially  water beaded up and rolled off the outer shell. After an extended period of time outside in heavy rain  the jacket started to get saturated  but it also dried very quickly.
Arc'teryx's GORE Windstopper fabric works great at blocking wind and rain. Initially, water beaded up and rolled off the outer shell. After an extended period of time outside in heavy rain, the jacket started to get saturated, but it also dried very quickly.

Style


Whether you are going to the gym, or wearing cute boots and going out on a date, this jacket's style is sporty, yet sophisticated. Resting mid-thigh, the smooth and sleek nylon outer shell make it easy for this jacket to be worn with anything.

Sporty  smooth  and sleek  the outer shell is simple and sophisticated. It easy to dress this parka up with boots  or throw on some sneakers and wear it to the gym. The style of this jacket is very versatile.
Sporty, smooth, and sleek, the outer shell is simple and sophisticated. It easy to dress this parka up with boots, or throw on some sneakers and wear it to the gym. The style of this jacket is very versatile.

Compared to the Arc'teryx Nuri, The North Face Miss Metro Parka, and the Patagonia Downtown Parka, whose down insulation is noticeable, the outer shell of the Sylva Parka hides the insulation and gives the jacket a clean and simple look.

From all angles this jacket is appealing. The hood is lightweight  and blends right into the jacket  unlike the plush faux fur lined hood on the Marmot Montreaux Coat.
From all angles this jacket is appealing. The hood is lightweight, and blends right into the jacket, unlike the plush faux fur lined hood on the Marmot Montreaux Coat.

Sleek and stylish, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka has an even more durable outer shell and still maintains a very fashionable look. The Kensington Parka has more of an classic winter parka style with its coyote fur ruff and cozy down insulation, compared to the simple and sophisticated Sylva Parka.

Comfort


Lightweight, breathable, and not insulated with thick down, this jacket wears differently than all the other jackets we tested. It's highly functional and flattering and the exterior pockets are lined with fleece; the chin guard is lined with suede. This added a warm cozy touch on a cold day.

There is an insulated collar, unlike the Helly Hansen Long Belfast or the The North Face Thermoball Parka, that have sewn-thru hoods, not collars. It wasn't too noticeable, but we felt like it did help trap more heat in. If you are looking for a mid-thigh length jacket that is insulated with thick cozy down, check out the Canada Goose Camp.

Features


The main feature on the Arc'teryx Sylva Parka is the GORE Windstopper outer shell, as it did a stand-up job in high winds and stormy weather. There are adjustable cuffs with Velcro closures and they are actually quite useful in wet weather. Despite this jacket only being water-resistant, we didn't feel overly worried about getting caught in mild wet weather.

The Canada Goose Camp isn't as water-resistant as the Sylva, but it has better windproof construction. The exterior pockets are lined with fleece on one-side, and they did warm our hands up, but they weren't as warm as the double-sided fleece-lined pockets on the Marmot Montreaux. There is an interior media pocket, unlike the Helly Hansen Long Belfast or the Arc'teryx Nuri, but it is small. There is also a thick insulated collar that added extra comfort and warmth.

Fleece-lines only one side on each exterior pockets. When we were walking in below freezing temperatures  we could feel cold air hitting our hands while they were in the pockets. Maybe if fleece-lined both sides we would of been warmer!
Fleece-lines only one side on each exterior pockets. When we were walking in below freezing temperatures, we could feel cold air hitting our hands while they were in the pockets. Maybe if fleece-lined both sides we would of been warmer!

Durability


The outer shell fabric is highly durable. Arc'teryx's Terepin water-resistant and tear-resistant fabric is smooth and sleek. There isn't much stitching on the outside of the jacket, so we don't see snags from stitching being an issue. Over the two months we tested this jacket, we were impressed with its durability.

The outer shell fabric was more durable than the Columbia Mighty Lite and the Arc'teryx Nuri, but it wasn't as durable as the Helly Hansen Long Belfast. The main zipper on the Sylva Parka is a bit finicky and we had to take a couple seconds to line it up perfectly before trying to zip it up.

Arc'teryx's GORE Windstopper fabric works great at blocking wind and rain. Initially  water beaded up and rolled off the outer shell. After an extended period of time outside in heavy rain  the jacket started to get saturated  but it also dried very quickly.
Arc'teryx's GORE Windstopper fabric works great at blocking wind and rain. Initially, water beaded up and rolled off the outer shell. After an extended period of time outside in heavy rain, the jacket started to get saturated, but it also dried very quickly.

Best Application


Taking the dog for a windy walk or commuting to work in a light rain won't be an issue in this sleek, sophisticated parka. It's perfect for a moderately cold and snowy environment or even somewhere that gets wet snow and light rain. The Sylva Parka isn't waterproof, but it did a stand up job being water-resistant.

We hit the streets in windy and rainy weather to see how this parka would hold up. We were impressed and surprised! Eventually  the GORE Wind-stopper and water-resistant fabric became saturated  but our core remained toasty. A great jacket for taking the dog out on a walk  or commuting to work.
We hit the streets in windy and rainy weather to see how this parka would hold up. We were impressed and surprised! Eventually, the GORE Wind-stopper and water-resistant fabric became saturated, but our core remained toasty. A great jacket for taking the dog out on a walk, or commuting to work.

Value


This jacket will keep you protected and warm for $399. It is on the pricey side, but we were impressed by the quality construction that Arc'teryx uses, and we believe this jacket will last you multiple winters to come.

Conclusion


We loved the tailored fit, and mid-thigh length of the Sylva Parka. It allowed for more mobility than some of the longer parkas we tested, like The North Face Miss Metro or the Marmot Montreaux. It's a great option for a mild to cold climate that experiences a mix of precipitation.


Liz Williamson