If you are someone who can afford to splurge on a pair of ski pants, these should be at the top of your list. The women's Arc'teryx Sentinel AR pant easily claimed our Editors' Choice Award, thanks to its incredible comfort, versatility, overall performance, and features. A technical, waterproof, lightly insulated shell with thoughtful features, this pant is ready to take you to greater highs and steeper descents. Though it is on the pricier side of ski pants, if you are someone who gets out there often, the return for your dollar will be well worth it.
Arc'teryx Sentinel AR Pants - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Spacious pockets, color and size options, weatherproof, versatility, ventilation, built to last
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sentinel AR is an ideal pant for both the resort and the backcountry, coming fully loaded with waterproof zippers, 3L Gore-Tex protection, fully taped seams, and features you can rely on. Its light fleece lining provides a soft inner layer that many shells do not have, while its removable belt provides instant security when getting after it. When we first got the pant, it had little at first glance that truly made it stand out. But after rigorous testing, this is a pant that is well thought-out and delivers, consistently performing at a high standard.
To test for weather resistance, we not only took the pants out onto the mountain but also put them through a 2-minute shower test. Throughout the shower test, we aimed specifically at weak points such as zippers, seams, pockets, and vents to see how the pants would perform. The Sentinel AR passed the test with flying colors, with no leaking or seeping through the material being detected.
The Sentinel continued to impress us on the mountain where they held up to wetter, warm snow (known locally around the Tahoe Basin as Sierra Cement) without missing a beat. Thanks to its fully taped seams, water-resistant zippers, and 3L Gore-Tex, these pants stood up to it all.
Fit and Comfort
The Sentinel AR is one of the more comfortable pants we tested, with excellent mobility thanks to articulated knees and a gusseted crotch. Even when hiking in deep snow, they never became a hindrance or issue. This, combined with the soft material and regular, baggier fit, means that there is little limiting you when you need your pants to perform.
These pants are not only great inbounds, but thanks to their superior mobility and comfort, they would make a great pair of backcountry touring pants, too.
With two double side zips for ventilation, cooling off when you need to is no issue in these pants. They allow for rapid cooling, and the dual zipper feature enables you to customize the size and placement to your preference. This is a key feature for those hoping to wear these pants in the backcountry. The zippered vents are also mesh-free, allowing maximum airflow. Some pants have vents with a mesh backing that keeps snow from enters in a tumble. We generally prefer the greater airflow of no-mesh vents at resorts and in the backcountry.
Even if you don't head into the backcountry, ample ventilation is important to handle swings in body temperature between heating up while charging through all that champagne powder and then cooling down on icy chair lifts. Comparatively, there are a few pairs of pants that offer even more airflow. That said, our testers felt that the Sentinel AR dumps heat as effectively as they ever needed.
While these pants are technically a shell, we found that they offer more warmth than a typical shell pant. Thanks to their flannel-like interior brushed liner, they have just a touch more insulation than typical for their category. That being said, when temperatures drop low, you will probably want some extra insulation. If you are someone who does not like to layer and must have an insulated pair of pants, these might not be for you.
That being said, if you don't mind putting on some long john's, then you shouldn't encounter an issue. The pants have a regular, baggier fit, allowing for plenty of room for layering underneath, to still give the wearer warmth on cold, burly days. Not having much insulation also makes these pants more versatile. When it's warm, you might not need anything underneath, and the cozy lining makes them comfortable against bare skin. When temps drop, you can easily add base layer bottoms underneath to keep you warm.
Fully loaded with features like a small, zippered stash pocket, a removable belt, and pockets with plenty of room for a beacon or phone helped keep the Sentinel AR ranking high in this category.
When you are heading out for a big day on the slopes, it's those smaller features that come to matter, giving you a place for all of your gear to be kept efficiently. While the belt was not our favorite of these features, it is removable and can be replaced. However, the pants do not have velcro tabs for size adjustments, so a different belt may have to be used. We do like the low-profile of the belt. The pants also come with two snaps on the back which are compatible with Arc'teryx jackets. While we did not test this feature as we did not have a 'teryx ski jacket on hand, this is typically a useful feature on deep, glorious, powder days. Like most all ski pants these days, the Sentinel has a cuff guard to add durability in the high-wear areas at the bottom of the pant legs.
While the Sentinel may not be making a fashion statement, it really doesn't need to. For a pant that delivers such a punch on the technical side, it is fairly plain when it comes to style, save for the addition of its belt. That being said, it comes in four appealing color options and a variety of sizes, ranging from short small to tall large, allowing for women of all sizes to find their style within the pant. If you are fine touting the technical features of your gear rather than the showiness, you will be easily pleased by the style of the Sentinel.
While this pant is offered at a steep price, we feel that the value they provide is well worth it. The Sentinel is truly a do anything pair of ski and snowboard pants, that will serve you well in any situation. It is hopefully an investment that will last you more than one season of activity, continuing to deliver its value for multiple winters to come. For its high-quality materials, plethora of features, and overall technical aspects, this is a splurge that should pay off in your favor.
Well deserving of its Editors' Choice Award, the Arc'teryx Sentinel AR Pant is at the top of our list for women's ski pants. The design is thoroughly refined and the materials are excellent. These pants have more than enough to get you through a day at the resort or at the backcountry, we can't get enough days in them. Any serious skier or snowboarder should consider adding these pants to their arsenal—these pants are just waiting to deliver for you.
— Sarah Sherman