New Sentinel AR vs. Older Sentinel Pant
Arc'teryx changed up the Sentinel pant a bit this year, now offering the similar-but-tweaked Sentinel AR. The updated pant is a bit wider in the waist, thighs, and hips to allow for more ease of movement, and they are a touch longer than before, as well. The circumference of the leg opening at the bottom has narrowed slightly. The materials and pocket configuration of the pants remain similar. Compare the Sentinal AR, shown first, to the Sentinel we tested previously.
We're linking to the more readily available Sentinel AR now, and have purchased a pair for testing. Until we release our findings on the new version, the review below continues to reflect the previous pant.
Hands-On Review of the Sentinel Pant
Our testers couldn't stop talking about this pair of ski pants. It scored high across all testing metrics, not to mention the fabric feels like butter. When put to the test in both the resort and the backcountry, we kept finding reasons why the Sentinel out-performed all other pants tested.
Skiing beautiful powder in the classy Sentinel.
Comfort & Fit
The Sentinel has a regular fit, which means it has allowances for mountain legs. It is sleek and has a soft, supple fabric that seems to move with you no matter the pose. Because the fabric is so soft, this pant ranks highly on the comfort scale. The legs are roomy without excess material, and the waistband has a mid-rise fit. Unlike a lot of pants we test, which use velcro pull tabs, the Sentinel uses a removable belt to dial in the waist fit. While the belt has a nice catch function, this is actually a feature we could do without. We prefer exterior velcro pull tabs to adjust the fit.
A sleek fit with knee articulation to make backcountry travel easy.
We struggled to undo the belt with numb fingers, and found it problematic when answering the call of nature behind an aspen tree. The belt is removable if you'd like to sport your own belt buckle, but you will need some sort of belt to adjust the waist gap and get the right fit. Arc'teryx obviously took their time designing these pants and added articulation through the knees and seat along with a gusseted crotch. These details give the Sentinel exceptional freedom of movement. The Sentinel also has a nice fit through the waist and crotch. The Sentinel os a pleasure to wear when skiing at the resorts or in the backcountry.
Freedom of movement is necessary while skinning in the backcountry. We loved the gussetted fit, fabric, and ventilation the Arc'teryx Sentinel provides.
This Editors' Choice winner is composed of a 3 layer Gore-Tex material, the burliest fabric of its kind. It also has fully taped seams and water-resistant zippers. We stayed the driest in these pants and noted they had excellent breathability as well, which kept us even warmer. They are also windproof and kept us going through all precip conditions thrown at us.
The Arc'teryx Sentinel pant is touted as lightly insulated with a soft brushed flannel liner. However, we found this pant to act most like an insinuated pair of shell pants. While the brushed liner is soft, and does add a small amount of insulation, this is a pair of pants you will need to wear underlayers with for maximal comfort. Because the fabric is a 3-layer Gore Tex, it already holds in heat exceptionally well. While moving in the backcountry we found we needed the side zip vents to dump heat.
Another nice thing about the overall fit and function of the fabric is that you can wear your heaviest underlayers for the coldest days or while resort riding. Obviously, it is not as warm as any of the insulated pants we tested, but that's like comparing apples and oranges. The Sentinel can be as warm or cool as conditions dictate, making it the most versatile of ski pants.
Adequate ventilation is key while backcountry touring. The Sentinel were the second highest scoring pants in the Ventilation metric.
Two well placed exterior thigh vents dump heat in a hurry on the Sentinel. The vents are equipped with two zipper pulls so you are never fussing with trying to find the zip pull when the wind kicks up. Only the Flylow options have better venting than the Sentinel. One tester noted that the Sentinel vents stop somewhat short, around the knee area, and would be more useful if they extended all the way down to the boot top.
Using the thigh vents and the thigh pocket while traveling in the backcountry.
This award winner is packed with features. One of our favorite parts of these pants are the usable pockets thoughtfully placed on the front thigh. They are accessible on the chair lift and while skinning in the backcountry. They are large enough to hold avalanche beacons, phones, bars, maps, and just about anything else you may need to stash. One thigh pocket has an inner clip useful for keys, beacons, or ski passes. There is also a small credit card or chapstick pocket near the waistband.
One small pocket for chap stick or credit cards.
It comes equipped with the RECCO emergency system, which can aid emergency personnel during a skier search. The Recco is a small, chapstick sized chip sewn into the side of the pant that bounces back a directional signal to the rescuer. This does not replace a beacon, but can be helpful in the event of a search. The Sentinel has watertight zippers on all pockets and the side vents. These are highly water resistant, but not totally waterproof.
The manufacturer urges users to not place any water sensitive materials such as electronics in these pockets, however, we used the pockets for maps and phones and didn't have any problems. If you find that you love the Sentinel pants so much you also want the Arc'teryx Sentinel jacket, there are snaps on the back of the pant to connect the jacket too, creating a warm onesie effect. We did not test this feature. The waistband closes with two snaps in addition to the belt, and we found the snaps easier to use than buttons.
Two large thigh pockets on the Sentinel were big enough for beacons, phones, bars or maps.
Arc'teryx had big mountain style in mind with the design of this contender. There is nothing extra or overdone on these pants; they have exactly what you need, where you need it and when you need it.
The Sentinel has the perfect width leg opening for touring boots.
They are roomy without being baggy, straight through the hip and thigh, and have a moderate boot cut leg opening so nothing gets in the way of your boots or skis. They will stay in style for seasons to come.
Classy Arc'teryx styling.
This Editor's Choice winner is right at home anywhere there is cold weather. This pant would be great in the resort, in the backcountry, in a remote hut, on a snowmobile, or on snowshoes. We even used it to shovel driveways. This pant would perform equally well in wet and heavy snow or light powder, rain, sleet, or wind storms. You can wear this pant for any cold weather activity you can imagine.
We did everything in these pants (the Sentinel), including shoveling the driveway.
Arc'teryx is proud of their Sentinel pant, and offer it at the steep price of $499. Although this is the most expensive pant we tested, we feel you get what you pay for. All the features of this pant make it well worth the price. We also like the fact that you can use this pant in both the backcountry and the resort, negating the need to have two separate pairs of ski pants. This is a one and done pair of ski pants. When considering that fact, the price seems almost a bargain.
The Sentinel is an incredible all-around pair of ski pants that won our Editors' Choice award.
Our testers love the Arc'teryx Sentinel Pant. We give it the Editors' Choice award because it averages better performance overall than all other competitors. The Sentinel proudly faces weather, slope angle, cliff height, skis, snowboards, and even Sasquatch with grace. This is a pair of pants that get out of the way so that you can spend more time shredding and less time worrying.
The Arc'teryx Sentinel Pants really shine in the backcountry whether you are working hard uphill or skiing down through powder.