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Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody Review

Arcteryx Squamish Hoody Review

The Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody is a lightweight windshirt (wind shell or windbreaker) that can be used for multiple sports from hiking and mountaineering to climbing and trail running. It’s very barebones, with a one-way adjustable hood, stretch cuffs, a zippered chest pocket, and a dual hem adjustment. The key benefit of the jacket is that it’s very lightweight and far more breathable than a hard shell or rain jacket, but still prevents cold wind from stripping away the heat trapped in your midlayer and/or baselayer. I find wind shirts to be an indispensable component of a layering system all year round.

Specs at a glance

  • Gender: Men’s (Women’s model available)
  • Weight: 5.6 oz in a Size XL
  • Material: Tyono 30 nylon
  • Hood Adjustability: One-way (rear)
  • Hem-Adjustment: Dual
  • Stuff-it Pocket: Chest
  • Breathability Rating: NA

The Arc’teryc Squamish Hoody is a minimalist wind jacket with a center zipper, a one-way adjustable hood, stretch cuffs, a zippered chest pocket with an internal harness loop, and a hem adjustment. It’s quite lightweight and stuffs into its zippered chest pocket.

The Squamish hood has a stiffened front bill, but lacks an elasticated perimeter.
The Squamish hood has a stiffened front bill and rear volume adjuster but lacks an elasticated perimeter or neck controls.

The idea behind a wind shirt is that it is much more breathable than a waterproof shell, but also much lighter weight and minimal in design. Most wind shirts are made with moderately abrasion-resistant nylon, some have a chest pocket and even an adjustable hood. In warm weather, you can wear one over a baselayer, and in cooler weather over a mid-layer like a fleece pullover and remain remarkably warm if you’re actively hiking, climbing, and skinning up a hill.

You stay warmer because the wind shirt prevents the wind from blowing trapped heat out of your clothing and because it slows down the evaporation of perspiration, especially on days when you’d be uncomfortably cool if you weren’t wearing a windproof layer. In other words, a wind shirt gives you a finer degree of control over your own temperature regulation when it’s cool, windy, and not raining. Given how lightweight wind shirts are, there’s little downside to carrying one.

The Squamish Hoody stuffs into its chest pocket.
The Squamish Hoody stuffs into its chest pocket.

The Squamish Hoody has been very popular for years, but it is quite expensive. I’ve found that it performs best in autumn and spring-like temperatures rather than winter because the nylon fabric it’s made with, though quite abrasion-resistant, is pretty thin and doesn’t trap heat that well. It will certainly keep the wind off of you in winter, but you’ll want to compensate by wearing warmer mid-later and base-layer garments. Its breathability however is quite good there is a noticeable lack of perspiration build-up when wearing it.

The Squamish hood is a bit of a compromise. It has a front bill, but it’s not shapeable. The hood is one-way adjustable in the rear, meaning that you can shrink its volume but not the size of the face opening. While this type of minimal control is lightweight, if you have a small head and tighten up the volume, it pulls the sides of the hood rearward providing less coverage for the sides of your face. This is less of an issue in warmer weather, but for winter use, you’re better off with a wind short that has an elasticated hood or hood controls to seal out drafts.

Wind Shirt Comparison

Make / ModelFabric DenierWeight
Arcteryx Squamish Hoodie30d4.9 oz / 140g
Patagonia Houdini Jacket15d3.7 oz /105g
Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Shirt10d2.05 oz / 58g
Rab Vital Windshell Hoody20d4.6 oz /160g
REI Flash JacketNA4.3 oz /122g
Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hoodie30d5.3 oz /150g
Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell15d3.5 oz / 98g
Warbonnet Stash Jacket20d5.0 oz / 142g
Montbell Tachyon Hooded Jacket7d2.5 oz / 72g
Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody20d7.4 oz /210g

The rest of the Squamish hoody is pretty standard. There is a front chest pocket that you can stuff the jacket into which has an internal harness loop that you could use as a key fob. That pocket is large enough to hold an iPhone/Smartphone although the jacket is so thin that it’d be awkward to carry there if you’re actively hiking or running. The hoody has stretch cuffs and a dual hem adjustment to seam in warmth as well as a garage at the top of the zipper to prevent facial hair capture.

The Squamish Hoody works best in cool shoulder season conditions when you just need a little extra to block the wind.
The Squamish Hoody works best in cool shoulder season conditions when you just need a little extra to block the wind.

Recommendation

The Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody is a lightweight and highly breathable wind shirt optimized for use in warmer three-season temperatures. While you can use it in winter, it doesn’t retain heat as well as a heavier windbreaker or softshell jacket. The one thing that sets the Squamish Hoody apart from other wind shirts, besides its price, is its breathability.  It really does do an exceptional job at venting water vapor so you stay warmer and drier in your outdoor pursuits

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5 comments

  1. After getting back into backpacking, running, etc. 7 years ago, I’ve tried a number of jackets. The Squamish is the one I’ve enjoyed the most, and is most versatile. As noted, it may not be the best at some things, but it seems to be good enough for many activities. The last jacket of my collection I’d give up.

  2. Top rated, all season wind & sun protection. Used on the beaches of Cancun, trails of the White Mountains, & ski slopes in Tahoe. I have an ORC level IV windshirt, & a Montane Featherlight that are my backups. None as versatile & moisture managing as the Squamish. No extra features to add weight, & most features desired have easy alternate work arounds.

  3. Two things
    -would be good to talk about CFM and breathability because all these jackets are different between them. Even the old Squamish hoody was much more breathable than the new one.
    -would be good to include the katabatic gear windjacket. It’s a killer jacket, probably the best of the group.

    • Most manufacturers don’t publish CFM ratings and there’s no standard way to measure it, making it pretty meaningless. Also CFM is not the same as MVTR (breathability), though most people confuse the two. I honestly wasn’t aware the Katabatic Gear had a wind shirt so I just bought one to try, although without any hood controls, it doesn’t sound that promising. Why have a hood if its too large? Pointless.

  4. What sets it apart is the zipper. Real non-coil zipper. Love mine. Have had it for about a decade and have the fabric tape patches to prove it.

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