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 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 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 / Model
|Arcteryx Squamish Hoodie
|4.9 oz / 140g
|Patagonia Houdini Jacket
|3.7 oz /105g
|Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Shirt
|2.05 oz / 58g
|Rab Vital Windshell Hoody
|4.6 oz /160g
|REI Flash Jacket
|4.3 oz /122g
|Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hoodie
|5.3 oz /150g
|Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell
|3.5 oz / 98g
|Warbonnet Stash Jacket
|5.0 oz / 142g
|Montbell Tachyon Hooded Jacket
|2.5 oz / 72g
|Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody
|7.4 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 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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