Mark BullockMark is a passionate climber, whose dream days are spent soloing easy routes in the big hills, dashing down at last light for pizza. He’s a writer, qualified Mountain Leader & Climbing Instructor, and has even won a few photography awards.
The Arc’Teryx Squamish Hoody is a really effective, versatile windshirt that strikes the perfect balance between protection and breathability.
140g / 4.9oz
Highly wind-resistant, lightweight Tyono™ 30 nylon, adjustable Stormhood™, No Slip Zip™, dual hem adjustments, stows in chest pocket for easy packing or clipping to harness
Athletic, minimalist cut that doesn’t billow
The colourway – I wouldn’t have paired Phenom with Velvet Sand personally, but it’s not horrible!
WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR
What’s everyone looking for?! The perfect jacket that they don’t need to take on, take off and faff around with.
A jacket you basically don’t notice, because if it does its job well, you can concentrate on climbing. I want a sleek cut, well fitted (I have surprisingly wide shoulders), and something that does the job. I want it to breathe well – no point being protected from wind and mizzle if it builds up condensation – and I want to not feel chilly when the wind and temps are slightly dreich.
no point being protected from wind and mizzle if it builds up condensation
It’s quite oddly colour contrasted: vivid orange (which Arc’teryx call Phenom), paired with Velvet Sand. But from the very first try on it fit me like a glove, the zip is smooth and easy, and there are no bells and whistles, just functional, minimalist design. It feels and looks the part.
I’ve taken the Squamish jacket bouldering, trad climbing, and even trail running. I’m a fan. I’ve never overheated, and I’ve always felt well protected even while belaying in Easterlies in April. I used the chest pocket for my phone when soloing (and it fits the bigger Pro Max iPhone in a case). This is a real less is more piece: minimalist design, functional with no frills, and its ace card is the fabric: Tyono™ 30 denier shell with DWR treatment – 100% nylon.
Often – in the UK – outdoor consumers can be guilty of what I like to call ‘Grail Seeking’. Go into any outdoor store and you’ll eventually hear someone asking for a high hydrostatic-head waterproof, that’s extremely breathable, that’s super-lightweight, and yet bomb-proof durable… the perfect balance that just doesn’t exist.
Since we don’t need to be that exacting – because wet weather rock-climbing isn’t really a popular pastime, and we therefore accept that we don’t need a waterproof (because we watched the weather forecast before we went climbing!), and ergo we’ve selected a windshirt for our day, then this garment really does perform well across a wide spectrum of conditions from almost no wind, to actually quite flipping windy with some sea spray thrown in. You can essentially leave it on.
WHO IS THIS ITEM FOR?
Arc’teryx say this is a climbing piece, and the hood certainly is my favourite feature (it goes over my helmet snugly, but also isn’t so voluminous that I couldn’t put it up when trail running, or walking for that matter). It’s a really good shirt for climbing in. The arms stay in place at the wrist, it doesn’t ride up out of my harness, and I didn’t feel the need to pack it down into its chest pocket to clip to my harness (but you could). Likewise, I didn’t often use the dual-hem adjusters, because it fits so nicely, but that’s maybe a personal preference also: I’ve found over the years that drawing the hem tight, counter-intuitively, leads to it riding up more, and staying up more. If you’ve a harness on, that’s going to hold the jacket down anyway. Without a harness, my preference is to leave the hem loose. But it’s such a minimal amount of toggle and elastic that it’s frankly unnoticeable.
WHAT STANDS OUT?
Design, Features, Functionality
Basically, it’s a super simple design, done really well.
By allying a functional feature-set with an effective fabric, in an ergonomically sound cut (the tailoring around the arms and shoulders cannot be underestimated here), Arc’Teryx have created a really useful, protective and comfortable bit of kit. Not only is there not much to nit-pick, but it’s mainly notable that it’s just, well, very good.
Whilst primarily designed with alpine and rock climbing in mind, the Squamish hoody really does lend itself to a number of other activities. Its harness and helmet compatibility doesn’t detract from its function when trail running or for wet and windy walk-ins to the crag either.
On the subject of the helmet-compatible hood, it’s protective, ergonomic and works well both with or without a lid.
Basically, it’s a super simple design, done really well
VALUE FOR MONEY
I think it’s fair value for money compared to its peers. Not cheap by any means, but I can see it lasting me years and years, and so at £135 knowing I’ll get a huge amount of use out of it, this to me represents decent value.
BASE BOTTOM LINE
Any ‘I wish it had’ ideas that pop into my head when thinking about the Squamish hoody are immediately discounted because it’s not what it’s designed for. Eg: I wish it had velcro adjustable cuffs. Why? The cuff is the right size, doesn’t ride up, and if you need to cinch the sleeves down, or pull them over gloves – then you’re probably using the jacket outside of its remit.
I would definitely recommend this jacket for its intended end use, and you can probably stretch to using it for a few other outdoor pursuits as well – bonus.