Pros and Cons
Filed under:Clothing, Gear reviews, Softshell Jackets, Arc'teryx, Gamma SL, Hoody, softshell
Summer-weight softshell jacket from the Canadian uber brand
Despite the development of new materials and construction methods in recent years, softshell continues to feature heavily in most people’s wardrobes, due to its winning combination of breathability, comfort and wind/shower protection.
Aside from full winter conditions, I wear softshell jackets and pants all year round, and the Gamma SL Hoody on test has been used almost every day during late summer and early autumn. The Fortius 1.0 double-weave fabric is light and extremely stretchy, and is ideal for keeping wind and light showers off, while allowing you to work hard without overheating too quickly. This means you don’t have to keep stopping to rearrange layers, which is a pet hate of mine! Instead you can push up the sleeves and open the main zip for ventilation on the ups, before zipping up again when stopping for a rest or on reaching flatter ground.
The Gamma SL comes with two handwarmer pockets with mesh inners (giving extra ventilation), and their position does get in the way of the hipbelt of your pack; as a result I’ve often wished for a single chest pocket to put my phone, keys or snack bar in. Higher hand pockets would get around this issue, but would also make it less useful for more casual use (or when not carrying a pack), which the Gamma SL is also great for – so there’s pros and cons of both arrangements.
The Gamma SL’s hood has a semi-rigid peak and a volume adjustor at the back, and together these enable you to cinch in and shape the hood around your face in wind or rain. The overall construction of the garment is excellent as you would expect (e.g. Arc’teryx use 14-16 stitches per inch compared to an industry average of 8-10), and it’s a good thing too as you will want to pop this on day after day when you’re heading out into the hills.
More info: www.arcteryx.com