It may be pricey, but this super-cozy, ultralight hoody offers an outstanding ROI. It’s as comfy as they come, has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, and performs well both as part of a three-layer system or as a standalone mid layer
Excellent warmth-to-weight ratio
Rugged nylon face fabric
Great next-to-skin comfort
Hem isn't adjustable
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Arc'teryx Kyanite hoody: first impressions
The Arc’teryx Kyanite Hoody is a technical mid layer (what is a mid layer?) that strikes the perfect balance between warmth, weight, mobility, and moisture management. It’s made with plush Polartec Power Stretch Pro fabric that combines rugged nylon face fabric with a plush, brushed interior to prove oodles of next-to-skin comfort with above-average ruggedness and durability.
The Kyanite also has four-way stretch fabric, gusseted underarms, and uses articulated patterning to provide for a fuller and freer range of movement, all of which makes it one of the best mid layers out there for climbing and scrambling. Other endearing features include a handy interior pocket that can accommodate most phones or compact cameras, an ergonomically shaped “ScubaHood” that doesn’t flap in your eyes despite the lack of a cinch, and a “No Slip Zip” that prevents inadvertent opening. While the fit on the Kyanite is fairly trim and figure-hugging, there’s more than enough stretch in the fabric to accommodate a fuller midriff. All in all, the Kyanite promises to be one of the best fleece jackets I’ve ever owned.
• Price: $179 (US) / £155 (UK)
• Sizes (men's): XS - XXXL
• Sizes (women's): XS - XL
• Weight (men's): 425 g / 15 oz
• Weight (women's): 365 g / 12.9 oz
• Colors (men's): Black / Cobalt Moon / Paradox (grey) / Rhapsody (maroon)
• Colors (women's): Black / Labyrinth (teal-grey)
Arc’teryx Kyanite hoody: in the field
The Kyanite and I have been together now for almost nine months and in that time have forged a strong relationship built on trust and her unwavering commitment to keeping me warm, sweat-free, and snug as a bug though all I have to offer in return is the occasional spin in the laundry. It’s a fairly one-sided affair, but she continues to deliver and meet – nay, exceed – my expectations on every adventure. I have long anticipated the day when the “honeymoon” period would end and some of her flaws would begin to show, but gladly, this has not been the case. I think she may be a keeper.
I’ve put my Kyanite through the mill. She’s been on a few multi-pitch climbs in the Alps, kept me cozy and free of midge bites on a day of trad climbing in Glen Clova in Scotland, and has been my go-to garb for hiking in three-season or cooler summer conditions.
But what earned the Kyanite a place in my pack over the other worthy contenders hanging in my wardrobe?
Well, for starters, I’m a true sucker for coziness and comfort – two qualities that the Kyanite possesses in spades. The brushed interior of this hoody is plush and delightfully soft against the skin and throwing it on when temperatures drop in the late afternoon is a real pleasure every time. And despite its light weight, the Kyanite is very warm – almost warm enough to wear sans shell in the shoulder season. I also greatly the fact that the Kyanite works well as a stand-alone outer layer but breathes well enough to fit seamlessly into the middle of a three-part layering system in colder temperatures or when the wet stuff’s falling. I’ve used the Kyanite mainly as a quick warmth booster when hiking in spring and fall, but the fabric’s four-way stretch means this top offers as much agility as even the best base layers.
And the downsides? It feels like nitpicking, but it would have been nice if Arc’teryx had thrown in an adjustable hem to help keep out drafts.
Former Advnture editor Kieran is a climber, mountaineer, and author who divides his time between the Italian Alps, the US, and his native Scotland.
He has climbed a handful of 6000ers in the Himalayas, 4000ers in the Alps, 14ers in the US, and loves nothing more than a good long-distance wander in the wilderness. He climbs when he should be writing, writes when he should be sleeping, has fun always.
Kieran is the author of 'Climbing the Walls (opens in new tab)', an exploration of the mental health benefits of climbing, mountaineering, and the great outdoors.