In the Shadow Canyon, Artilect have crafted a luxuriously soft suit of armor for outdoor adventures in all conditions. Whether you are hiking in the hills, tackling trails in torrential weather, climbing a mountain, sliding down slippery slopes on skis or a board, or packing for a multi-day escapade in challenging terrain where the elements could throw anything at you – the Shadow Canyon has your back.
Reliably wind- and waterproof
Breathable, with good underarm vents
Highly adjustable and versatile
No snow skirt
Single zips on vents
No internal pockets
Pockets not waterproof
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Artilect Shadow Canyon Jacket: first impressions
The Artilect Shadow Canyon is a very capable piece of highly technical apparel, but before we get into all that, it’s worth noting what a handsome-looking jacket this is, and how comfortable it is to wear.
• List price: $570 (US) / £450 (UK)
• Gender specification: Men’s / Women’s
• Sizes: Men’s: XS-XXL; Women’s: XS-XL
• Waterproof rating: HH 30,000
• Breathability rating: 30,000g/m²/day
• Materials: Polyamide; 40D two-way stretch nylon ripstop shell, with GTT Empel treatment; “High and Dry” membrane; 20D 100% recycled jersey backer; YKK Aquaguard main zip
• Weight (Men’s large): 510g / 1lb 2oz
• Colors: Men’s: Ash & Black / Hot Spot & Ash / Slate & Black; Women’s: Black & Ash / Lemon & Ash / Slate & Ash / Ember & Ash
• Compatibility: Backpacking, hiking, trekking, climbing, snow sports and travel
And quiet for that matter – I’ve been lucky enough to test a lot of the best waterproof jackets out there, and so many of them are really noisy when you’re moving, which can get a bit annoying after a little while. The soft feel and lack of rustling and crinkling was the first thing I noticed when I first put on the Shadow Canyon. Then I took it hiking and exploring in the outdoors, putting it to the test during some very heavy downpours, but more about that later.
So, the techy bit. The Shadow Canyon is a super-stylish, PFA-free shell jacket made from top-quality components (incorporating some recycled materials). A three-layer jacket, it offers excellent protection from the elements, including severe rain, snow and wind.
The Shadow Canyon’s three layers are: a tough but dynamic 40D two-way stretch nylon ripstop exterior face fabric with a hydrostactic head rating of 30k; a 20D 100% recycled jersey backer; and a bluesign- and Oeko-Tex- approved “High and Dry” membrane in the middle that boasts breathability and waterproofing ratings right at the top end of the scales used to measure such things. A GTT Empel treatment (which improves water repellency in an environmentally friendly way), fully taped seams and a YKK Aquaguard main zip complete the excellent weatherproofing qualifications of this jacket.
There’s a large zipped pocket on each side of the coat – both of which are large enough to take a sheet map or a multitude of other items – plus there’s a zipped chest pocket on the left breast, ideal for stashing things that you need to keep close to hand and easily accessible, such as a bank card. There is no inside pocket, though.
The Shadow Canyon has a large zipped underarm vent under each arm, so you can dump excess warmth quickly, and then maintain some airflow. The cuffs can be secured around your wrists (or gloves) with a single velcro strip, and although there is no dedicated snow skirt on this jacket, the waist can also be tightened via a pull cord and a couple of toggles.
A good-quality, highly water-resistant YKK Aquaguard zip runs right up to your nose, where a chin protector supplies cover for the lower part of your face. All zips have pulls, so they can easily be operated, even when you’re wearing gloves. The hood is helmet compatible and features a stiffened peak to keep the worst of the weather out of your eyes. It can be easily adjusted and tightened around the top of your face by using a toggle at the back of the head.
Artilect Shadow Canyon Jacket: on the trails
The Shadow Canyon is a very versatile, all-conditions outdoor shell. It’s excellent as a ski jacket, and can be worn while you’re enjoying any sort of snow sports, but this Artilect garment is so much more than just a winter outer layer. I’ve been using it for the last year, putting it to the test across four seasons, while hiking, biking, trekking and climbing in all sorts of weather.
As mentioned above, I really love how peaceful it is to wear, compared to many other high-performing waterproof jackets that rustle and crinkle while you walk. The Artilect Shadow Canyon is so silent and breathable that I found myself wearing it long after the clouds had cleared and the rain had stopped.
However, it’s during the heaviest downpours and angriest conditions that the Shadow Canyon really comes into its own, offering supreme levels of all-weather protection, including around the zip area (where so many other supposedly waterproof jackets wobble a bit). With the main zip pulled right up to my nose, and the hood tightened so I was left with just a small slot to look through beneath the peak, I found that I could continue walking through even the worst weather, including strong wind and horizontal rain, sleet and snow.
The breathability rating of 30k is already impressive, but regardless of these figures, and no matter how chilly outside temperatures get, there are always times when you feel too warm while doing energetic activities such as walking, skiing and climbing. When this happened, I was extremely grateful for the large vents that extend from the underarms of the Shadow Canyon, right down each side, and which can be opened wide to quickly release the hot air and let a cool breeze in. There’s only a single zip on these vents, which doesn’t offer as much flexibility as a double zip, but they did allow me to control my temperature as I continued with my adventures.
This is a premium product, with a price tag to match, but if you’re looking for a shell layer that looks and feels great, and supplies top-end protection during all kinds of conditions, the Artilect Shadow Canyon is an excellent choice.
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.