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Feb 05 2014

Review: Arc’teryx Caden Jacket

 

Caden provides all the adjustments and pockets a skier wants or needs.

Caden — clean lines, pockets galore.

PR guys can tell you all sorts of things. If you just regurgitate them, you’re not practicing journalism, you’re shilling for them. In the ski world, where we’re all just pumping each other up with the opportunity to schuss through the ever dwindling offering from the heavens, any piece of gear that does it better is worth a plug to share the stoke. A lot of times that becomes an excuse for stoking the fires of consumerism, not practicing the passion itself.

Nonetheless, when Chris Denny, Arc’teryx’ chief bull slinger in the US said, “Don’t forget, Arc’teryx wasn’t the first to do Goretex, just the best,” that was no bull. It is embarrassingly obvious in their Caden jacket.

Clean Lines, Plenty o’ Pockets

Five pockets fill out the front - two side pockets, a sleeve pocket and two on the chest.

Five pockets fill out the front – two side pockets, a sleeve pocket and two on the chest.

As we have come to expect from Arcteryx, the Caden looks clean and uncluttered, yet has plenty of places to stash gloves, gadgets, skins, and gorp. There are two large pockets on the sides to stash skins, a water bottle, whatever you have a need to access fast and don’t care if you look pregnant.

For stylistic reasons only one zipper of the two small chest pockets is visible. The pocket on the right is hidden beneath a fold, and both are Napoleon style. Inside there is a mesh pocket on the right side for stuff you want to stay warm and there’s a sleeve pocket on the upper left arm for a magnetic lift ticket or other thin device.

A helmet easily fits under the hood, or cinches down on either side in front, plus height and orbital adjustment lines.

A helmet easily fits under the hood, or cinches down on either side in front, plus height and orbital adjustment lines.

Though I tried to overlook it, there’s a powder skirt. I dislike those things the same as ankle gaiters. Just more material to get in the way of hitting the trail sooner. You probably like that feature, so your plus is my minus. We can agree to disagree on this triviality. On powder days I reserve the right to change my mind and like it.

The hood is big enough for helmets, but can cinch down for pinheads who don’t need no stinkin’ brain buckets — our heads are just a box of rocks anyway. ;)

Cuffs cinch down with classic velcro straps, with a slight curve to them, making them line up easier. This is perhaps the feature that is the most subtle, but that I notice and appreciate every time I tighten ‘em ’round my wrists.

More Breathable

True or False? The new Goretex® Pro is more breathable. True.

True or False?
The new Goretex® Pro
is more breathable.
True.

The waterproof/breathable forumula that makes this attention to detail worth a closer look? The new Gore-Tex ® Pro laminate that W.L.Gore claims is 28% more breathable. Actually, I couldn’t be that precise, but I can say it is noticeably more breathable than any prior incarnation of Goretex, effectively on par with competitive products like eVent or NeoShell. Though it has a softer hand and feel than prior incarnations, it is still stiff enough to create a noisy hood that interferes with outside sounds.

Bottom Line

What’s not to like about the Caden?

The price and the slender cut. Quality is never cheap. Either slim down and buck up or move along.

Arc’teryx
Caden
MSRP: $650
Weight (M): 1 lb., 6 oz. (623 g)
Sizes available: S–XL

© 2014