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Arc'teryx Acto MX Hoody

rated 4 of 5 stars
photo: Arc'teryx Acto MX Hoody fleece jacket

Go-to jacket for almost all activities in the colder months. Layers well and is great to use alone. A hidden gem in the Arc'teryx clothing line.


  • Breathable
  • Warm
  • Great design


  • Needs different hood adjustments
  • Needs a hem drawcord

The Arc'teryx Acto MX Hoody is designed to be a very breathable, but protective jacket for high-energy exercise in cold weather.  It is made of Aerius Gridloft, which is a lightweight grid fleece laminated to a wind- and water-resistant shell fabric.  Or in other words, take the Patagonia R1 Hoody and make it highly water- and wind-resistant, but don't take away very much of its breathability.

The wind- and water-resistance is due to the tightness of the weave of the face fabric, not a membrane (like windstopper or conduit, etc). Therefore, it breathes significantly better, though it doesn't block all of the wind.  I would guess, based on my own experience, that it blocks about 95% of the wind. That 5% that it does let in helps to move water vapor out of the garment and speeds up drying if somebody has already sweat. 

The features of this jacket are simple: two chest pockets, a helmet-compatible hood with two-way adjustment (Needs a different adjustment system, imo. More about that later), and that's about it.

I absolutely love the simplicity of this jacket. No pockets where a harness or hipbelt go.  No pit zips (not necessary). The seams are taped to increase comfort while wearing as a midlayer, not for increased water resistance. The cuffs and hem are impeccably finished, but I think Arc'teryx could improve the function of those as well. 

Abrasion resistance on this jacket has been top-notch so far, though it is only about 2 months old. I have dry-tooled in it and scraped up against rocks and bricks and so far no sign of wear. Time will tell, I guess. 

This Jacket is beautiful. While ice climbing in it, I ran into a friend. From about 50 feet away while hiking up toward us he said, "Dang.  What jacket is that?  That looks nice!" And then he inspected it for about 5 minutes.  And the compliments keep coming. Pretty much wherever I wear this jacket, people are making comments about how nice it looks.

The Gripes

I love this jacket and I use it almost everytime I go into the mountains, but it's not perfect. First of all, the cuffs and hem that I said were finished so nicely, need a little work. I thought I'd love the cuffs (because Arc'teryx always nails the cuffs - see Atom lt), but I don't like that they're not adjustable. 

When I climb in them, they're great. But when I want to put the jacket on or take it off, I have to take my gloves off as well. I didn't think that would be a problem, but I was surprised how often I would get slightly annoyed that I couldn't get my jacket off with gloves on. Maybe if they were just a little stretchier.  I'm not sure the best solution, but the cuffs need a little work.

The hem also needs work. There is no hem drawcord on this jacket. Again, I didn't think I would care about this when I first got the jacket, but because I usually use this as my outerlayer, I would like to be able to keep cold wind out of the jacket a little better.  A hem drawcord would be nice.

Finally, I think that the hood needs a little work. It works pretty well while wearing a climbing helmet, but I can't seem to get the hood adjusted right when I'm not wearing one. I like a hood to move with my head when I turn. This one doesn't very well, especially without a helmet.  The size of the hood is perfect, but they need a drawcord to cinch the hood to the head from behind. Again, I'm not sure exactly what the best solution is, but I think the hood needs work. Arc'teryx has been making the best products for years, I'm sure they could figure something out. 

- Helmet-compatible hood with two adjustments. The lower adjustment takes volume out of the hood when not wearing a helmet.  The other adjustment cinches hood around the face.  I think a third cinch from the back of the head would help when not wearing a helmet. 

The Verdict

Though not the perfect jacket, there is something to be said about a jacket that is my first choice for almost every outdoor trip, from ice climbing to snowshoeing to mountaineering to looking good at the movies. This jacket has all but replaced by Gore-tex shell, occasionally replaced my Atom lt, and totally replaced all my other fleece midlayers.

The material is top-notch. I haven't ever seen or used a better softshell (Arc'teryx calls it a hard fleece) for high-aerobic activities, including my Gamma MX Hoody. If I expect to be in absolutely horrendous weather, I still take the waterproof shell. For everything else, I take the Acto. 

Worth its $300 retail price? I guess that totally depends on your income and how much time you spend in the outdoors.  If  you have $300 to spend on a softshell, this would be a great way to go. If buying this means your family goes hungry, probably not. 

I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars.  5 out of 5 stars for the fabric, but 4 out of 5 overall.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $250

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