Arc'teryx Agrium Hoody
If you like extremely versatile, high quality without the extreme styling this might be your next insulated jacket. Designed for the discerning wearer who cares about product sustainability.
- Uses less energy and more sustainable resources to manufacture
- Quality materials and craftsmanship
- Excellent weight-to-warmth
- Ninja mask style chin coverage
- Lacks a two-way front zipper
Arc'teryx is a brand known for high quality products and leadership in responsible materials and manufacturing. Fans of their approach to outdoor products pay a premium for these features; many of which will eventually find their way into mainstream products, years down the road.
The Agrium is a middle-weight puffy coat designed to span the gap between your lightweight "down sweater" and the full-blown down summit parka, doing so with subdued styling.
There is also a non-hooded jacket version for men and a hooded anorak version for women.
- Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certified product
- Contains insulation with 45% recycled polyester content
- Contains bio-derived material from 60% castor bean oil, yielding the same benefits as synthetic nylon while reducing our reliance on fossil fuels
- Contains materials that meet the bluesign criteria
- Dope dyed: Uses significantly less water and energy in the dyeing process
- Arato fabric 10r is a 10D windproof nylon ripstop with enhanced thermal efficiency
- 850 fill European white goose down
- Down Composite Mapping features 850 fill European goose down for premium warmth plus strategic use of synthetic insulation in moisture heavy areas
- Lightweight, down-proof minirip outer
- Adjustable, down insulated StormHood
- 12.9 oz
- MSRP $400
How is it different?
While most cutting-edge outdoor products today announce themselves with flashy, over-the-top styling and branding the Agrium’s quality is discovered by wearers who know and can afford top quality. If you want a quality jacket that isn't three neon colors with GIANY logos all over the place, the Agrium might be worth looking into.
Not only does Arc'teryx make a fantastic jacket that fulfills the role of a mid-layer insulating jacket as well as outer layer puffy, but they do it with thoughtfulness to their product’s environmental impact and fair-trade responsibilities. Will this one jacket save the world? Absolutely not. Is it a possible example for other manufacturers to follow to make the industry less damaging to the world? I think so.
I tested the Agrium in November and December in Washington state. Weather ranged from ugly, wet snow in barely freezing temperatures to deep powdery dry snow in high winds with temperatures in the low twenties. I also got to wear the Agrium in single digit temperatures in town while running errands.
While skinning uphill with skis on I felt fine by just unzipping this jacket and then closing it up and putting the hood on during stops. This is the nice thing about a jacket of this weight; it is okay to wear on the move but also keeps you warm during breaks. I agree with the company marketing claims that the Agrium is a "versatile high performance design for diverse activities and conditions."
I am 5'10" and weigh 200#. My jacket came in size large. The size chart from the manufacturer was accurate.
The Agrium has a medium fit which makes it useful as a stand-alone jacket or as a jacket that you can toss over your other layers when you are moving and need warmth during a break. It is a little too loose in my opinion to use as a dedicated mid layer; between your base layer and your rain shell, but in a pinch it works here pretty well.
The lower hem of the jacket lands about mid-hip on me. Not quite parka length.
The sleeves are plenty long on my arms, which is not common. Usually my longish arms run out of the sleeves, not so with the Agrium.
12.9 ounces is the stated weight. My giant SHTF storm puffy, the Black Diamond Vision Parka weighs 20.4oz and my lightweight, mid layer Outdoor Research Illuminate down hoody weighs 11oz and is not nearly as warm as the Agrium which to me, gives the Agrium an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio.
Most of my testing of the Agrium involved me doing a lot of moving. During one rough snowstorm while skinning up a hill in skis, I had built up a lot of sweat and when I stopped I immediately started shivering. I pulled the Agrium out of my pack and threw it on over my outer layer which stopped my shivering. This let me get switched over to downhill mode with my ski gear, grab some food and water, and wade into the powder on the slope. This, to me, is exactly what a puffy is for and it excelled.
I was happy to note that there weren’t any cold spots where the wind penetrated the jacket. The insulation did not have any gaps.
I love this jacket weight because I can wear it in so many different weather conditions. See the Layering section.
I didn’t see anyplace where Arc'teryx says that the 850 down used in the Agrium is dry-treated. Arc'teryx states that, the Agrium uses synthetic insulation in places prone to getting wet which, according to my “squeeze and feel” test includes the tops of the shoulders, the cuffs, armpits and the top of the hood. I think these are great additions. There may be other places where synthetic is substituted, but it isn’t indicated.
The nylon shell material has more of a coarse, papery feel rather than the ultra-slick feel that most down jackets seem to have. It feels more durable than most basic nylon puffy coats, yet not quite as bulletproof as the material my Black Diamond Vision parka uses. I haven’t managed to tear it yet, even after carrying my skis on my shoulder with their sharp edges.
Down-leakage has not been a problem with the Agrium. I have two teeny feathers poking out the back where the jacket rubs against backpacks and car seats after two months of testing.
I have successfully worn the Agrium as a stand-alone layer, over the top of my rain shell and under my rain shell, however it shines best in situations where it is the outermost layer and the down filling gets to use its loft to keep you warm.
The hood fits over a ski helmet and has a semi-rigid brim that can help keep snow out of your face. There is one adjustment cord that cinches the hood down to make you look like a 1980s ninja, and who doesn't want to be a ninja?!
Arc'teryx has tried to save weight by keeping the zippers on the smaller side, and I do not know if I have ever felt a more smooth, buttery zipper than the main zipper on the Agrium. My unfulfilled wish is that the main zipper was two-way and unzipped from the bottom as well.
The downside to the lighter zippers is that they're not especially easy to use with gloves.
To reduce weight, there are only three packets in the Agrium. The handwarmer pockets are basic, and not lined with anything fleecy or warm. The right-handed chest pocket is accessed from inside the coat and has the stuff sack girth-hitched inside so you will always have it on-hand. Each pocket is large enough to hold a large ski glove easily.
The stuff sack for the Agrium is attached inside the chest pocket. Like all 850 down jackets, the Agrium packs down into a package comparable to a one-liter Nalgene bottle.
I always say this when I review down garments; if its cold enough to wear this jacket it probably won’t be raining. Having said that, the Agrium has a good DWR finish that repels light rain. These coatings are perishable and have their limits. In no way is the Agrium meant to be a raincoat and it is notable that it DOES NOT feature water resistant down filling.
This is one of the reasons you buy down garments. Even though you may be working up a sweat the Agrium will dissipate the excess body heat while protecting you from the cold and wind like magic. This is what makes down such a great insulating material.
The Agrium is low-key style-wise and is stylish enough to wear around town. I found that it became my go-to jacket to wear to work when temps got in the teens this month. The Arc'teryx logo looks cool but may mark your garment for theft as this brand is well known to be quite pricy.
This is a versatile jacket that has a place in just about any activity when the temperatures are below freezing. I use it skiing and will definitely add it to my mountaineering kit for spring and summer fast/light mountaineering.
This jacket is for someone who needs high quality cold-proof clothing and who truly cares about the impact that their clothing has on the world.
I have tested down coats ranging from thin, down sweaters to gigantic, end of the world down parkas, suitable for winter mountaineering.
I've made the Agrium my go-to puffy for all of my trips out this winter. This jacket even saved my bacon after I had sweat too much on a winter ski trip.
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps
(Sample for testing and review provided by Arc'teryx)
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