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Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody Review

The best truly waterproof trail running jacket I've ever owned.

What Is It?

The Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody is a "super light" waterproof trail running jacket designed for heavy output under wet conditions. Arc'teryx achieves this lightweight by using GORE-TEX's SHAKEDRY™ fabric which provides true waterproof-ness and breathability thanks to an innovative 2-layer construction.

Typical waterproof jackets have a 3-layer construction with a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) coated abrasion resistant outer layer, a waterproof/breathable membrane, and a soft inner liner. Because there are more layers, jackets of this type tend to be a little heavier and rigid. Also, DWR coating wears off over time and has to be reapplied otherwise dirt and oils can build up and reducing the waterproof effectiveness. When this happens water gets trapped on the surface material and prevents the internal membrane from breathing by blocking internal water vapor. This is known as "wet out" where waterproof jackets get heavy and wet.

The SHAKEDRY™ fabric avoids this problem by not having an external layer and exposing the waterproof membrane on the surface with a soft liner inside. As a result, the fabric's effectiveness is increased in terms of breathability and persistently beading water off the surface at the expense of some durability.

GORE-TEX does not list exact specifications, but the the jacket has an estimate waterproof rating of around 28,000g/m². The fabric also has a breathability score of RET <3 which is considered extremely breathable.

Jacket itself is a slim fitting and fully zips up to the top of your neck. There's a waterproof strip behind the zipper to help keep water out.

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Norvan SL is slim fitting and shiny.

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Back view of the Norvan SL.

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Front view.

There is elastic reflective trim at the ends of the sleeves and at the bottom of the garment that provide for a locked in fit.

The fitted hood provides a little bit of structure at the brim which helps to channel water to the sides and better visibility. A bungie in the back of the hood can be adjusted for a dialed-in fit. Lastly, the hood can be rolled inwards and secured with a snap when not in use.

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Roll in the hood and secure with a snap.

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The storage bag stays attached to an inner loop.

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Packs up small and takes very little space in a running vest or pack.

Inside the jacket there is a loop with a small pouch attached. The entire jacket can be folded and placed in the pouch which is about the size of a fist.

The jacket in a US men's Medium only weighs 4.4oz (125g).

How Has It Worked Out?

Simply Amazing.

Whether it's wind or heavy downpours, this jacket does what it promises to do. While running in the rain has always been fun for me, it's now more enjoyable since the jacket keeps me from getting drenched and heavy. Even better, when I'm done with a run, a couple of shakes of the jacket is all that's needed to get excess water off the surface. It will be a little damp inside but that's due to my own perspiration.

I do wish the jacket came in other colors but I understand that this is a current limitation of the SHAKEDRY material.

While the zipper has a backing fabric, it is possible for some water to get in if there's heavy horizontal rain. In practice, this rarely happens.

I've run two races in the jacket.

Norvan SL at Avalon 50 image

Norvan SL at Avalon 50

Norvan SL at Seawheeze image

Norvan SL at Seawheeze

The first was the 2018 Lululemon SeaWheeze Half-Marathon in Vancouver which started off with scattered showers for the first half of the race followed by strong winds along the Sea Wall at the end. I wore the jacket the entire time and ran comfortably the entire time. The outside of the jacket was completely dry at the finish line thanks to those winds.

The second race was the 2019 Avalon 50/50, a 50 mile trail ultramarathon, where it was scattered showers and winds throughout the day. I wore the jacket for well over 10 hours and taking it off for about 45 minutes during one sunny spot during the day. Because it folds down small, it was easy to store in my running vest. I never wet out an the jacket dried off within minutes with a little bit of wind.

Despite being very thin, I've been surprised at how durable it's been. They don't recommend wearing regular packs with it but I haven't had issues with a fully loaded running vest.

The Good

  • Truly waterproof
  • Windproof while also being very breathable
  • Amazingly light
  • Easily packable

The Less Good

  • There are no pockets
  • It only comes in a shiny black due to the material
  • It's expensive

Is It Worth It?

Yes, absolutely. It has protected me from getting soaked while in numerous rainy situations from races to training runs on the roads and in the mountains.

This is one of those pieces of kit that's worth spending on because it does exactly what it's supposed to do.

Highly recommended.

Product Info
Does it just work?
Is it well-made?
Does it deliver?
Is it worth it?
Final Score
9/10

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