Arc'teryx Sentinel - Women's Review
Cons: Colors stain easily, expensive, no insulation
Bottom line: This lightweight, ski specific hardshell jacket is a great choice for front, back and sidecountry ski adventures.
# of Pockets: 2 hand, 1 sleeve, 1 internal laminated, 1 internal drop-in
Main Fabric: GORE-TEX 3-layer construction
The Arc'teryx Sentinel looks out for your well being in any conditions and is the most versatile ski specific jacket we have tested. It is the lightest hardshell in our review. This jacket has a simple, flattering design that our testers love. It has very few bells and whistles, but is lightweight and has all the ski features you need to get after it at the resort or in the backcountry.
RELATED REVIEW: The 10 Best Ski Jackets for Women
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The lightest weight, most versatile, and softest feeling ski specific hardshell in this review, the Sentinel will guard you against the elements. It has excellent ski features, high-quality materials, and sleek, simple design.
The Sentinel does a great job protecting you from all kinds of weather. The 3-layer Gore-Tex shell material stops wind and moisture in their tracks. We think this is the perfect storm skiing jacket. The Sentinel's cavernous hood was our favorite, and you will be able to put it on over any ski helmet. The hood is super easy to adjust with the toggles at the collarbone to cinch it down — unlike the Arc'Teryx Tiya where the cord locks are on the inside of the hood and very difficult to adjust with gloves. We also like the Patagonia Untracked's hood adjustments, which are similar to the Sentinel.
Along with the Untracked - Women's, the Sentinel has the best ventilation of the bunch. It has watertight pit-zips that become gaping openings for venting. The Gore-Tex material seems to breathe relatively well, only producing a little bit of condensation inside when we sweat.
We even took this jacket out for a high output cross-country ski and were able to vent enough that things didn't get wet inside the jacket. This bodes well for anyone who is looking for a good ski touring jacket where they'll be working hard on the up and the down.
We scored all the un-insulated shell jackets we reviewed the same in this department. None of them, including the Sentinel and the Flylow Billie Coat, are insulated, and they cannot be evaluated in the warmth department. The Sentinel's shell material has a brushed "Flannel" backing, which some manufacturers (Patagonia) say add warmth, but we don't think it significantly increases the warmth of the Sentinel or the Untracked jackets.
Shell jackets are made to be a versatile layer where you can put as much or as little insulation on underneath depending upon the conditions. If you are looking for a quality, insulated jacket with Gore-Tex shell material, check out the Patagonia Primo Down - Women's or the Tiya
Since this jacket is meant to be a "Big Mountain Skiing" jacket, Arc'teryx has paid close attention to the Sentinel's ski features. They have kept it simple and included the necessities, but nothing else. We appreciate this in the jacket because it is the lightest weight jacket in this review, and weight matters when you're schlepping yourself around under your own power in the backcountry.
The Sentinel has all the pockets you'll need: two large front handwarmer pockets, goggle and pass pockets, as well as an interior zipper pocket that has been laminated to protect your essential items like phones and wallets from moisture. The Sentinel also has an integrated powder skirt, that we wish was removable like the Primo Down and Billie Coat's are. Many jackets in this review can attach to ski pants to further fortify yourself from getting snow up your back. The Sentinel has a particular feature to do this that is only compatible with other Arc'teryx ski pants called the "Slide 'n Loc snap closure". This is great if you're only loyal to Arc'teryx, just make sure you're getting the right model of pant! We like the Untracked's powder skirt connection that just loops around your belt loops, although we think that snow can still find its way in there.
Arc'teryx has a certain simple, sleek appeal. This company's garments always look well tailored and well put-together. We think this stands true with the Sentinel. Although it is Arc'teryx's "relaxed fit" it is still the least baggy of the hardshells we tested. The Arc'teryx Tiya also has that fitted, sleek look, even though it is insulated with synthetic fill. The Sentinel has a nice long cut that can cover your behind. We tested the bright and cheerful golden poppy color, but have seen it start to stain and show dirt after time, especially from wearing a backpack. We think that the Flylow Billie Coat is the most stylish of the three hardshell jackets we tested.
Comfort and Fit
The Sentinel is the most comfortable of the hardshells in this review. We love the soft feel of the N70p GORE-TEX Fabric used — it is much lighter weight, quieter, and more comfortable than the materials used in the Untracked jacket although the Billie Coat has improved its materials this year and are very similar to the Sentinel.
A common theme with Arc'teryx is that the fit is small. We think that the Sentinel is on the lower end of the size spectrum. It fits relatively true to size, but we would not call it's fit unusually "relaxed" like Arc'teryx claims. If you are a lady with a more hourglass shape, you may find your size slightly tight in the hips and should consider sizing up if you want to put a lot of layers on underneath.
If you are looking for a mighty fortress of a shell layer that is relatively lightweight for backcountry forays, the Sentinel jacket is a great choice. We brought the Sentinel backcountry, cross-country, and resort skiing. This is the most versatile jacket in this review and could be a great choice if you want a jacket to take with you skiing in all climates, especially when you anticipate it being wet.
The Sentinel is quite pricey, retailing for $625. We think this is a decent value for your buck because it is made from high-quality materials and will last you a long time. If you're looking for a less expensive hardshell that is super stylish, check out the Billie Coat, or for a high functioning insulated jacket, the Orage Nina.
This high quality ski specific shell will protect you from the elements like a good Sentinel should. It is the most versatile ski jacket we tested and allows you to choose your own layers for up and down, and it is easy to vent. It is lightweight and has all the ski features you will need to keep you high functioning on the ski hill, but no extra bells and whistles. It is a great storm skiing jacket, especially for someone who loves skiing powder! For resort, backcountry, and sidecountry adventures the Sentinel has got your back.
— Jessica Haist
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