A resort-oriented shell offering from Arc'teryx, the Incendia was a top performer in many metrics of this review. With a hefty 100D Gore-Tex material, this jacket will no doubt keep the weather out on even the heaviest slush days. This thick material had a durable feel, and we think this jacket is a several-season investment piece. We love its understated style and thoughtful design of ski-specific features, combined with high-performance materials. Still, it costs an awful lot, and our testers prefer the Arc'teryx Sentinel AR slightly over this model when looking for the perfect resort shell jacket. If you have the cash and prefer the style of this jacket, though, it's hard to be disappointed with this model's performance.
Arc'teryx Incendia Review
Cons: Expensive, resort specific
Our Analysis and Test Results
We find the Incendia to be one of our favorite high-end shells. Arc'teryx puts out well-designed shells that match their style and performance, and this iteration is no different. The 100D 3L Gore-tex is about as weather-resistant and breathable as a shell can get, and there were no surprises when it came to performance here. This shell kept out the harshest precipitation and wind like no other. We are enamored with the cut of this jacket, which is long enough and large enough for freeride style and layers, all without sacrificing a feminine edge. If you are in a position to invest in a timeless, exceptional resort shell, this is a great option.
It cannot be overstated how bombproof this jacket feels when put up against harsh winds and any kind of precipitation. The 100D 3L Gore-tex is one of the heaviest waterproof, breathable weaves on the market. We found it hard to find a weak point in this jacket thanks to the taped seam construction and exclusively water-resistant taped zippers. The thickness of this jacket, even though it was just a shell, cut out even the strongest winds we experienced.
The cut of this shell also helps to protect you from the biggest storm days. We felt this jacket protected our faces from anything with a high collar, a helmet-compatible hood, and a sturdy brim. The longer hemline adds an extra layer of seat protection for long lift rides too. Finally, this jacket provides the option to integrate with compatible Arc'teryx pants. Overall, we found this is an optimal shell for long stormy days.
Comfort and Fit
The Incendia is made of a heavy material that felt a little rigid out of the box, but any concerns we had went away as soon as we put it on. The true-to-size fit of this jacket allows room for extra layering on those really cold days. We also love how Arc'teryx leaves plenty of room in the chest and shoulders and articulates the elbows, making movement easy and comfy.
We only really have one criticism of this jacket: the high collar has minimal fleece backing, so the unlined portions of the chin fabric tended to rub a little.
As this is an unlined shell, this jacket did not offer much insulation. However, the Incendia contributes to the overall insulation system. The shell material does an excellent job of breaking cold wind, and we could not feel any drafts through the jacket. As we continue to emphasize, the breathable quality of this shell is also essential in regulating moisture and thus warmth all day long.
Combined with breathable Gore-tex shell material, the Incendia has very effective ventilation features. The pit zips are large and cut diagonally down the sides of the jacket, creating excellent airflow. Additionally, the powder skirt is attached by stretch mesh, allowing for ventilation even when you're working up a sweat skiing deep powder.
We adore the slightly larger fit and longer hemline of the Incendia. The long cut is in line with the freeride style trends of the last few seasons, as is the oversized fit. What Arc'teryx nails here is the tapered cut in combination with these two features, creating a cool and feminine look.
As far as color options go, the Incendia only comes in one color option: heathered grey (at the time of publishing). While we think the black taped zips are sleek and timeless, we also wish there was a little more variety in options. Overall, this shell's understated style will still be more than enough to stand out, even without flashy colors.
With two external chest zip pockets, two internal mesh dump pockets, an internal mesh zip pocket, and a pass pocket, this shell has relatively standard storage options. What stands out is the location of these pockets; we love how none of the pockets interfere with a hip strap of a backpack or a harness.
As we mentioned in talking about weather resistance, we like the ability of this jacket to interlock with compatible Arc'teryx pants, to create a seamless kit. We also like how lightweight the powder skirt is, which is effective without being noticeable. With the Incendia, you'll be well equipped for whatever long days at the resort have to throw at you.
Should You Buy the Incendia?
The highly-rated Arc'teryx Incendia performed extremely well over several metrics and looked good doing it. We especially love the weatherproof feeling of this shell and its sleek blackout style. It's no secret that Arc'teryx products tend to be on the higher end of the price range, and the Incendia is no different. That said, we feel their quality tends to back up a high price tag. The solid construction and sturdy material of the Incendia lead us to believe that this shell is a good investment. If you are in the position to spend on a jacket that should last you several seasons and maintain its quality and style, we think the investment is worth it.
What Other Women's Ski Jackets Should You Consider?
If you are looking to invest in a high-performance shell, then the Arc'teryx Incendia is a great pick for you. But we recognize the sticker shock associated with this jacket. If you are an Arc'teryx devotee, the award-winning Arc'teryx Sentinel AR performs better and costs slightly less. The highly technical Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro is our top pick for backcountry skiers looking for an exceptional shell at a similar price point. Or for more thrifty backcountry skiers, the Outdoor Research Carbide is a great option. If warmth is paramount, consider the insulated Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0 over any of these shell jackets.
— Jacqueline Kearney
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