Gear Closet: Arc’teryx Stryka Hoody Review

Over the past decade or so the outdoor industry has been in an arms race of sorts when it comes to making the most breathable, most water-resistant, and most durable fabrics. As a result, the gear we use has gotten much better, but it has also become more complicated and expensive too.

Over that time, we’ve come to understand that sometimes the best gear is simple and elegant, serving one purpose and doing it very well. Such is the case with Arc’teryx Stryka Hoody, a garment that makes up for its lack of frills with outstanding performance and comfort.

On paper, the Stryka Hoody doesn’t look like much. It’s a pull-over technical sweatshirt made from soft, breathable fabrics that excel at wicking moisture away from the body. This allows the wearer to maintain excellent temperature control while active in cool or cold conditions.

Those fabrics offer a fair amount of stretch that allows the hoody to hug the contours of the body nicely and move fluidly, without impeding motion. That makes the Stryka an excellent option for active outdoor pursuits in cold weather, such as skiing, climbing, or trail running.

Other than that, the Stryka doesn’t have a lot of other features. As  I mentioned, it is a fairly simple, straight-forward product. It does have a zippered chest pocket that is large enough to hold a smartphone or an energy bar.

It also features a hood that is designed to fit under a helmet, rather than over it. That hood comes with a built-in balaclava to provide extra warmth and protection for the face when those cold days turn windy.

Simplistic Design and Ultra Quality

So, if that is all there is to the Stryka, you’re probably wondering what makes it so special?

In part, it is the simplicity of design and the all-around quality of the garment. Coming from Arc’teryx, you expect nothing less than an outstanding product built with outdoor athletes in mind.

That’s exactly what you’ll get here, too, as the hoody more than lives up to the brand’s premium status. But also typical of Arc’teryx, the Stryka is more than the sum of its parts.

It is just one of those apparel pieces that you find yourself reaching for when you know you need performance you can trust, which is what I’ve been doing over the past two months since I first got my hands on it.

Not Your Ordinary Base Layer

Arc’teryx lists the Stryka as a base layer, and I suppose that’s probably the best category to put it in. That said, base layers are meant to be worn next to the skin, but I always have another layer underneath this when I’ve worn it out into the cold.

It’s not quite an insulating layer, however, so it kind of falls in-between. This ends up adding to the versatility of the hoody, which works well both on its own and as part of a larger layering system.

In fact, I’ve used it under a jacket on cold, but less-active, days on the trail or as my outer layer while climbing in the Presidential Range in New Hampshire. It was especially useful and comfortable on those more active outings, where moisture and temperature control are vital.

The Stryka delivers a lot of bang for your buck. Not only does it perform exceptionally well, but it also feels very durable too. That means that this is a layer that you’ll have at your disposal for many adventures to come, providing comfort and consistent performance.

If only all of our outdoor gear could offer a similar guarantee.

Find out more on the Arc’teryx website.