Is the new Nodin windshirt from Arc’teryx a substitute for the iconic Squamish?
Designed with commitment to functional minimalism, the hooded Nodin Jacket delivers performance in an ultralight package that easily fits in any size pack.
I do like a windshirt, I’ve been a fan of the Arc’teryx Squamish for quite some time now. Our editor Kev swears by them and used his very effectively the other year when we went to climb the iconic and awesome Fiesta de los Biceps in Riglos, Spain. At that time I wore a very flimsy windshirt that soon developed significant wear where my harness was rubbing against it. I then went and bought a Patagonia Houdini and loved the whole windshirt concept (at the time I couldn’t afford a Sqamish). Kev wore his Sqamish and was toasty warm all day long – I admired it greatly.
Why have a windshirt? Well there are plenty of great reasons – you can wear it on the approach when wearing a full blown soft or hardshell would leave you sweating buckets at the bottom of the route (they work perfectly for those windy, showery conditions that you don’t want to overdress for); you can one hang one off your harness on that sheltered route and pop it on when you arrive at the top and find it windy enough to make you feel cold; they are much more versatile than a full blown hardshell and pack up tiny to take up no room at all in your pack.
The Arc’teryx Nodin sit somewhere in between the iconic Arc’teryx Squamish and a Patagonia Houdini. It is supremely versatile, packs down super tiny and has proved useful for all my outdoor and urban adventures. It has become my number one, go to jacket for all my activities from climbing to cycling and then looking cool at writing reviews in central Leeds coffee bars with other freelancers. What more could I ask for!
The fit of the Nodin is trim but overly athletic and it fitted over my Arc’teryx Karda jacket to add an extra layer of shower protection on my urban adventures as well as over my Fortrez Hoody to provide a perfect fast moving mountain system. So the fit isn’t as cloying as some athletic fits can be and I have this to be the case for many of the premium North American brands. So a great fit that provides freedom of movement but not too baggy so it flaps about noisily in windy conditions.
The Arc’teryx Nodin is super light too, the stated weight is 155g and the trusty CGR scales weighed it in at 158g so not too much of a discrepancy there and very similar to the Sqamish. Both of these models are heavier than a Patagonia Houdini but the materials are more burly with the Arc’teryx Nodin being made from 20 denier Nylon and the Squamish 30 denier Nylon, so I feel you are getting a more robust and durable jacket with the Nodin. It is treated with a DWR and sheds light showers with ease.
The Arc’teryx Nodin has plenty of features too, the YKK full length zip has a neat storm flap on the inside to keep the outer streamlined and all the zip pulls are made from superlight 1mm cord. The two handwarmer pockets are well positioned (although not for wearing a harness) and have a nice, stiffened, pocket flap to help keep the jacket trim looking when they are not being used. I did like this feature for when I wore the jacket socially as it makes the pockets look inconspicuous. The right hand pocket has a meshed security pocket that is big enough for my iPhone including when I keep it in a Lifeproof case. The security pocket also acts as the stow pocket which the Nodin stuffs into keeping everything nice and compact. This has a large tab that takes all carabiner sizes to hang off packs or harnesses. It is very compact so takes up no room in my pack and sits neatly into my commute pack for meetings and writing sessions.
One of the pocket features I do like is the sewn interior pockets. The pockets are sewn to cleverly provide two large internal pockets for stowing gloves, hats, Buffs and even food if you are really travelling superlight, this in effect gives the Nodin 4 pockets which is great. The sleeves have elasticated trim at the bottom which worked well with lightweight gloves, they also pull up onto my forearms (but over my elbows) so that when the lead gets tough I can prepare for action! I like the gusseted underarms of the sleeves, this is well designed and cut as one piece and not triangulated as many other gusseted features are – classic Arc’teryx. The body hem has a one handed cinch cord pull that pulls the Nodin tight against the waist to keep the draft out and warmth in. The styling is finished with a light reflective Arc’teryx logo.
Much is made of the StowHood on the Nodin jacket, the hood is snug fitting and will fit over a wooly hat or baseball type cap but not a helmet when climbing or cycling. Well, it will but you can’t do the zip up in any sort of comfort, better to deploy the hood and then put the helmet on top of that if conditions dictate that sort of thing. What the hood does though is stows away into the collar very well this makes the jacket perform well for running and hiking when you don’t want a hood but just a little wind protection. It also makes the jacket more acceptable in social situations when you want to proclaim your adventure credentials but don’t want to go into full Chris Bonnington mode! The zip is virtually invisible, looking just like a sewn seam and it is easy to deploy with the long zip pull – a nice feature.
The Arc’teryx Nodin is a premium jacket and I’ve come to expect superb attention to detail so it was disappointing to see that in some key areas there was some bartacked stitching needed – namely the hanging loop, the bottom of the main zip and the stow loop for hanging off harnesses. It’s this sort of attention to detail that Arc’teryx is famous for and I’ve come to expect. I’m assuming that the Nodin isn’t designed as a fully featured climbing and mountaineering piece so the extra burliness is necessary and would add weight.
In conclusion, the Arc’teryx Nodin is a great, versatile windproof jacket that is full of features that any active person would find useful. It’s as stylish on the crag as it would be in town and you can easily wear it for both. It has proved my most used jacket of the season and has worked perfectly with the Skyline shirt (review to follow) as a combination that I am happy to attend client meetings in. It sits nicely in the adventure bracket and although you can use it for climbing, you may want to look at the Squamish at the same price point – it isn’t as versatile though.
The Arc’teryx Nodin comes in sizes XS to XXL and 5 colour options (I tested the nice Rooibos which is like a Burnt Orange). There is also a women’s version is sizes XS to XL and 4 colour choices.