Arc’teryx Caden Jacket

Arc’teryx Caden JacketWill Brown reviews the Arc'teryx Caden Jacket, Blister Gear Review.

Size Tested: Large

Front zipper length: 31.5” / 80.0cm

Color: Orangutan

Stated Weight: 605 grams

Reviewer Info:

  • 6’2”, 155 lbs.
  • Typically wears a size Large

Features:

  • Shell Material: Gore-Tex Pro 3L
  • Internal zippered pocket
  • Internal mesh dump pocket
  • Two chest pockets
  • Two hand pockets
  • Sleeve pocket.
  • Velco cuff adjusters
  • Powder skirt

Days Tested: 40+

Locations tested: Taos Ski Valley, NM, Summit County, CO, Canterbury club fields, New Zealand.

We’re big fans of the Arc’teryx Rush jacket, a versatile shell that’s great for resort riding, yet also suitable for ski-touring and summer use. However, the Caden caught our eye as a more dedicated freeride jacket.

Like the Rush, the Caden is made with Gore-Tex Pro and cut with Arc’teryx’s roomiest “Expedition Fit.” But it offers the most features of all the non-insulated jackets in their Whiteline series of big-mountain, freeride-oriented pieces.

Fit

I almost always wear jackets in a size Large. I’ve tested the Caden in a size Large, and Arc’teryx’s description of the Caden’s fit is on point: “Suitable for winter / extreme conditions. The larger cut accommodates multiple layers without binding or restricting movement. Our maximum fit with room for a base layer plus multiple, thick cold weather mid-layers.”

In terms of length, the Caden’s front zipper measures 31.5″, which is on the longer side of things. I wouldn’t call it a “park” fit, but it is certainly a looser, more relaxed one, similar to the cut of the Fly Low Lab Coat. (If anything, the Lab Coat feels a little bit wider than the Caden.)

The Caden’s fit is also longer and a bit more relaxed than minimalist, touring-oriented shells like the Westcomb Apoc and Mountain Equipment Arclight.

Will Brown reviews the Arc'teryx Caden Jacket, Blister Gear Review.
Will Brown in the Arc’teryx Caden, Craigieburn Valley Ski Area.

Similarly, the sleeve length of the Caden is pretty long. My arms are probably a bit longer than average, and the sleeves of the Caden extend well past my knuckles with my hands at my side, reaching just before the tips of my fingers.

I’ve liked everything about the Caden’s longer, loose fit for skiing. It’s bottom hem never rides up above above my waist, even if I’m reaching overhead, and is long enough to prevent any “up and under” draft.

As for layering, just as Arc’teryx says, I can wear a couple of base layers and a Patagonia Nano Puff, Nano Air, or a much thicker Hi-Loft Down Sweater Hoodie under the Caden, and still have enough room to move around, unrestricted.

All this is to say, if you’re looking for a looser freeride fit to allow for multiple layers and full range of motion while skiing, the Caden is a great option that fits true to size.

However, I find it’s larger cut makes it a little impractical for year-round use. I have used the Caden as a rain jacket here and there in the summer, but I can’t see anyone using it for anything like alpine climbing objectives. If you were to size down in the Caden, you might be able to use it as a multi-season shell more appropriately than I have, but if year-round use is what you’re after, the Rush jacket may be the better option here.

Features

The Caden is the “most featured” jacket in Arc’teryx’s Whiteline series, with six zippered pockets, an internal mesh “dump pocket,” a fully adjustable storm hood, and a powder skirt. As a result, it’s also a little heavier than the Sidewinder SV and Rush—Arc’teryx’s other two non-insulated Gore-Tex Pro jackets.

Pockets

The Trew Bellows and Cosmic jackets have enormous chest pockets that offer a bit more overall carrying capacity than the Caden, but I was totally happy with the amount of storage it provides.

The jacket is great for carrying odds and ends around with you on the hill. On our recent test trip to New Zealand I was able to easily carry a couple of Sony Action Cams, as well as extra Action Cam mounts and batteries, a granola bar, a neck tube, and my phone and wallet around with room to spare.

The Caden’s chest pockets are nice for storing items that aren’t too bulky that you’d like to be able to get to easily (phone, wallet, energy bar, ski lock, etc), but they aren’t big enough to carry skins in. I’ve read some complaints that the openings on the Caden’s chest pockets are too small, making it impossible for some people to fit their hands in, but I haven’t had this problem. I don’t have small hands (usually wear a size Large in most gloves), but I would not say they’re especially huge, either. I can fit my whole hand in either chest pocket, though I usually don’t need to because the pockets aren’t deep enough to require it.

The Caden’s hand pockets are nice and big. I often use them to stash a pair of gloves or goggles on my way to the lift, or while fiddling with my pack. The pockets are low enough, however, that they’re not easy to get to with a pack’s hip belt strapped around your waist. Again, if you’re looking for maximum carrying capacity in a hard shell with larger, pack-friendly chest pockets, I’d take a look at the Trew Cosmic. But the Cosmic is heavier than the Caden, and in my experience, doesn’t offer quite the same level of breathability as the Caden’s Gore-Tex Pro membrane.

Will Brown reviews the Arc'teryx Caden Jacket, Blister Gear Review.
Goggle pocket of the Arc’teryx Caden (shown here in Storm).

Inner Mesh Pocket

I’ve owned shells with inner mesh pockets that were either too short, or that had an opening that was too wide to securely hold a larger, bulkier item like a pair of goggles. But the mesh “dump pocket” on the Caden works great. It will easily secure a pair of goggles and a spare lens, or a pair of gloves, thanks to its large size and an elastic opening that it slightly narrower than the pocket itself.

Hood

Paul Forward mentioned that the storm hood on the Arc’teryx Rush is the best he’s ever used, and I’d say the same of the Caden’s. It’s plenty big enough to fit over a ski helmet, and can cinch down well in order to stay put.

5 thoughts on “Arc’teryx Caden Jacket

  1. Great review, spot on! I was one of those bummed by the chest pockets, which ultimately made me choose the Theta SVX, the Rush comes at a close second, another great shell! For those that are not bothered by the chest pocket (I’m talking about a small size jacket, so maybe the pockets are a bit too small compared to the large, not made in the same proportion). Anyway, for a durable, waterproof, great fit shell jacket there is no need to look anywhere else other than Rush, Caden or SVX from Arcteryx!

  2. Hey Will –

    As always, an excellent, value-additive review! Man, you guys put other reviewers to shame!

    I just like to know how the height of the collar stack up to other jackets in the category? I’m a firm believer that a big hood and most importantly one with a sturdy and TALL collar is a critical design feature in a jacket, as it can eliminate/minimize the need for all those annoying neck gaiters that just get wet and freeze up on stormy or windy days. I’m looking at this jacket to replace my 2004 Alpha SV and see how it stacks up in fit/hood versus other jackets in its class, particularly the Arc’teryx Theta SVX, which seems to have a more bomber hood, but less features overall. Appreciate your thoughts!

    – Andrew

    • Hey Andrew

      I spent some time with these 3 jackets at home before choosing the one to keep. In general the Caden is roomier than most, but not as much as the SVX. This is valid for everything, fit, hood, collar. It’s a little shorter than the SVX despite some information on Arcteryx website. 1) hood is definitely bigger than most other jackets (Rush, Patagonia Powslayer, Flylow Neoshell), but it’s smaller than the SVX 2) collar is about the same height as the Rush but roomier, taller than the Powslayer and about the same I guess compared to the Flylow. 3) length is longer than flylow and rush, about the same as the Powslayer and a little shorter than the SVX.

      The SVX is the roomier of all of them without being baggy, the hood is absolutely huge but it works flawlessly and doesn’t get in the way! I really like it! But it’s more expensive jacket, missing a chest pocket and no skirt. I decided to go with the SVX basically because of the fit is more generous, and it’s also lighter than the Rush and Caden. I don’t care much for the skirt since I like to use bibs most of the time, and the chest pockets were too small for me on the Caden. If you can get pass the higher price, and you don’t mind the skirt I’d go for the SVX if you want more protection from the elements, the SVX is unbeatable! But both Caden and Rush also have their place, both outstanding shells!

      • I added some other shells to the comparison in case you have experience with flylow and patagonia. Also when I said “missing a chest pocket” I was talking about the right chest pocket the Caden has and the SVX doesn’t. The SVX has a sleeve, left chest, 2 hand, 1 internal zipper and 1 internal stash pocket.

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