Size Tested: Large
Front zipper length: 31.5” / 80.0cm
Stated Weight: 605 grams
- 6’2”, 155 lbs.
- Typically wears a size Large
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.