The Arc'teryx Hercules Women's Hoody
The Arc'teryx Hercules Hoody is a high-loft insulated softshell with a multitude of uses, whether as a mid layer or an outer layer. It is like a high loft fleece with lots of extra benefits.
High loft fleece is great for keeping you warm as it traps lots of air which provides insulation and feels great next to the skin. However fleece does let the wind through, which means it's generally very breathable, but on a windy day you can get cold quickly. The Hercules is a good compromise; its high loft keeps you warm and it has great breathability whilst still blocking 96% of wind.
The high loft fleece lining on the inside of the Hercules is super soft next to the skin and provides a huge amount of warmth. Image-Dave Mac
Made from Polartec® Power Shield® O2 High Loft, the face fabric is tightly woven to provide good abrasion resistance without the stiffness of a hard shell. There is a membrane which is perforated to give increased breathability and whilst it is not fully windproof I have been in windy conditions and there hasn't been any noticeable wind coming through.
The face fabric is treated with a DWR to give water repellency and is slightly stretchy making it excellent for active use. The smooth face fabric makes it ideal when layering, preventing any snagging or catching on other clothing and fits nicely under a shell jacket for those cold days in the mountains.
The jacket isn't overloaded with features, two hand warmer pockets with laminated reversed zips and a further laminated pocket on the sleeve. The cuffs are small and don't have any Velcro adjustment, however they do have stretchy gussets making them less bulky when worn under a shell layer.
There is a draw cord around the waist and two small draw cords on the hood. However, the hood does lack any volume adjustment which would improve the fit, but as it's a well shaped hood that fits close to the head, it's not a major issue.
As with a lot of women's Arc'teryx jackets, it fits neatly and maybe slightly on the small side. It is fairly short on me; however has a drop back to give a little more protection for your bum. The shortness does provide ease of movement and makes it easier if wearing a harness.
The pockets on the Hercules are neatly laminated into the garment itself. This improves durability and reduces weight.
The RRP of the Hercules is a fairly hefty £250. You do get high quality fabrics and construction techniques thoughout though and the jacket certainly feels and looks like its going to last many years.
Overall the Hercules is a very high quality product and great whether used as a shell or a midlayer. I have enjoyed putting it on in the cold mornings when something cosy and warm is needed. It probably is a little too warm for summer use but is ideally suited for pretty much any activity in cold conditions.
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