The softshell is the most versatile piece of apparel you can get. When it’s cold enough, you can wear it for a huge percentage of the time, say 89%. Weather-resistant, yet breathable, it’s only really when it’s raining or you’re engaging in a super aerobic activity like skinning up a mountain that you won’t want it. The Arc’teryx Gamma MX Hoody happens to be one of the best of the bunch and has been around for a while. On the other hand the Arc’teryx Gamma SL Hybrid Hoody is the newest of the lot. How do they compare?
Both have a longer back, which is great for those times you have to stretch or simply to ride a bike. Pleasantly elastic, which coupled with their great fit, they make for a most comfortable experience. Arc’teryx have forged themselves an enviable reputation in the hood department. the MX and SL are equipped with helmet-compatible Storm Hood™, which offer three-way adjustable zones. Two along the front face and a vertical one at the back.
They both have the Arc’teryx Active Fit, which most experts qualify as “spot-on”. Buy your regular size, it’ll fit like a glove. Are you a between-sizer? You can really go either way then, smaller for tighter and larger for looser. If it’s only Spring and Fall that you plan on wearing them, perhaps smaller would be a nice option. For full-time Winter wear, larger can be good as it’ll allow for more layering.
With its light insulation and higher permeability to wind and thus breathability, I’d say the Arc’teryx Gamma MX Hoody is better for you if you plan on wearing it late Fall to early Spring and throughout Winter. It’ll be better for everyday and aerobic use. Get it if you’re looking for a magnificient workhorse.
Meanwhile, the Arc’teryx Gamma SL will be better as a just-in-case tag-along. The Hybrid in the name refers to the fact that it is composed of two different fabrics. The TerraTex at the chest is a super windblocker and is super thin and light. The Fortius 1.0 is a non-insulated version of the 2.o of the same namesake. The jacket is packable enough to fit in its own chest pocket. It is not designed that way, however. The zipper is does not have pulls on both sides and getting it out is slightly awkward, but who cares? Packing a jacket in its jacket is gold! In many ways, the SL is more versatile, yet less appropriate for everyday wear because of less breathability. Get if you’re looking for a durable super-light packable softshell (it’s close to ultra-light but not quite there).