Arc'teryx Psiphon SL Pullover Review

Psiphon SL Pullover on The Tooth in Snoqualmie Pass, WA

Intro:
When I saw Arc'teryx making a light-weight dedicated climbing softshell for under 150$ I knew I had to get my hands on it. I absolutely love my Outdoor Research Ferrosi and it seemed on paper like the Psiphon SL pullover was an Arc'teryx's version of the Ferrosi for alpine use.

Construction/Material:
The Psiphon SL pullover uses two different fabrics in the construction of the jacket. The hood is made out of  Gossamera™ (100% nylon, ripstop fabric with water repellent treatment) which cuts the wind. The rest of the pullover is comprised of the superlight, densely woven nylon/elastane blend fabric, Nylaz (85% Nylon, 15% elastane). Putting these two fabrics together and you get the Psiphon SL pullover.

The use of the Gossamera fabric creates a hood that is extremely lightweight that doesn't impede the climber's range of motion. More importantly, you hardly notice the hood, but notice the element protection it provides. This is something very few hoods on soft-shells provide!

Arc'teryx Psiphon SL Pullover on Mt. Baker
What I like about the Nylaz fabric is how densely woven the nylon/elastane fibers are. This dense weave cuts a lot of wind while providing high abrasive resistance. I contacted Arc'teryx and was told that the area mass density of the Nylaz fabric is in 157 g/m². Putting this in perspective to other softshells, the Arc'teryx Gamma LT hoody is on the other end of the spectrum with an area mass density of 275 g/m². The Black Diamond B.D.V hoody is at 200 g/m². In essence, the Nylaz fabric on the Psiphon is extremely thin and lightweight.

How it Fits:
The Psiphon fits trim but is cut exceptionally like most Arc'teryx pieces are. I'm 5'10" 160lbs  33" waist and the Medium fits really well. Slides easily over a standard baselayer top, and has enough room for a thin midlayer if needs be. The pullover has great room in the shoulders and underarms, an area I've found troublesome with other brands.

Performance:
The Psiphon SL works fantastic as climbing softshell/windshell. It doesn't weight much, it fits underneath your harness well, and is a pleasure to climb in. I've took it up several easy alpine climbs in the cascades with the climbs topping out late in the evening. As usual, its windier on the summits around dusk and it's been a great piece to have.

I also took it out on a climb on Mt. Baker and the softshell worked really well in warm weather mountaineering adventures. During the summers, volcanoes in the cascades can be very mild and sometimes all you need is a thing softshell even during the early morning alpine starts. I was pleasantly surprised how wind resistant but breathable the Psiphon SL is.

For general hiking purposes I prefer my OR Ferrosi softshell as it's stretchier and has full front zipper and a few more pockets. If you adventures takes you more into vertical or technical terrain, the Psiphon SL pullover is my go to for summer.


Summary:
The Psiphon SL Pullover takes everything from my favorite utility softshell, Outdoor Research Ferrorsi, and refines it to a dedicated summer weight softshell for climbing or mountaineering.The refinement on this outerwear piece is breathtaking, from the softshell blend, to the pattern cut, every detail on the Psiphon SL is flawless.
Arc'teryx Psiphon SL on Ingall's Peak looking at Mt. Stuart
Pros:
  • Cheap for Arc'teryx price-point
  • Great windproof hood that fits with or without helmet
  • Harness HemLock inserts keeps jacket in place
  • Highly breathable and weather-resistant
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Huge chest pocket

Cons:
  • Doesn't stuff into pocket, it's plenty big 

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