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Arc'teryx - Accelero Jacket

posted May 12, 2014, 12:45 PM by GoOut Project   [ updated May 16, 2014, 11:06 AM ]

For trail running sessions up on the mountains when temperatures are below 15 ºC one requires good protection from wind, humidity, and, of course, adequate breathability! In Arc'teryx's catalog we found a Soft Shell jacket that seemed to respond exactly to this need: the Accelero JacketGo Out Project has tested the Accelero for more than 12 months and here we report the results of our tests.

Technical Description

The Accelero has an exclusive construction called Dry Web™ that uses a continuous thread of Polyester fabric to build a double weaving. This fabric is specifically designed to have a certain degree of mechanical elasticity, thus eliminating the need for an intrinsically stretchable fabric. The outer face is very smooth and soft to the
touch, while the inner
 one has an embossed, next-to-skin fabric-backer with bamboo charcoal, which has the purpose to help to control odour build up. The extended, stretchy cuffs with integrated thumb loops and the hip pocket are made ​​of a stretchable fabric: a blend of Schoeller® Dynamic and Nylon/Spandex.

The Accelero also features:
  • DWR (durable water repellent) treatment
  • Articulated elbows
  • Lined collar
  • Stretch-woven cuffs with thumb loops
  • Reflective blazes and logo
  • Zippered hip pocket with media port
  • Drop back hem
Weight: 260 g ( Size M)

Our Test

We started testing the Accelero jacket exactly one year ago! An extraordinarily long time for a test,... but only now we can really tell you EVERYTHING about the Accelero! We used it primarily for running, in a range of temperatures of about 4ºC -18ºC, mostly in dry conditions, but we got caught by a few showers too. We also used it for some winter hiking on the snow, for some backcountry skiing, and for mountain biking. Most of the time we have worn it directly on top of a synthetic or merino wool breathable base layer, in other cases we have also added a lightweight micro fleece as intermediate layer.

First Impressions
Since the first moment you hold it in your hands, for its lightness, clean look, and minimalism the Accelero jacket immediately conveys the idea of a simple and essential garment. When you first put it on, you immediately notice that it fits
: the jacket fits relatively tightly on the arms, shoulders, and torso, but without being constrictive. The fabric is quite stretchable, soft, and pleasant on the skin and it also provides a kind of "fresh" feeling. What strikes immediately is also the lack of pockets: the only one present is placed on the hip and it can contain at most a key or a small mp3 player.

Some of the first comments of our testers:
  • "Light and essential. Excellent for running in cool weather."
  • "Great cut and perfect fit! Such an elegant look that you could wear it under a tuxedo!"
  • "A step forward compared to the classic wind breakers!"
Lightness and Packability
The Accelero is among the lightest soft shell jackets in existence: Arc'teryx has eliminated all the superfluous, filed off every gram, and left only the essential! Even during running, when
weight really matters, you will hardly notice it. Given the degree of protection it offers, it can be definitely considered a super light jacket! It can also be packed in a very little volume, therefore it can be easily carried in a waistpack or a hydration pack as an extra, emergency garment.

Pleasant to wear in all weather conditions, from dry to very wet. Unlike classical windbrakers, it does not stick to the skin and it quickly removes moisture from it, even during intense sweating. The inner face of the fabric offers a good degree of "thermoregulation": it retains some warmth in cold days and it provides good ventilation during hot ones. The stretchability is not so impressive, but it is sufficient to make you feel comfortable and move always freely. The collar is not very high, but it wraps and protects fairly well without chafing, even when sweating begins to be more abundant. The only thing that disturbs the idyll of a run with the Accelero is the constant clinking of the zipper slider that will mark incessantly every step of your workout: CLINK! ... CLINK! ... CLINK! ... It would have been sufficient to add a pull string or apply a rubber coating on the slider!

Cut and Fit
Arc'teryx is well-know for the excellent fit of its garments and the Accelero jacket certainly did not disappoint us: nicely fitting without being too tight or constricting, as a running garment should be. The sleeves in particular are perfectly tailored to the shape of the arms. The body is well shaped and a bit tight, but it never causes  annoying chafing on the armpits. Although the lower part of the bust is well shaped, it lacks an elastic band or adjustable cord on the waist,
therefore the free
 circulation of air on the belly and lower back cannot be stopped. Unfortunately, the only way to avoid this would be to get fat! The drop back hem is useful cause it keeps the lower back always protected, even when you lean forward, which is very useful for example when cycling. When you wear the wrist-cuffs with thumb loops, the Accelero stands firm in its place even if you cross a tornado!

Weather Protection
The polyester fabric has a very smooth outer face with dense texture. The fact that the elasticity is mechanical rather than intrinsic to the fabric, probably helps preserving the DWR treatment on the outer face for a longer time. Even after 12months of use and 4 machine washes*, the DWR still works  fairly well. Protection from light rain or snow is good enough, but during more intense rain showers after a few minutes the water inexorably seeps through the fabric and seams. The wind also partly penetrates through the Dry Web™, but this is never annoying, since it provides a minimal degree of air circulation which favours moisture evaporation. Overall we were
satisfied with the degree of protection offered by the Accelero, especially if considering the use for which it has been designed.

It is a soft shell intended for running, so its main task is to breathe and to dry quickly and we can say that the Accelero does its job excellently! The inner face of its fabric, with its unique
embossed fabric-backer, effectively helps evaporation of sweat by soaking it and spreading it along the fibres and away from the skin. In cold temperatures it is hard to get to the point that you need to take off the jacket because of excessive heat. In general, the limit of discomfort is much harder to reach compared to the average for garments of this kind. In addition, the Accelero dries very fast and does not tend to develop unpleasant odours very easily.

If you use it for what it has been designed, that is running, the Accelero can last for years. It is not designed to resist tears, cuts, or abrasions, but if you want to roll down the mountains we do not think
that it is going to disappoint you. After a year of use, 4 machine washes, and a few close encounters with branches and brambles, the Accelero jacket we tested is still in excellent conditions.

The Accelero is a minimalistic garment designed for running. Any superfluous gram has been eliminated to favour performance, therefore it is also a highly specific garment. Its mission is running. It functions pretty well for mountain biking, but for further uses is rather limited. For other activities, for example for hiking, although functional it lacks small details that may be useful in those circumstances: pockets, adjustable cuffs, hood, adjustable waist drawcord, etc. However, the excellent breathability and fairly good protection are a successful combination that make this jacket a viable choice in a wide range of climatic conditions.

Our Verdict

In conclusion we can say that we really enjoyed the Accelero! A minimalistic, though highly technical garment that provides a perfect balance of breathability and weather protection for runners. If you love running and you're tired of the typical "plastic bag feeling" of most wind breakers, the Accelero is surely a garment you'll love. Wear it in spring when you go out in the morning to run on your favorite trails, it will be your best training partner.

+ Highly breathable and quickly drying 
+ Very good comfort
+ Lightweight and minimalistic
+ Excellent manufacture and quality of materials 

- Annoying clinking of the zip slider 
- Not extremely versatile

 Lightness & Packability    9/10
 Comfort    9/10
 Cut & Fit
 Weather Protection    8/10
 Breathability    9/10
 Versatility    7/10
 Durability    9/10
 Total Score

* Note about washing: only 4 washes in 12 months?! It may sound like we haven't taken good care of the Accelero, but there are several factors to consider: 1) the inner surface of the Accelero uses bamboo charcoal to reduce odours and it works very well, so this greatly reduces the need for washing, 2) during our tests we have always let the jacket dry immediately after every activity, 3) at Go Out Project we try to avoid unnecessary washes since they deteriorate materials more quickly and they are an unnecessary waste of water and energy.