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Arc'Teryx used two different weights of WindStopper during the design and construction of the Men's Venta MX Hooded Softshell Jacket. That means the Venta stands up to wear when you trek, breathes when you skin up in the backcountry, and stretches when you reach for that hold on your alpine route.

  • Lightweight, breathable 520SNP is used on the torso and underarms to aid in temperature regulation
  • Heavier weight stretch WindStopper is used on the shoulders, hood, and back for added protection and unlimited range of motion
  • Underarm zips dump excess heat whether you're hiking, touring, or climbing
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

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Best for climbing and skiing

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit:True to size

This is my favorite of many shells. It's not a hardshell, and in a downpour, you would need to use a hard shell over it, but it's never required that even in some rain. I use it mostly for climbing and xc/at skiing in heavier weather (cold or snowy). It generally goes over a old arc'teryx set of softshell polartech bibs. I wish they made a bib version in a lighter Windstopper configuration - mine are old and they do not make them anymore. NW Alpine makes a nice looking version I've not yet tried.

I'm 6'2", 185, fit their large in almost everything, and this too. The fit is very good, and I can layer base, mid and even insulated under it. Because the Windstopper is very 'catchy' it's better not to wear an equally 'catchy' item under it. I like the Atom LT under it, or the Atom SV over it. I usually have long underwear and/or something like a R1 or Piton hoody. The Piton slides better, and the nylon shells of the Atoms are best, but you can use anything. I just find when my layers move better I do too.

The tail on this is nice and long, fits very well under a harness. The zips are stiff but workable . The hood is great with any helmet, but as a result large. The pockets are climbing pockets - fine if you like Napoleon, not if you don't. The cuffs are good, but that seems a design area where even Arc'teryx could improve. The velcro is starting to go on mine. I love the Atom cuffs, but they too start to stretch over time and lose shape and seal.

I really like this for XC skiing in poor weather. For AT skiing I often go for one of the Gammas, since they breath better. Probably just means I'm lazy when I XC ski, but I'm generally out with a 6 year old so it helps to stay warm and wind free.

All in all one of the best of a lot of Arc'teryx pieces I've owned, especially for ice climbing. Four stars because there is always something better coming, right?

My go-to cold weather softshell

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times
  • Fit:True to size

This jacket has met all my expectations. I normally wear a small in soft shells (I like them to have a closer, athletic fit) but I went with a medium with this one since I planned on using it for snowboarding. This jacket isn't the lightest soft shell, so I don't use it during the summer. However, for the other 3 seasons this jacket is perfect. A little bit of stretch, breathes very well, blocks the wind and is extremely water resistant. The Gore Windstopper material isn't as breathable as a light Schoeller type material, but the jacket does have pit zips to help vent. I use this for shoulder season and winter mountaineering as well as back country snow boarding or snowboarding on warm resort days. As a reference, I am 6', 135lbs and the medium fits with enough room room for me to layer a fleece and a light-insulated jacket underneath. Again, if I wanted a more technical fit, I would have bought the small. Overall, this jacket is a great soft shell for colder weather activities!

Olympus blue

Different blues

Olympus blue

My new most days ski jacket

  • Familiarity:I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I have a beloved Cloudveil Koven shell and wanted a soft shell for everyday skiing to preserve the Koven.

I like the jacket very much. It feels bomb proof. My one day in it was Stowe's 2012-13 closing day. 20s in the AM on the scratchy top with hard wind. Mid-40s at the bottom in the PM on wet mashed potatoes and corn. Started with an Arc'teryx Atom LT hoody underneath and over a long sleeve wicking shirt. At mid-day I switched the hoody for a Patagonia Nano Puff vest.

Less windproof than the Koven, but acceptable. Breathability was great as the temperature rose.

As an every day winter jacket, I would prefer my TNF Apex Bionic jacket or the Arc'tyrex Atom LT Hoody. The primary reasons for this is that there are no slash pockets on the shell. I don't find this an issue for skiing because I would always have something underneath. My layers, OR down jacket, Atom Hoody and Nano vest all have slash zippers. The inside slash pockets can be reached via the pit zips for storage access. It does leave a nice clean looking front, but I would add pockets if designers asked me. The other limitation for everyday use is the sleeve. I leave it as loose as the velcro closure permits, because I cannot get my hands through otherwise. Fiddling with the velcro would be a pain just to go outside for wood or similar simple errand.

My ski gloves are guantlets, so I cover the lower sleeve while skiing. I am supposing it would be difficult to get the sleeve over gloves like my XXL Black Diamond Guides.

Fit is a half size small if you don't have a trim waist. I wear XL in TNF, but XXL in Arc'teryx, meaning the XL is tight around the waist and the XXL is loose. I plan to use it skiing and picked XL because it will handle layers. I am 6'2" 265 with a football player's build and about a 38" waist.

Pricey! could be improved

    This is a great fitting softshell made from top notch materials. It has a longer length and is slightly fitted compared to most arcteryx shells. The fabric moves nicely with the body during activities and has a touch of warmth with the fleece lining. Very durable face fabric, completely windproof and waterproof to a certain degree (Not sure how much water the finishing tape can hold out). Well placed pit zips that are easy to open

    The cons: PRICEY! yikes $450 for a windstopper shell (A well made shell however). But at this price point I would want a Watertight Vislon front zip.

    Lack of pockets. I am not a huge fan of crossover (Napoleon) chest pockets but it could use another pocket on the shoulder and perhaps another inside mesh pocket.

    3 1/2 stars Overall due to cost factor and missing features


    • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

    This is a very nice jacket. It was a very pronounced drop back hem. The chest pockets are big but stay out of the way of your harness. Sheds water well with the windstopper fabric and off course it blocks the cold winter breeze. I use this mostly for backcountry snowboarding. The slim cuffs are nice but a little snug when I pull them over my snowboarding gloves for the descent. This fits slimmer than most of my other Arc'teryx pieces and so it might be a good idea to size up if you want to layer underneath. I love the articulated sleeves and huge pit zips. I just wish the main zipper had the same waterproof treatment that the pit zips and pocket zips have.

    High quality with some design caveats

      I won't go into too much detail because everything I would say has already been covered in depth. Suffice to say it is a very well made garment cut to fit a slim fellow quite comfortably. I am 5'11" 160 lb and the medium was perfect.

      Anyway, I give this product 3 stars because for my purposes, the lack of pockets is a total deal breaker. I am not a clever man and didn't realize that jackets were made without side pockets. Also, I guess I didn't look closely enough at the pictures or the description--this is all on me.

      However, if you think that you will miss having side pockets on your jacket, don't buy this one, because you will.

      Great Jacket

      • Familiarity:I've used it several times

      Used it so far skiing in -20 conditions out west. Worked great, stayed warm. I have the brimstone color and I personally love the color.

      The only minus is that the sleeves are quite long for me, probably an extra 3" than I need, so the arms bunch up and I need to tighten the wrist straps.

      Venta MX vs. SV (my personal opinon)

        Okay so I got the chance to try out both the venta mx and the sv. The sv is noticeably heavier than the mx for obvious reasons. The cut of the mx is longer than the sv both front and back. I would say that the mx has a closer/trimmer fit than the sv in all the areas of the body (chest, waist, arms). The arm length of the mx is a tad bit longer. As far as the materials go. The sv incorporates 3 windstopper fabrics and is a more burly jacket than the mx. The mx has a stretchy windstopper material in the articulated areas (shoulders and outsides of arms, and back). The stretchy windstopper material screams quality and is probably why the jacket is $50 dollars more than the sv. The chest pockets and pit zips use water tight zippers which are used with more of arc'teryx' hardshells. These zippers do not glide as easily as the zippers used on the sv, but offer better water protection. My main reasons why I like the mx more is because of the trimmer fit, extra coverage, and the storm hood. The drop hood of the sv works great with a helmet, I just found that the storm hood offers an even better fit with a helmet as well as more face protection. I am tall and lanky (which the venta mx accommodates this body style very nicely) 5'11" and weigh 125 lbs with ~35-36 inch chest and the mx in a small offers room for layering even though it has a trimmer cut than the SV. The MX is a bit more breathable than the SV due to the less heavy materials used, but the sv provides more warmth. The mx is very lightly insulated but has enough to be used as a stand alone piece in fall/spring conditions with a long sleeve base layer. I got the brimstone color, and it is BRIGHT ( I wanna say it is a bit brighter in person than the picture), which is great for being visible on the slopes or anywhere.

        I wear a size Medium in pretty much all...

        I wear a size Medium in pretty much all of Arc'Teryx's outerwear/hardshell. Is the sizes of the soft-shells the same or comparable to the hard-shells?

        Comparing the venta MX to the Gamma MX for...

        Comparing the venta MX to the Gamma MX for New England Ice, skiing, and general use. Not really feeling I need "full" windproof but maybe a good option to have as my current Patagonia Ascentionist breaks the wind nicely. My question is also about pockets. Has anyone missed the std hand pockets on this jacket? I know they are not useful for Ice and skiing, but have you missed them for daily use or just warming hands? i.e., the gamma has 4 exterior pockets. Thanks.....Jake

        Best Answer

        If you all ready have a windproof layer I'd recommend the Gamma MX. I have a Gamma MX that's 7+ years old and is still my go-to softshell.

        If windproof'ness is necessary and you're worried about losing hand pockets, check out the Venta SV:

        The Venta SV features two large hand pockets that are lined with a hi-loft fleece on the front of the pocket bag. Great for warming the paws.

        Would the Venta MX work well in an alpine...

        Would the Venta MX work well in an alpine ski use? I see the recommended use for the Venta SV includes skiing where the MX doesn't. I typically layer based on the conditions and have the Arcteryx Stingray for wet conditions.

        I really dig the Venta MX for skiing - probably my favorite jacket for the use. It's basically waterproof, totally windproof, and layers well (while being warm enough on its own below 30� for me). The bit of stretch is nice, the articulated cut keeps the jacket out of your way, and pitzips help the jacket breathe. At the resort or skinning in the backcountry, this is my shell.

        Venta MX vs Gamma MX I am torn between...

        Venta MX vs Gamma MX

        I am torn between the venta mx vs the gamma mx.

        I have tried on the Gamma MX. I am concerned that the Gamma might be a tad short with pulling over the harness. I did like the feel and weight of the Gamma. It seems like a time tested piece.

        The Venta looks like a great piece as well. I am wondering how it fits compared to the Gamma. I am also concerned about how well it breathes and how it packs.

        Any help is appreciated, thanks.

        Best Answer

        Josh, the Gamma MX was designed for mixed/ice climbing - you should not have any issues with the jacket pulling over the harness. It is a time tested piece and a staple product in the Ascent line. There is a slight difference in length between the Center Back measurements:

        Gamma MX: 29 1/4"

        Venta MX: 31"

        If you're looking for a piece with more foul-weather resistance go with the Venta. It features Gore Windstopper and is fully seam taped. While it doesn't breath quite as well as the Gamma but it does have pit zips. Fit is the same on both pieces (Athletic) and packability is very similar.

        There are some differences between these jackets in terms of measurements and features. For me the most important difference is in the fabric and intended use. If you are going to be climbing and possibly belaying for long periods of time, the VEnta will give you the protection you need and you won't be concerned about its lack of breathability. If you are beak bagging on the other hand, moving quickly with high aerobic output, the gamma will keep you ventilated because it is one of the most air permeable in the soft-shell line.

        What jacket is longer, the Alpha SV or the...

        What jacket is longer, the Alpha SV or the Venta MX? Just in case I put both together?

        Sorry in advance for the multiple questions....

        Sorry in advance for the multiple questions. With my hands by my side, where should the bottom of the jacket hit me? I have found that I tend to find the Arc'teryx stuff feels a bit short for me (Not sure if it really is, or if my understanding of fit is wrong for active gear). I am 5'10.5" and bought a medium. If it helps, I have the Theta AR Jacket in Medium because I found the length to be the best of the other Arc'teryx jackets I tried on.

        Also, do you think this would be a good soft shell layer for climbing Mt. Rainier? What other soft shell jackets should I consider?

        Best Answer

        It sounds like the medium is the right size for you. None of the soft shell jackets will be as long as your Theta AR (the longest of the Arc'teryx shells) because you want the shell to cover any under layers. The Venta MX was designed for climbing in cold weather, Alaska specifically, so it should work beautifully on Rainier.

        I wonder how this hoody fits, compared to...

        I wonder how this hoody fits, compared to Gamma MX hoody. Thank you for your time.

        Is the MX a better jacket than the SV? It...

        Is the MX a better jacket than the SV? It costs more for some reason.

        Best Answer

        It's not better, per se. Just different. Here's how:

        Arc'Teryx designates jackets designed for more severe weather with SV. The Venta SV is made out of a heavier Windstopper fabric that will keep you cozy in colder weather.

        The Venta MX is designed for more mixed conditions and uses the heavier Windstopper on the shoulders, hood, and back for weather protection, but a lighter weight Windstopper (520SNP) for the underarms and torso. 520SNP is a brand new fabric from Gore, which makes it more expensive. And combining two fabric weights is slightly more difficult from a jacket construction perspective.

        Plus, it's Arc'Teryx and they pretty much do whatever they want.

        Why is the main zipper on this jacket not...

        Why is the main zipper on this jacket not welded?

        Does the Venta MX have taped seams?

        Does the Venta MX have taped seams?

        I do not have an exact answer, but I know the VENTA SV does have taped seams. The MX is new and is more expensive then the SV. Also both are considered windproof, which would also lead me to believe that the MX would have the taped seems as well.

        Arcteryx does not say on their site.

        What is the difference between gore tape and arcteryxt tape? Im assuming one is water resistant and the other is just to keep extra wind from coming thru?

        Paul, I got the Venta SV btw and like it much better than any other soft shell I tried on. Wish it was waterproof though. My gut feeling is even in a rain or a snow I will be fine in it.

        What is the difference between gore tape and arcteryxt tape? Im assuming one is water resistant and the other is just to keep extra wind from coming thru?

        Paul, I got the Venta SV btw and like it much better than any other soft shell I tried on. Wish it was waterproof though. My gut feeling is even in a rain or a snow I will be fine in it.

        What is the difference between gore tape and arcteryxt tape? Im assuming one is water resistant and the other is just to keep extra wind from coming thru?

        Paul, I got the Venta SV btw and like it much better than any other soft shell I tried on. Wish it was waterproof though. My gut feeling is even in a rain or a snow I will be fine in it.

        Hi - i am looking for a go-to soft shell...

        Hi - i am looking for a go-to soft shell jacket for on mountain skiing. Is this it? Is the venta really that much more of a better option? I really like the scuba hood, but don't want to end up with a jacket i can't use for everday skiing. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

        Its a great all around jacket- The only issue i find is the front zipper is not the watertight vislon. SO it allows more air through it and is not waterproof. For a few extra bucks I would pick up the sabre SV jacket and have a fully waterproof breatheable jacket (along with a powderskirt)