For some time now, I have felt like the Goldilocks of the outdoor apparel world, searching for a shoulder-season jacket that was not too warm or too cold, but just right: one that would keep me warm on early morning walks and cooler nights, and that would be able to protect me against some of the elements beginning to show more of their fall face—the wind and rain. And with the Arc’teryx Venda Anorak, I found it.
Made of buttery knit Gore-Tex fabric, the coat—which resembles an oversized pullover and weighs just nine ounces—feels like a lightweight hoody. Its featheriness belies its durability, though: In northern Minnesota, where morning temps have been hovering in the 50s, I have actually felt warm wearing it on a kayak ride and raking leaves, and any water that hits its surface beads and slides right off. (To amuse my young niece and nephew, I even stood under a garden sprinkler, emerging dry. They’re convinced it’s magic.)
Another small-but-important feature I love about the jacket: It has one long zipper on the right side, which means I can unzip it for more room and flexibility when I sit or bike for maximum comfort. A long front zip provides ample room for ventilation, and a roomy kangaroo pocket—also zippered—can comfortably hold my phone, keys, and snack. Since it fits true to size, I also have plenty of room underneath the jacket to layer up on long-sleeve tees and sweaters, should I want to wear it well into deep fall. Your move, weather.
- Weight: 9 ounces
- Available colors: Black, Exosphere (Blue), and Flora (White)
- Best for: A multi-use jacket for late spring and early fall
Buy Now: $319 (was $399), rei.com
This article was originally published in September 2020; it was updated on March 3, 2021, and again on March 1, 2022, with current sale information.