The Dakine Arsenal 3L women’s waterproof jacket is a hardy coat for the worst weather. It’s super waterproof, pretty breathable and great for deepest winter. It's hard to keep those lighter parts clean, but it is pretty packable for such a thick jacket and it keeps you dry in the grip of a storm.
I’ve been wearing the Dakine Arsenal three-layer waterproof since the tail end of last winter. It’s a premium piece, but for waterproofing and features it really hits the nail on the head.
Designed as a robust jacket for unpredictable weather, the Arsenal has a waterproof rating of 20,000mm and a breathability of 20,000gm/m2. Those figures might not mean much to you, but while it's not as breathable as the exceptional Endura MT500 II I tested last year, it's up there for rain protection.
The fabric is also ‘Bluesign’ approved, which means the entire textile supply chain is rated for a reduced impact on people and the environment.
My test jacket came in the India Ink/Papaya colour, which gets dirty pretty quickly and no amount of washing gets the black marks out. If I was buying I’d opt for the Amethyst colour as it's darker and will look better longterm after some hard treatment.
The seams are all fully taped and the zips at the front, on the chest pocket and on the underarm vents are water repellent YKKs. The pockets are protected by zip covers, and I had no problems with water ingress here, though underarm vents could only be improved with a mesh liner to prevent wind getting in and flapping them around when fully open.
The sizeable hood fits well over a helmet but doesn’t stow away. It does, however, have a simple cord at the rear to winch it in tight if you aren’t using it. This is also used to adjust the hood when it's covering your head and works well, allowing it to be cinched in securely.
The jacket gets a nice tall collar which, although it isn’t lined, is soft against the skin. It's a good size and shape – zipping up fully really shelters you from the elements (hood up or down) and there are no drafts.
Riding in the Dakine Arsenal is an uneventful affair, which can only be a good thing. It's a good length at the rear and in the sleeves, fits the body well and is never restrictive. I did find the front could bulge out when in a riding position, as the zip is pretty stiff and doesn’t lie flat against the body, but that's more an irritation than a problem.
I opted for a size small, I’m usually a dress size 8, but I think I’d had happily fitted in an XS too – it's a fairly roomy fit. A smaller size might have helped the zip lie flatter too.
The jacket squeezes down into one of its own pockets, and while it's not that easy to do and it's not a very small package either, that's the inevitable price of a serious resistance to rain. This is more a jacket you wear for entire rides than an emergency layer for your pack.
To totally justify the price I’d like to see a lined collar and maybe some way to stow the hood when not in use, but I’m guessing this would affect the packability still further. As it is, though, this is an excellent waterproof for proper winter riding.
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