Good looks, not backed up with good qualityOverall: This jacket was a disaster for me, and made me lose faith in the brand and their mission. I bought the jacket for full retail price (Around $600), which is the most I have ever paid for a jacket. The Arc’teryx quality is legendary though, and although I am in the mountains 150+days per year, I thought this is a jacket that will last several years. I couldn’t have been more wrong, within 5 uses, a horizontal tear formed on the lower right side, just below the pocket. The jacket has since been torn, taped, torn some more in the 3 seasons I owned it, and it is on the verge of falling apart. The only reason it’s lasted this long, is I have two of them due to customer service issues.
More detailed review:
How I tested this jacket: I have used the jacket well over 400x in situations ranging from rain protection in the city, to snowboarding in sunny weather, storms, and negative 30 degree F. I have used this jacket in splitboard touring and mountaineering.
The Jacket: Overall, I think the jacket looks and fits amazingly. The jacket is made from GORETEX Pro membrane paired with a combination of 80 denier and 40 denier fabrics, which in theory should make it a pretty durable jacket. There are not too many bells and whistles on this shell. The hood, which accommodates a helmet, has several draw cords to help keep your head covered during bad weather. The draw cords help keep the hood from falling into your eyes when you don’t have a helmet on.
The jacket has a sleeve pocket for holding your RFID ski pass, and two chest pockets, which are more or less out of the way when you have a backpack on. There is also a pretty large interior pocket, where I would store my cell phone and or map. There are pit zippers as well, and they work quite nicely. The jacket itself, like a lot of GORTEX, makes you feel like you are in a sauna, if you are not layered appropriately.
It is a bit noisy of a jacket and the mobility is somewhat restricted, but I didn’t have too much of an issue with this. I don’t mind a noisy jacket, or at least I don’t as of today, since I always seem to end up with noisy ones.
Overall, the jacket functions like most, with velcro at the sleeves to keep your hands (and snow) from sliding in the jacket. There are elastic pulls at the bottom, that you can cinch up on powder days to protect yourself from snow pants syndrome.
Durability: All the reviews I read, said this jacket seemed durable, but they were based on one or two day reviews. On day 5 of riding this jacket, I developed a tear. It was exactly where my snowboard lays as I walk from the car to the lift, so I know what caused it. I was just incredibly surprised that this “bomber” jacket developed a rip doing something so simple as carrying a board (my board edges are well tuned, not crazy sharp!). There was much back and forth with the customer service team, and the outcome was that I now have 2 of the same jackets. They both have since developed other tears, defects, etc. Some of them have been justified, like when a skier plowed into me, tearing my jacket and my arm enough to require stitches. Other issues just appear in seemingly random spots. A tear on my shoulder, a broken draw string, a stuck pit zip. I have now used the jackets a combined 400x or so, which is probably more than most use them. I think if I only had one, it would be in the dumpster by now. That I have two jackets at leasts spreads out the wear and tear.
Overall: I think I am done with Arc’teryx for now. They used to have high quality goods, but now they are a high priced brand with questionable quality. I have a pair of snowboard pants made by them, and I find the same quality issues exist. The design is great in terms of looks, but I think they need to dig a little deeper if they want to keep actual mountain men and women as customers.