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Choosing between a couple Arcteryx (and others) jackets

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,


I posted a while back about choosing a new jacket for our upcoming end-of-March trip to Beavercreek.




Just a re-cap = this is a new kind of trip for the family.  I hope we can make this a once a year or once every other year (more likely) trip and I want to get a jacket.


I visited a couple local shops (Peter Glenn and another similar type shop) and both sold roughly the same brands - Spyder and Obermeyer.  So the selection I can try on seems to be fairly limited and I seem to be stuck looking at the same online vendors not knowing what exactly to chose.


That being said, I've heard nothing but good things about the Arcteryx jackets and was hoping you guys could help me pick the best jacket for me.  I figure I can go blindly chose a $150-$200 jacket online, or I can spend another couple hundred and get something nice.


I was looking at the Rush and Sabre (really digging the Tungston and orange combos) and well as the Stingray.  All of these seem to have non-removable hoods, something that I haven't figured out if I want or not?


The Cloudveil brand also caught my eye because of past mentions of the RPK.  Cloudveil has the Serendipity on sale now for $125, which seems to be a pretty good deal, and I like the look of the jacket, but I'm not sure that's really meant for skiing, but could possibly be more able to be worn in Fl on cold days moreso then the arcteryx's.


In the Spyder line - is the Core Component 3-in-1 worth a look?  I'm also fond of the look of the Spyder Mercury and Fresh air soft shell jackets, but again, without being able to handle any of these, I'm really flying blind here.


Thanks in advance and sorry for the rambling.

post #2 of 22

On the fixed hood: when I got my jacket (Mammut Parinaco), I thought the fixed hood would bother me. But it simply doesn't. It doesn't flap or anything, it sits nicely behind my helmet. 


But when you put on a backpack, you need to make sure that the hood is above the backpack. That's all. If you take the backpack off and put it on again every five minutes, I guess having a fixed hood might be a bit annoying. But otherwise, I find it not a problem.

post #3 of 22

Not sure anyone will agree with me but, you are flying into Denver.  There is an REI in Denver as well as many other shops that will have ski jackets.  Also, by the end of March a lot of the resort shops will be having sales and often at very good prices.  So, you could just not worry about it now and get what you want in Denver, or Breckenridge or Vail.  For online shops you should also check Sierra Trading Post for discounted prices on name brands.  I found a Descente DNA jacket there for about $160 that is pretty impressive.  My Patagonia Powder Bowl jacket may outlast it but it had all the features I wanted in a backup jacket for a pretty reasonable price. 

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

I thought about waiting until we got there.  We will have 2 days in Denver.  Part of me would like to check out the local shops and the other part of me is worried that I'll be stuck with a left over or odd color choice and I'll have no option but to buy.


I've definitely been checking out Sierra Trading post among many others.  Again, there's just SO many choices and really without knowing what I want, its really tough to just pick something.

post #5 of 22


Originally Posted by heckofagator View Post

without knowing what I want, its really tough to just pick something.


We can't help you there.  I like both my jackets(Patagonia and DNA) but Mountain Hardwear, Outdoor Research, Arc, Cloudveil, Westcomb, Marmot and others all make good gear.  But you do have to know what features you want in order to narrow it down.  And everyone is different in what they want.  When I started looking for a second jacket, this was my list of required features:


no hood or a removable one - can't stand a hood on a ski jacket because I will never use it.

wrist gators - what keeps my Patagonia jacket from being perfect.

powder skirt

at least 4 outside pockets

at least 4 inside pockets



a pocket for my ski pass


So, figure out what is important to you and then look for those features.

post #6 of 22

I vote Sabre then Stingray... but I've never seen a Rush on anybody yet. 

post #7 of 22

Hey there,


I'm looking too but don't have the urgency you do. I currently have an Obermeyer I got on sale last year and it was the first (and last) insulated I've had.  I'm sticking with a shell from now on.  I just got back from a trip to Austria and saw a few other brands I'm seriously looking at.  If you are going to bump up to the Arcteryx price range, also look at:


Narrona -the Narvik and Lofoten.  Saw many guys wearing them and its a really nice jacket. Made in Norway (they know cold and mountains) and the only brick and morter stateside is in Utah so its an online deal.


Peak Performance - Also seamed popular and nice looking.


Mammut - Nice


Haglofs - Also very nice and very popular in Alps.


I love Sierra Trading but they don't carry these, only direct or Backcountry.


I'm between these and the Arcteryx.  I'm leaning toward the Arcteryx Theda and Narrona Narvik.   If you are looking for a "Soft Shell" type check out the Marmot Zion.


Good luck and let us know what you go with and how you like it.

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the additional thoughts.  I'm still on the fence.  I tried on a couple Arc jackets and really liked them.  The Rush felt really nice but I think its just more than I need.  The Beta AR was also nice but I'm worried that its a bit too short.  I need to do some more reading on the Theta AR.  


That being said....the wife is giving me grief over spending $300 on a jacket for skiing, especially since we don't know how everyone will like it and if we'll be doing it again.  I guess I can see her point, but when I go to research and buy something, I usually want to make it a wise purchase.


I also did some reading last nite on some of the Mountain Hardwear jackets, but all of those seem to be over $200, so if I do that, why not just step it up to a $300 Arc?


Her Dad was of the opinion to just hit some shops when we get out there.  Don't know if I have the b*lls to do that or not.

post #9 of 22

Here's a great solution to spending $300 - Buy my Patagonia Powder Bowl for $160 delivered:  http://www.epicski.com/t/118522/patagonia-powder-bowl-jacket-mens-m-black-gore-tex

post #10 of 22
theclymb has good OR stuff right now, also giving 20% Today. Sierra Trading has good Dry.q Elite and a lot of good haglofs stuff showing up lately use an extra 35% and you get a good price!

softshell I would go alakazam, hardshell victorio or drystein II. haglofs suta seems to be a very nice ski specific windstopper. those are probably my top pics at STP right now.

or vanguard at theclymb for cheap! but only s ou xl right now!
post #11 of 22
Goretex jackets are nice, but unless you are a real hardcore outdoorsman, there's really no need for it (want is another matter lol).

Another point for shop when you get there is all stores are clearing out ski clothing with deep discount right now, although size may be limited depends on when you get there.
post #12 of 22

The big Patagonia sale just ended, but the prices went from 60% off during the sale down to 50% now -- so still a good deal (you can find them under "web specials"). As others have mentioned, lots of places having sales right now. If you order online, pay attention to shipping deals. A lot of them have free shipping for orders over $75 or so. You can order four or five jackets, hope that one of them works and then just have to pay $10 or so to ship the rest back.

post #13 of 22

I have the stingray and I love it. Lots of good deals out there online.  Got mine for $150 less than retail. 

post #14 of 22

I just went through what you are going through and after trying many different brands ended up with a Marmot Cerro Torre hard shell. I just skied with it in VT with 20-30 mph gusts -15 F windchill and it kept me comfortable. From my shopping experiences here are some of my thoughts:


- Retailers are clearing out inventory for spring. There's not a lot of choice left in popular sizes and colors. I would figure out what you want and get it before your trip.


- http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Hardshell-Jacket-Reviews this is a pretty good comparison across brands. The reviewers are climbers but the opinions are still useful.


- I recommend a waterproof breathable windproof hard shell over a soft shell or insulated jacket. If you're a seldom skier, get something that can be used in other situations and a wide variety of temps. A soft shell may not be waterproof in a downpour and an insulated jacket maybe too warm in the spring.


- Gore-Tex has something they call "Gore-Tex Soft Shell" - it's not really soft shell, it's fabric like Pro Shell but with a softer less crinkly feel. BTW, anything Gore-Tex is going to cost more $ (but the lifetime Gore guarantee is a nice feature) but does it necessarily perform better than other proprietary fabrics for most people? I don't know. Gore-Tex Soft Shell has a great soft feel and I prefer it to Pro Shell. Cerro Torre and Arc Rush jacket use a combination of both fabrics.


- I wanted to get an Arc jacket, but they just didn't have the right combination of features, color and price that made me happy. But they are very well made. e.g. the zippers are all easily pulled in either direction with a single gloved hand (the Marmot is not even close). But I did get an Aphix Hoody which worked really well as a midlayer while on a chairlift in a freezing gale.


- I picked the Cerro Torre because it had many similar features as my next favorite jacket, the Arc'teryx Vertical but less $. It also fit me better. I like 2 external chest pockets which I can easily reach sitting on a fully loaded chair lift. For me it's all about the features (lots o pockets) and the fit. I would have preferred a stowaway hood, but I can just roll up the hood inside itself so it doesn't gather snow.


- I tried the Marmot Zion, but it's not a ski jacket, it's a soft shell. Hood is too small for a helmet, no powder skirt, no pit zips or any other venting, and not enough pockets. No idea how the Polartec Neoshell performs, but it feels nice and soft like a softshell and sheds water like hardshell (in my sink anyway). Not really stretchy.


- The Mountain Hardwear jackets look nice and have great features. Dry.Q Elite looks impressive. But for me personally, the fit of the Mountain Hardwear jackets didn't agree. It's about the fit.


- My kids have the Obermeyer I-Grow jackets and pants. Sleeves and cuffs can be extended so they can be work for 2 seasons. Good value.


- Never used them but good deals at zbsports.com.

post #15 of 22

I think the real answer is that it entirely depends on your body type, if you like the baggy (aka "freeride") fit, or something more trim (aka "athletic").  It's easy to find a jacket that has adequate pockets, etc.  The real question is finding a jacket that fits properly, which you allude to.

I tried on every Arcteryx jacket I could get my hands on when I recently went shopping for a new Arcteryx shell. I tried the Sabre, but it's more baggy near the bottom and tighter through the shoulders. Good length though. The Theta was also long enough but you need to be a football player to fill out the shoulders. The Alpha wasn't ski-specific so I passed on it. Sidewinder.....hate the offset zipper thing that makes the jacket flappy when you open it more than 6".

In the end, I actually went with something a bit different: the Rush jacket. Long enough, more trim/athletic, happy middle for the shoulders, and is ski-specific. The Rush also has 2 different types of Pro Shell for the more high-wear areas vs the softer material for the comfort. I recommend taking a serious look at the Rush.

Patagonia fits more "boxy", Mountain Hardware fabric is awesome but the designs are for "regular" fit.....if you're tall or lanky they don't fit very well in my opinion.  


Regardless of what brand you consider, you REALLY should choose the one that fits the best, because they are all different in the fit. Pick the one that works best for your body type, simple as that.


Oh, and as for the hood......attached works just fine.  The Rush jacket hood angles wonderfully when just sitting unused....sits against the back of my helmet and forms a nice "cone" which funnels wind from the rear OVER my head, so the back of my neck is completely covered.  No wind worries when on the chair either.  Really smart design.


Side note: I actually bought my Rush jacket from ZBSports.  No issues with them, very happy.  They were cheaper than EVERYONE else, but with Arc stuff currently on sale, anywhere can offer nearly similar prices now.

post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm still interested in the Arc shells.  I might give it a while yet and see what kind of crazy prices come up.


I'm reading alot of good things about the Mountain Hardwear fabric.  I think I like the notion of a more soft shell like material.  I know these probably aren't going to fit me well, but I'm planning to try an XL in the Kepler and Alakazam and see how they do.  


I definitely like the Rush a lot and if I could know that it was a lighter weight jacket, that might be the one.  And I'll check out the GoreTex Soft Shell material - thanks for the tip.

post #17 of 22

I actually own both the Alakazam and the Rush jackets.  The Rush is indeed a "lightweight" jacket, it's very light and durable.  I absolutely LOVE Mountain Hardwear's fabric, more than Arcteryx, but the Alakazam (in XL) is too "boxy" for me.  I'm 6'2", 190lbs.....was 220lbs when I bought it and it was ok fit.  But after I lost weight, it didn't fit well.  The torso is cut too wide and the arms are too short (even in XL size). The Rush, however, has long sleeves and a trim/athletic middle.  Very different fit.  I wish MH would make their jackets more athletic fit for taller people, but it's just not their style unfortunately.  So I'm going to sell my Alakazam jacket.


Arcteryx has cuts to suit a wider range of body types, from MANY various jackets I've tried on.

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 

hey guys, just a quick update and then we can let this die....  ;)


I got a Mountain Hardwear Kepler and Alakazam in the mail yesterday, along with some Returnia pants.  I have to say, for the price, I really like them and they fit fairly well.  I might ideally want something a bit longer, but for the price from STP with a 30% coupon, its tough to pass up.


I told myself if the Arc jackets get under $300, I'd order one to give it a shot.  I think we'll also be able to go to REI and maybe a couple other shops in Denver before heading to the resort, so maybe I'll find something else there.  But for now, I do like the feel of the MH stuff.  Now I just have to decide between the two, but at least I can put my hands on both to decide.


Thanks again all.

post #19 of 22

where do you get coupons to add discount to an STP deal? thx

post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 

You can keep on eye out here




and most of the time they'll have the coupon listed in a banner at the top of each page.  I saw a banner "sign up for an account and get 30% off" and that's what I used.

post #21 of 22
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

where do you get coupons to add discount to an STP deal? thx

Once I made an initial order from STP they have continued to email me coupons for an extra 25%-35% off and the coupons are usually good for about 5 days and up to three orders (I get one every month or so). I used to get coupons for the extra % off plus free shipping for orders over $100, but they haven't included the free shipping offer for many months now. I used that a lot to order multiple things to try on and then pay $5.95 for return shipping of the items I didn't want. It was a great way to shop so I hope they start doing that again.

post #22 of 22
Originally Posted by TallSkinnyGuy View Post

Once I made an initial order from STP they have continued to email me coupons for an extra 25%-35% off and the coupons are usually good for about 5 days and up to three orders (I get one every month or so). I used to get coupons for the extra % off plus free shipping for orders over $100, but they haven't included the free shipping offer for many months now. I used that a lot to order multiple things to try on and then pay $5.95 for return shipping of the items I didn't want. It was a great way to shop so I hope they start doing that again.

This and also sign up for their dealflyer to get emails. If you have twitter and facebook follow/like them and you also can get coupons from time to time, since they are published on their pages. I never buy anything at STP without at least a 35% coupon.

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