just looking at arcteryx and it seems in the past 5 years, they have exploded their jacket styles into a dizzying collection of small variations. I am mostly a resort/sidecountry skier (20 trips a year with a light pack)with 1 or 2 back country adventures (with a heavier pack). I like layering up so an insulated shell is not something I am looking for. But even with these constraints I have to look at the Caden, the stingray, the sidewinder, the sabre and the crossbow. And this does even even take into account their more technical line (alpha, beta, theta, etc- which has a fuller cut)
And then there is patagonia and norrona as well.
Of course when you go to the arcteryx website and try to compare them, they highlight the similarities, not the differences. so it's near impossible to figure out why they make jackets with different names. Has anyone seen a good review/comparison site? I know the older gore fabrics were noisy. but that's all iknow. my 10 year old patagonia was great but finally wearing out. I loved it for the large pockets-which it seems most manufacturers have trimmed to a minimum.