I am looking to get some new gear for the upcoming season. I was able to secure a job which allows me to get some pretty steep discounts on various outdoor gear companies including Arc'teryx and Mountain Hardwear. My search started with a down or synthetic puffy to wear around town when it gets cold as my atom LT (isnt warm enough when not working up a sweat) and came across the Mountain Hardwear Phantom hooded jacket( my cost ~$80). It seems like a great jacket and would no doubt keep me warm. Furthermore, I was going to buy an Alpha SV (my cost $150) for skiing and various other outdoor activites for when it shits H2O and use my atom LT as an insulating layer which has worked well on the mountain.
Now, yesterday I took a stroll into Eddie Bauer and tried on their First Ascent BC Microtherm 2.0 ( woudl pay full price minus 20%) which is a down jacket with waterproof membrane. I one thing that I absolutely loved were the massive chest vents/pockets which I could seem myself using very often on the mountain when working up a sweat.
So, in saying all this, which would you choose and why? Arc'teryx Alpha SV and MHW Phantom (phantom wouldnt be used as a layer for skiing) or the First Ascent BC MIcrotherm? Maybe another option in Arc'teryx or MHWs lineup? I'd appreciate the the feedback!