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Arc'teryx jacket question

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Hi All

I am looking at getting a new hardshell and pretty much had it narrowed down to the Arc'teryx Stinger.  Then I saw their new Scarab jacket  (similar to the Stinger but made of the softer Gore softshell material and has a thin fleece layer inside...not really insulation just a softer feel, but may be slightly warmer).  The Scarab doesn't have pockets on the front like the Stinger, but has them inside.  I tried to research the Scarab online, but as it is new there are no reviews to be found yet.  Has anyone tried this jacket or have any info that might help me with the descision?  Trade hand warmer pockets for a softer jacket?  BTW the fit is almost the same.

Thanks!
Jeff
post #2 of 37
Jeff,  I have a Stinger jacket. It is strictly a hardshell, and has no insulation. Great jacket, bombproof and the high collar is great when the wind gets really nasty. The Scarab has some softshell highloft in the body of the jacket for warmth. If you want a warmer jacket for lift access skiing then it would be a good choice IMHO. The Stinger would perform better in wetter weather weighs less and is less bulky. If you do any B/C touring and skiing. get the Stinger, it will take up less space in the bottom of your pack.
post #3 of 37
Jeff:  I'm a huge Arcteryx fan and you can't go wrong no matter what you buy.  I would check out the Arcteryx web site.  It's got a lot of info on their models and features.  Me, I ski with the Stingray jacket, a semi-soft/hard shell that feels great & is bomb proof & waterproof as well.  Unlike the stow hood on the Stinger, the Stingray's hood is always there, which I like on those cold chairlifts and sudden bad weather.  My wife liked the look & feel of it so much I bought one for her this year.  If all you're buying is a shell I'd check out the Primaloft type liners by Arcteryx, Patagonia or REI.  They are light weight and will keep you as warm as a insulated jacket.  My suggestion, stick with the Stinger (or check out the Stingray), you'll miss not having front pockets. 
post #4 of 37
 I hav not seen the Scarab, but have experience with Stinger and Stingray.  You cannot really go wrong with the Arcteryx jacket, you may have to adjust for a couple of days, but after that every one of them  will perform flawlessly.  From looking at the pics online, the main difference is actually the collar height- Stinger has very high collar (apparently it is a heli-skiing jacket originally designed for an outfit in Canada), Scarab's collar is lower.  I am not a huge fan of the high-loft fabric at least in the warmer West coast climates, it tends to absorb moisture and make the jacket heavier; this is great for cruising, but not so if you ski hard.  Not having front pockets is a bold design decision, but I am sure Arcteryx tested that. I use my pockets, so I will miss that, but probably not too much.  If you are buying retail at full price, just go with what feels best to you (i.e. color and feel).  They all perform 100%+.  

So here is my understanding or Arcteryx snow jackets:
Top-line:
Stinger and Sidewinder SV- the most technical of the line, suitable for high-exertion activities and everything else. Made in Canada.
Scarab- lift served skiing, may be too warm for bootpack and may absorb some sweat in the high-loft lining.  Origin-?

Mid-line:
Stingray-lift-serving skiing primarily but also works for high-exertion activities.  it is a snowboarding jacket, so the fit is a bit shorter and boxier.  Sizing is also different, I am a large in Stingray, but Med in Stinger, Sidewinder, etc.  Made in Canada, at least the early year models.
Sidewinder AR- hardshell for resort skiing.  Made in China I believe.  Frankly, Sidweinder AR or a Stingray is all that a skier needs; the top-of-the line jackets are a bit overkill for most skiers.  

Insulated line: I don't even remember the models, but they are really suitable only for East Coast (and maybe Canada), as they are too warm for a typical ski hill...
post #5 of 37
Jeff,

Purchased my stinger last year and love this jacket. Best money I've ever spent on a jacket. Also, I purchased the pants. Make sure the jacket is made in Canada and not the China crap!!!

John
post #6 of 37

If you are tough on your jackets, then a hardshell is the way to go. Sure a softshell is more comfy to wear, but it wont be as durable.

I've got the Sidewinder SV and I've snagged it several times on tree branches (I love tree skiing). A couple of times I've snagged it so hard that I thought for sure I had torn the jacket, only to find that it escaped completely unscathed. Also the extra waterproof & windproof hardshell fabric is worth it's weight in gold when you are in extreme weather conditions. I live on the west coast (aka wet coast) & a waterproof jacket is a must!

Your choice in a jacket really depends upon how you will be using it. If it's just casual outdoor wear, then maybe a softshell is ok.   

post #7 of 37
 Wizard-  The Gore SoftShell fabric is really not a soft shell, it is the normal GoreTex laminate with very thin fleece, so you get softer-feeling fabric that is just as waterproof and just as durable.  Gore's marketing screwed up naming in this case.  
post #8 of 37
Second that on Gore "Soft Shell:" it's a regular goretex hardshell fabric with a softer, brushed hand.
Gore's just trying to jump on the softshell bandwagon.
Lots of debate on exactly what makes a "softshell": IMO, if the fabric doesn't stretch, it's not a soft shell.

I tried on several Cloudveil jackets last year made of the stuff: sent 'em back:  the fabric was way too heavy and stiff for my taste.
post #9 of 37
I looked at the jackets in a store today and still don't understand them.  They are extremely expensive and are only a shell!  How many layers do you wear with these jackets in order to stay warm?  It can be extremely cold and windy in the East Coast.  But even when I was skiing in CO last year, it was 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
post #10 of 37
Don't need many layers.  Baselayer (i.e. Patagonia Capilene 1), Powerstretch top, and Arcteryx Scorpion (like a Stinger with a thin liner) keeps me warm down to about 20 degrees.  When it's 5 degrees, I add a Primaloft insulated vest and I'm good. Jacket's windproof and very well built. Whole deal weighs around 2.5 lbs with the insulating vest.  
post #11 of 37
Looks like they replaced the Scorpion with the Scarab. I have the Scorpion, and it is fantastic.  Warm, but light; ventable; fits great.  Best jacket I've owned.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post

Don't need many layers.  Baselayer (i.e. Patagonia Capilene 1), Powerstretch top, and Arcteryx Scorpion (like a Stinger with a thin liner) keeps me warm down to about 20 degrees.  When it's 5 degrees, I add a Primaloft insulated vest and I'm good. Jacket's windproof and very well built. Whole deal weighs around 2.5 lbs with the insulating vest.  
 
Impressive.  The comment that these shells are as warm or warmer than insulated jackets is counterintuitive but impressive if true.  It's deadly cold in the East Coast and in Europe (-19C in Val d'Isere today).  I use Hot Chillys base layer (it's not as warm as I thought), a thin polyester shirt that covers my neck, Arterix Windstopper with pit zips (they removed them; why?), and a conventional insulated jacket.  I use thicker polyester base layer for my legs and lightly insulated ski trousers.  I rarely ski without my mask and Hotronics boot warmers. 

The Scarab looks good, but the salespeople here discourage using it for the East Coast.
post #13 of 37
Thread Starter 
Interesting.  Did they give a reason why they don't think it's suitable for the East coast?  I wonder if they would feel the same about the Stinger, or whether they think it would be a better choice.

Jeff
post #14 of 37
I have essentially their entire line, and going the shell route with multiple layers for the least coast doesn't make much sense, when you can go with just a base layer and something insulated like the Fission or Kappa. There's no way sort of multiple layers that you get the warmth of those jackets.

Least coast doesn't have the backcountry like the west (or BC, where the brand comes from which is a PNW rain forest), or the vertical extremes so having the flexibility of shells, layers and whatnot is less important than when you have minimal vertical and fairly homogeneous weather patterns.

Through no fault of my own I'm stuck going to Flatton this weekend where it'll be very cold, and I have all kinds of layers, shells and whatever in my bag- so what will I have on - one baselayer and a fission. No need for lots of science.
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreyleigh View Post

Interesting.  Did they give a reason why they don't think it's suitable for the East coast?  I wonder if they would feel the same about the Stinger, or whether they think it would be a better choice.

Jeff
They don't think shells are warm enough for the "Least Coast".  To them, it is simply a protective covering, and would require heavier layers to compensate.  They recommend practically any insulated jacket instead, including insulated Arterix jackets for sale in the hiking department.
post #16 of 37
If I were on E. Coast, an insulated jacket sounds about right.  Patagonia's Insulated Powder Bowl is nice; bout the same as a shell with a light Primaloft jacket underneath it.  Good to go for places like CO, WY, or MT, too...
post #17 of 37
Thread Starter 
Great info guys...thanks!

I'm now leaning more toward an insulated jacket (I ski in eastern Canada-maritimes). The reason I was thinking of layers is because some weekends it can be mild and drizzly, and the next weekend bone chilling and windy.  I have several fleece and wool layers, and was hoping a Stinger shell (or Scarab), with a Patagonia down sweater would take care of the frigid days.  I guess I'd rather be too warm on a warm day,  than too cold on a cold day, so if I get an insulated jacket, I can keep my old shell to layer when it gets mild.

Jeff
post #18 of 37
Both my insulated jacket and Arterix Windstopper have pit zips, which I open periodically, so I never get too hot.
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post
Stingray-lift-serving skiing primarily but also works for high-exertion activities.  it is a snowboarding jacket, so the fit is a bit shorter and boxier.  Sizing is also different, I am a large in Stingray, but Med in Stinger, Sidewinder, etc.  Made in Canada, at least the early year models.
 

I think you have that backwards.  Virtually every snowboarding-targeted jacket I've seen have been hip-length (parka) or longer.  Skiing jackets have traditionally been short (or at least shorter) because skiing demands bending at the hips, sometimes deeply.  Long jackets catch at the butt, and bunch up at the crotch.  Snowboarding... not quite as much bending.

(A quick Google Image search of "ski jacket" and "snowboard jacket" will illustrate this length convention.)

Veloscente is on the ball regarding Gore "Soft Shell"...  the Gore marketing dept, far from messing up, came up with "Gore-tex Soft Shell" as a strategic move that many regard as downright deceptive.  Remember that W. L. Gore & Assoc.'s primary technology is ePTFE membrane.  When the softshell craze hit, they were left flat-footed with little to compete in the membrane-less, stretchy (to enable closer, more efficient clothing cuts), highly-breathable-but-weather-resistant fabric market.  Their Windstopper product could not compete in breathability and stretch, and even though it was more weather-resistant than other softshell fabrics, it was difficult to sell as "more water resistant, but you might still get wet".  It didn't have the Gore "magic" in the market.

In swoops Gore marketing to the rescue.  "Gore Soft Shell" could be marketed as the waterproof softshell.  Something to stand out in the market and dazzle consumers to forget to notice that it still had most of the disadvantages of a hardshell... because it really was just a hardshell variant (not that there's anything really wrong with a hardshell variant).  The term was, of course, deceptive and worked to undermine the definition of "softshell".

jeffreyleigh:

The Gore "soft shell" material is not just a fuzzier inner layer ("fleece" is completely misleading, as it is FAR from a fleece of any kind; fuzzier is the correct description; think of the difference between a dress shirt and a light flannel shirt), the shell fabric has a softer hand to be less "crinkly" and less noisy relative to the XCR/Pro Shell fabrics.  Having compared a Stingray ("Soft Shell"), Sidewinder AR (XCR), and Beta AR (Pro Shell) side-by-side, I can tell you that this is indeed true.
Edited by DtEW - 12/29/09 at 1:04am
post #20 of 37
 Could be, In a direct comparison, the Stingray definitely looks boxier.  Maybe that's why it felt shorter.   Any Arcteryx jacket is a top-notch product, so the differences are subtle.  
post #21 of 37
I have never believed in insulated jackets and fully believe that layering is much more versatile.  You have way more control over how warm you are.  If you wear an insulated jacket and are too warm, sure you can open the pit zips, but personally I don't like cold air rushing in under my arms!  If you are layering you simply change your insulating layer or take off a layer and you can control how warm you are.

My typical ski day attire is a base layer with a thin (100 or 200 weight) fleece and either a primaloft vest or jacket under my Arc Scorpion.  If it's really cold (sub zero) I would replace the thin fleece with a thicker (300 weight) one.  I typically head to the hill with both a primaloft jacket and vest so that I can swap the jacket for the vest at lunch if it warms up.  I also wear a windproof fleece neck gaiter which I can pull up over my face on the lift.

FYI the Scorpion is much warmer than the hardshell Arc jackets.  Had the Sidewinder AR before the Scorpion and it was no where near as warm.  The Scorpion is also just as waterproof as the hardshells.

Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreyleigh View Post

Great info guys...thanks!

I'm now leaning more toward an insulated jacket (I ski in eastern Canada-maritimes). The reason I was thinking of layers is because some weekends it can be mild and drizzly, and the next weekend bone chilling and windy.  I have several fleece and wool layers, and was hoping a Stinger shell (or Scarab), with a Patagonia down sweater would take care of the frigid days.  I guess I'd rather be too warm on a warm day,  than too cold on a cold day, so if I get an insulated jacket, I can keep my old shell to layer when it gets mild.

Jeff
post #22 of 37

I'd be interested to know anyone can subsitute an insulated jacket with a shell in the East without replacing the base or mid layer for something warmer.  I very rarely open my pit zips, it's way too cold and windy (it's so cold, I can't ski without Hotronics boot warmers).  Perhaps the new shells manage to be equally warm as an insulated jacket?  A salesperson I met doesn't think so, but if true, then it would be lighter and more comfortable.

I noticed some guys who use several layers and a shell are frequently adjusting their pit zips and skiing back to the lodge or cars to swap or add layers.  I never have to stop to adjust my clothing.

post #23 of 37
So it's ALWAYS cold and windy in the East?  Do you only choose to ski on the coldest days?  Clearly the weather changes, right?

My point was that if you have an insulated jacket and it warms up during the day, what do you do?  Opening the pit zips is your only option.  If I have a shell on I have the option of opening the pit zips, swapping one layer for another, or removing a layer completely.  If it gets really warm, the insulated jacket isn't an option so you have to have another lighter jacket for those days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by woofcyn View Post

I'd be interested to know anyone can subsitute an insulated jacket with a shell in the East without replacing the base or mid layer for something warmer.  I very rarely open my pit zips, it's way too cold and windy (it's so cold, I can't ski without Hotronics boot warmers).  Perhaps the new shells manage to be equally warm as an insulated jacket?  A salesperson I met doesn't think so, but if true, then it would be lighter and more comfortable.

I noticed some guys who use several layers and a shell are frequently adjusting their pit zips and skiing back to the lodge or cars to swap or add layers.  I never have to stop to adjust my clothing.

post #24 of 37
Check out the Fury SV. I picked this up this season (on Gearsamples.com) and I have been very impressed. It's 3 different wind-stopper materials and lined with a 100wt bonded fleece. I skied it in everthing from 30's down to -7 with high winds in heavy snow. No issues, nice high front colllar, good pockets (lined as well) breathes well too. On most days, I wear a base layer and one mid layer- upper teens through 20's. The cold day I wore a 100wt thinsulate liner with a base layer and was warm.  You don't need 100% h20 proof, just give me wind proof and about 10-15K h20 proof. Very soft as well.

http://www.arcteryx.com/Product.aspx?Mens/Jackets-Vests/Fury-SV-Jacket
post #25 of 37
Looks very nice Finn!  Very similar to my Scorpion with the 100wt fleece added for warmth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

Check out the Fury SV. I picked this up this season (on Gearsamples.com) and I have been very impressed. It's 3 different wind-stopper materials and lined with a 100wt bonded fleece. I skied it in everthing from 30's down to -7 with high winds in heavy snow. No issues, nice high front colllar, good pockets (lined as well) breathes well too. On most days, I wear a base layer and one mid layer- upper teens through 20's. The cold day I wore a 100wt thinsulate liner with a base layer and was warm.  You don't need 100% h20 proof, just give me wind proof and about 10-15K h20 proof. Very soft as well.

http://www.arcteryx.com/Product.aspx?Mens/Jackets-Vests/Fury-SV-Jacket
post #26 of 37
I just picked up the Fury SV  from Back Country outlet. I love the high collar. when fully zipped I can get complete facial coverage. The hood is massive and is totally adjustable to size everything  IE...hat less or cover my Smith variant-brim Helmet. Pit Zips and powder skirt complete. The fabric is windstopper and seems to resist water well. The light fleece interior is barely there. It has a relaxed fit  room for layering, not too tight.Fact is its pretty loose in the belly. That may have something to do with the XXL size I ordered. I needed abit more room in the neck 18.5" and the chest/back 48+ than the XL offered. Very pleased with first impression.
post #27 of 37
MikeC and Finn are on the right track. It will be 5 degrees (or less) one day and 30 degrees (or more) the next day, here in the east. But, it's often windy. So, I use a Marmot Windstopper uninsulated softshell and vary my base and mid-layer weights appropriately. I use the same Marmot softshell from November thru April. So far, the Marmot softshell is water repellent enough that I have never needed to pull out a rain shell. carry one, just in case, though.

I know this thread is mostly about the ArcTeryx stuff. I admit, it's all very nice and fits me well. Just have never had the coin. Someday.
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeC View Post

So it's ALWAYS cold and windy in the East?  Do you only choose to ski on the coldest days?  Clearly the weather changes, right?

My point was that if you have an insulated jacket and it warms up during the day, what do you do?  Opening the pit zips is your only option.  If I have a shell on I have the option of opening the pit zips, swapping one layer for another, or removing a layer completely.  If it gets really warm, the insulated jacket isn't an option so you have to have another lighter jacket for those days.
 


 
From Dec-late Feb you can count on it being cold in the east, no matter what days you choose to ski, particularly if he's in the Maritimes. I have 40+ years doing this, and for those months an insulated jacket that to breathes well (Fission AR) will deal with whatever you need, and you don't have to dick around with layers. Super cold - fine, sorta cold -fine. If it's super cold, a tin mid layer, if not, just a base layer and its fine.

The key is the breatability so you don't get sweated up.

I have more shells than I know what to do with (Venta arrived this week ), and the insulated Fission is always the first one in the bag for trips. Doing a 12 day west trip in a week, and fission will be first in again for its overall versatility.
post #29 of 37

Sounds like Snofun3's approach is similar to mine.  I was miserable skiing in VT in the 70s.  They used to pass out ponchos on the chair lifts.

I am rarely hot, so I'm not adjusting my pit zips (usually closed) or changing layers.  It was hot in France last year in April, so I skiied with just my Arcterix Windstopper.  This year is unusually cold in the Alps, so I would use the same gear as in the East.  I'm not sure, however, if I could ski Quebec with my gear.

If it's mildly cold or warm in VT or NH, I'll just wear a base layer with my insulated jacket (it's breathable; I use a high-end Killy jacket).  On super cold days, I'll add a thin shirt and my Arcterix Windstopper (the old one had pit zips).  It's rare to have super warm days and have good snow conditions at the same time anyway. 

My collegues are not wearing Arcterix but are wearing shells.  They need to stop 1-2x everyday in order to add, remove or change layers.  They are also carrying more gear to the mountain.  They have a harder time predicting the weather and dressing accordingly.

The Arcterix website is confusing; they don't mention the Fission AR jacket as a ski jacket when searching their products by Activity - Ski/Snowboard.

post #30 of 37
After I wash my Arcterix Windstopper, can I use Nikwax Polar Proof Wash-in Waterproofing?  Also, how do you wash Swany gloves?  Their website says the only way is to use febreeze on it.
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