In my mind, I had my choice narrowed down to the Mountain Hardware Alchemy or the Arc'teryx Hercules. Went to REI today and they don't carry the Hercules here in Austin (shocker).
I liked the weight of the Alchemy. In the store, I really liked the fluffy fleece cuffs, but wonder how those would work on the slopes, being non-adjustable. Could be a problem unless gloves go over the cuff. I'm 6'0" 185lbs, medium build (42R or sometimes L) and the fit was a little on the short side and pretty form fitting. I like that, but it would obviously limit my ability to layer underneath, so I'm curious how cold this thing can go with moderate base layers underneath. I tried it with my fleece vest and that definitely would not work.
On paper, the Hercules seems to maybe be a better bet, as it has a bit more loft and theoretically more warmth, but I have no way to find this out for myself. Also, it's relatively new, so doesn't seem to be as much information floating around the net on it.
While there, I also tried an OR Credo Softshell, which looked really nice in Orange/Brown. Large was l little too boxy for me, and I had trouble with the zippers on two different jackets, so I took it out of the running.
Marmot Gravity was next. I liked the jacket, although again, a little on the boxy side, but workable. Also missed the chest pocket, which I think should be a requirement. While very stylish with some nice features (waist adjustment in the warming pockets), I think there might be better choices out there for my needs.
Last, was TNF Apex Bionic. I had kind of taken TNF out of the running in my mind, although I own quite a bit of it and like it. Read negative things about the company recently, and frankly, just thought it might be nice to step outside the norm a bit and try something new. However, I must confess, I did like this jacket. It kind of seemed to take a lot of the good qualities from everything I tried and fit-wise, kind of a happy medium as well. It also happened to be the cheapest of the bunch.
So there is where I'm at. I still think the Hercules could be the one, but without trying it on or seeing it, I really have no way of knowing. Hopefully someone with a little experience here can chime in.
Thanks for listening :-)