I am trying to decide between the Mountain Hardware Vertical jacket and the Arcteryx Stinger jacket. I like both the jackets, but the Mountain Hardware seems thinner and softer and I wonder if it is as durable as the Stinger. Here are some of the issues factoring into my decision:
2 layer vs 3 layer Pro Shell:
Some report the Stinger to be a three layer pro shell and state that the Vertical is only 2 layers. Gore-tex confirmed that there are 2 different types of proshell – the 2 and 3 layer versions – but they both offer the same amount of protection as far as wind proof, waterproof, breathability, and durability. However, I called Mountain Hardware and they told me that their jacket is indeed a 3 layer pro shell.
Outer layer Marterials:
Arc'teryx told me that the pro shell is not the outside layer of the jacket but the middle two layers and that the exterior is another fabric all together. They justified this by saying they have many different weights of a pro shell, such as the 390 and 480N fabrics in the Stinger. Gore-tex contradicted this and said that the entire fabric itself is Gore-tex pro shell, including the outer layer. The Vertical is made with Gore-Tex Pro Shell Fabric 100% Nylon full dull plain weave construction, High filament count 2 ply textured nylon face fabric for a strong lightweight and extremely durable fabric. 100% nylon MicroGrid woven backer and DWR finish.
This was all confusing and I was still trying to understand all the complexities of the different permutation of Pro shell at that time. However, when talking to mountain hardware they stated that the whole fabric IS the pro shell but Gore-tex certifies each pro shell individually with the manufacturing company. Apparently they have a minimum standard but some companies may go above that standard. Apparently, though not confirmed directly, Arc’teryx is one of those companies that go above and beyond. One thing I will comment on is that when I proposed a hypothetical that if the jacket getting damaged while falling on a ice packed slope and sliding for about 30 ft at 20 – 30 mph, mountain hardware stated that if the jacket got frayed or ripped in that situation they would not cover the jacket where Arcteryx said they most probably would. Hmmmmmm.
Features and Fit:
The Vertical has many more technical features, such as more pockets and removable hood and powder skirt. The sleeves also fit a little better. The Stinger is much also much stiffer, and I don't know if it will soften up very quickly with use (Arc'teryx said it would not). The Vertical is much softer, and feels almost exactly by like the fabric on a Stingray, which is a Gore-tex soft shell, but the Vertical is a Pro shell, that has been confirmed by Gore-tex. Unfortunately I can’t seem to get a good fit on new Arc’teryx Jackets. I tried Snofun3’s Stinger in large and it fit me well, but when I went home and tried the sidewinder and Theta in medium and large they both seemed too big and the shoulders and sleeves were HUGE. I have a Stingray in blue and that fit me a lot better. It is almost like the hardness of the shell would not allow it to fall on my shoulders nicely(the stingray having a soft shell).
The other differences between the jackets are the following:
- The Stinger main zipper is waterproof with no external flap covering it while the Vertical has a flap covering the main zipper with sections of oval Velcro to affix it to the jacket.
- The Stinger has very thick, full Velcro on the sleeves to cinch them down, while the Vertical has the aforementioned ovals (I am concerned how long they will work well.)
- Stinger is longer
- Vertical has a couple of extra internal pockets
So that is all I have. I thought I would post it here so maybe someone could use it in the future but also to get some thoughts on the matter. If you have anything to offer, it would be greatly appreciated.