Arc'teryx Alpha LT Jacket
Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer
Excellent fit and tough fabric.
- Length (finally a jacket with long enough sleeves!)
- Very slim (good for me, but barely)
- Hood can be bulky without helmet
As a member of Gore MountainTechs, I have the opportunity to field test GORE-TEX gear in some of the harshest conditions.
This jacket is seriously top notch. Very high quality outer fabric that has withstood some tough abrasion. Very waterproof, good breathability, and pit zips help in really warm situations.
Hood fits helmets well, but can feel a bit bulky without a helmet (even when cinched down). Nice zippers all the way around. A slim fit (which I like) but the waist is just wide enough to fit me...any smaller and it would not go over my hips. Length is perfect on sleeves and torso (I'm 6', 185 lbs, and have a Medium for this jacket.)
Less important to some, but the color Dusk is a great choice in my opinion.
Overall would highly recommend this jacket for moderate to extreme conditions.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 385$
Phenomenal hood, great fit, very durable.
- Amazing hood
- Great fit
- Makes other brands feel "cheap"
I picked up the Alpha LT through Arc'teryx's LEAF program, so the colour is a bit different then the normal Arc offerings, but it's the same great jacket.
I've been using it the last couple months for everyday wear, and we've had some nasty conditions to test it out in, lots of rain, sleet, and snow and it beads like a champ. As others have said the hood will adjust to anything you need it to do, and the jacket itself fits really well.
Still going strong, used all summer doing geologic field work in the Yukon, lot of cold rainy days, and every day in the woods was bushwacking. Jacket is still going strong. The only reason I even got wet was because I couldn't get the jacket on fast enough.
Recently I've been looking at getting a softshell, and even with all the brands out there I'm still going to go for Arc' because their hood is just so damn good!
Price Paid: $400
I've had this jacket for right at two years and I could not be happier with it. The jacket is ridiculously lightweight, yet has proven to be extremely durable. I have two friends that have the paclite version and even though it was much cheaper I really couldn't feel comfortable that it would hold up to abuse. I'm very rough on gear. My philosophy is that if I pay this much for it, it better not break.
I've primarily backpacked in this jacket in all types of conditions. Mine beaded water like a champ when I bought it, but the dwr finish did eventually wear off. It doesn't bead anymore, but is still totally waterproof. The jacket is very breathable and doesn't have that 'crinkly' feeling that I've had with other three layer jackets.
I would trust this jacket to take me anywhere. It will stand up to plenty of abuse.
The hood is absolutely the best, most adjustable hood I've ever seen. The hood also doesn't get in the way when you sit down in a chair, or lay down on the ground with it on.
The only consideration that you might have with this jacket is that it is shorter than other parkas I've owned. I had to change the insulation layer I use with this jacket because my Patagonia down sweater hangs out of the bottom by a couple of inches. This is also a consideration if you're planning on using this jacket as a ski jacket because it doesn't have a snow skirt. It really isn't designed to be a ski jacket anyway though, but I use it with a bib when skiing and it does great.
This is by far the best parka I've ever owned, and I've owned a few.
Fabric: Gore-Tex Pro Shell
Price Paid: $450
First of all, I have no idea what that guy was talking about, I have the Pro shell version (Fall 07) and it couldn't be more waterproof. To be honest though, I was afraid to wear this jacket after spending so much money on it and feeling how light it is.
That being said, this jacket is pretty damn durable despite its ridiculously low weight. It is as waterproof as can be and while I haven't used it that much yet (I will definitely update my review if anything goes wrong with it) the new Gore-Tex Pro Shell seems amazing.
I was trying to chose between this jacket and the Alpha SL (which is half the cost) and made with the Pac-lite rather than the pro-shell, which after a bunch of research, I found is not as durable over the long term but it depends on your use. I decided to go with this jacket because I want something that was light and that I can beat up and I plan on using it for mountaineering as well as a light, packable rain jacket. The SL is a great jacket, my roommate has one, but consider your uses before you buy.
The only thing you need to be careful about both the Alphas is they are cut short in the front. I am a tall skinny guy and the a L is a little too short for me in the front but I'm keeping it anyway because it will still do the job. Oh yeah, best hood design ever on this jacket. Fits your head snugly yet can fit a helmet, amazing.
Price Paid: $425
I took the jacket to India to climb at 13,000 ft. I was soaked in every condition, warm rain, cold rain, cold monsoon rain. No one told me the need to treat the jacket with a DWR revivex product, even though it was brand new. I traded up to the Alpha SV and I have no confidence at all it will work on the Appalachian Trail this winter.