User Review: Arc'teryx Women's Alpha SL Jacket
Price Paid: $275
The Arc'teryx Alpha SL Jacket that I recently purchased is great! It's very close-fitting, and so requires a pretty athletic build to fit comfortably. However, this also means that there isn't any loose fabric to get caught on branches, add weight, or rustle noisily. In fact, it's very soft and quiet. It's also incredibly light and packs into a ball nearly the size of my fist.
Despite its light fabric, I've taken it out into a very hard rain that recently flooded Chicago and I stayed completely dry underneath. As with any Gore-tex waterproof, it's going to get a little steamy if you're active, but the pit zips are large and easily managed even with gloves.
The sleeves are well articulated and stay at my wrist even when fully extended or bent at the elbow. I think my favorite feature, however, is the hood. It has three different cord adjustments so that the hood will fit over a helmet or very snuggly around your head. The problem I often have with helmet-compatible hoods is that there's too much room when there's no helmet worn. In wind, the hood flops around and gets in the way or leaves too much of a gap around the face for rain to get in. Not this one - properly adjusted it stuck to my face and turned with my head.
My only criticism is that the front cords that cinch the hood around the face are left a bit too loose when pulled tight. I would have preferred to be able to pull excess cords into the jacket instead of having a big loop of them flapping around on each side of my head. They don't flap much though, and the complaint is a small one.
Though I intend on hiking with this jacket, it probably shouldn't be used under backpacks weighing over 20 lbs because it's so light and the shoulders aren't reinforced. I'm a 5ft 3in man, so I purchased a size Small Women's and it fit perfectly. Oh, and the Wasabi color rocks!