Arc'teryx Easyrider Jacket
Fabric: Polartec Power Shield High Loft
Price Paid: $165
The jacket is made of really nice Polartec Power Shield High Loft material. It is the typical soft shell from the outside, but the High Loft means it has a fur like interior. I can understand why some of the reviewers talk about how warm it is. That is what it is designed for.
What it is NOT designed for is Tall people. I am 6'2" and the front of the jacket did not reach the top of my pants. The sleeves were just OK (too short) but with gloves would have been workable. I had to return it even at an almost half price deal. I contacted Arc'teryx about it. They at least said it was time to consider making Tall versions.
Before buying this jacket, you need to make sure that you understand what your needs are. This is the warmest of the Arc'teryx softshells. If you are going to be active in slightly chilly weather, this jacket is going to be overkill for the vast majority of people. However, for colder climates, this jacket cannot be beat. I used it for skiing this winter as an outer shell down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit with a wool baselayer and a windshirt underneath, and I was perfectly comfortable for the day.
Pros: loose, less technical fit allow for comfortable layering (the Gamma SV Jacket is too tight for me); snug wrist cuffs work well with gloves to keep cold air from working its way in; warm and wind resistant; easy to pull a shell over for really cold conditions.
Cons: high loft powershield isn't the easiest to slide on; not sure how water-proof this jacket is (not a factor for me personally); no pit-zips might limit range of use
Bottom line: I bought this jacket for cold weather activities and it has excelled for the past 3 months. While others have criticized the loose-fitting collar around the neck, I find this preferable to a jacket that is too tight. Typically one of my baselayers has a zip-up neck on it, and I have yet to have any problems with cold air getting in. I used to wear a Gore-Tex shell every time I went skiing, but the Easyrider Jacket is much more comfortable, and less bulky than an equivalent fleece/shell combination. Pit zips might be a nice addition, but so far I haven't missed them.
I used this jacket in both Iraq and Afghanistan during the winter season. If you're moving and shaking, yeah, plenty here to keep you warm. HOWEVER, if you just sitting still, this jacket leaves much to be desired in the warmth department.
Another plus was the ability to shed weather right off your back. Rain and sleet were no match for this jacket...it did keep me dry. Highly recommended as part of a layer system.
Price Paid: $275
I own both this and the Gamma SV and I would say that this is more useful since it has the insulation built into the jacket. Most of the time I find myself going for the Easyrider over the Gamma in all ranges of temperature that I would want a softshell. The Easyrider also works well as shell for skiing in temperatures around 10-20 with just a fleece shirt on underneath. I would highly recommend this jacket and say that it is worth the steep price.
Fabric: Powershield outer, High loft fleece inner
Price Paid: $220 US
This is perhaps Arc'Teryx's warmest fleece jacket--having a powershield shell, and high loft fleece innards and seems more for casual use rather than field use. Powershield is a wonderful material--my favorite soft shell fabric--and the inclusion of powershield will create a robust jacket that will last a lifetime. The one problem I have with this jacket, as with most of Arc'teryx line of jackets: The collar is just way too large, and really requires a neck cinch.
This jacket is unbeatable during cold weather conditions. It is very warm and very light -- so you feel very free in range. Nothing but great.
Concerning the collar problem -- Nick is right, but it's the only negative part of Arc'Teryx jackets. SO What.
Where to Buy
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