User Review: Arc'teryx Men's Theta AR Jacket
Fabric: Gore-Tex Pro Shell
Price Paid: 385 USD
After many years of gracing the hills and trails with North Face, Patagonia and Mammut on my back, I decided to go with this much talked about Canadian-Made brand. As my first Arc'teryx Jacket, and someone that needs the extra rugged protection for ice climbing, I was on the line between three jackets; The cheaper Beta AR (which was too short and ill-fitting in the shoulders for me), the ultra pricey Alpha SV (At $599 and only two color options available I thought Arc'teryx could've given a little more for the price beside the safe design and Canada-Made origin), and third the Theta AR which, at $350-$450, was the most economical, best fitting and well designed for me.
In my opinion, it offers all the Alpha SV offers and a little more; More pockets, more hem length and a much, much better slim/stream-lined athletic fit which actually works better with my climbing harness. The only advantage I can see of the Alpha SV is the extra stiff nylon outer shell and slightly bigger hood. Things that are not important to most people with normal sized heads and those that don't wear rain gear to sword fights.
Most reviewers suggested sizing up for the size. At 5'8"/150lbs I normally wear Medium and found Small in this jacket fit perfect with plenty room to layer my Patagonia Micro Puff Pullover or R4 fleece Jacket underneath. I think the Arc'teryx Gore-Tex XCR shells used to fit on the small side, but the newer Gore-Tex Pro Shell Theta and Alpha definitely fits on the big side. So either get your size or size down.
I just got my Theta AR over the New Years weekend and during a first quick climb on the ice I find it works well with my harness and definitely does not ride up or bunch up during climbs. The Theta's collar/hood combo takes a little getting used to since most jackets have hoods either stow away or hang openly. But this was not a problem since the extra collar keeps out wind and ice melt.
All the pockets are small on this jacket (No water bottle and mitt warmer pockets here, just lipbalm and car keys). You could argue that they should be bigger with handwarming-fleece lining but that would add weight and subtract versatility so it's not necessarily a 100% bad thing.
I miss having the dual belay zippers that you find on virtually all other alpine mountain jackets. On the Theta and most Arc'teryx brand jackets there is only one one-way front zip, so you either have to zip up or just leave the zip open. I kept it zipped up and tucked the hem inside my harness and wore the jacket like a shirt. Good thing the Pro Shell material breathes really well (better than XCR) so I didn't find myself unzipping the front zippers to vent at all during my climb.
Another thing that took getting used to is the ultra-thin shock cords and tiny pull tabs. They seem so frail like they will pull right off, but then you soon see that the quality of this the jacket is for real.
Great jacket with minor gripes about it. Expect it to last a long time and for the price it should!
Recommended for Serious Adventurers! Urbanites stick with your TNF and save your money for Lattes!