User Review: Arc'teryx Men's Theta AR Jacket
Fabric: GoreTex ProShell
Price Paid: $300
I have now had the Arc'teryx Theta AR for just shy of a year now. When I purchased it, I was looking for a shell that I could buy and keep/use for many years to come. I have friends who have owned Arc'teryx products and had something go wrong with them and the company's customer service was reportedly excellent, which is one of the main reasons I looked at the jacket.
I was also looking for a jacket that extended down past my waist because I like the additional length and rain protection. Lastly I was looking for a GoreTex Proshell jacket because I like their products and have used them and they have proved durable and very water resistant.
The jacket. The jacket is definitely designed and fits a body with an athletic build the best. It is form fitting, but not tight, allowing layering below without having a lot of bunched up material or the feeling of bulkiness. The sleeves are cut so that even when wearing a fleece underneath, when I reached up to grab a branch while wearing my pack (loaded about 25lbs) the part of the jacket under the hipbelt did not budge.
The wrists are adjustable with a sturdy velcro strip which when in use with my gloves in the snow kept a great seal. The pit-vents are large and have dual direction zippers so opening and closing them with a pack and gloves on was a breeze. The pockets are located in a very convenient position allowing easy access while wearing my pack and the shoulderstraps did not get in the way of pocket entry.
The hood, as well as the torso and bottom of the jacket all have one hand pull cords which allow you to cinch the jacket/hood down one handed, which again works well even when wearing my pack and gloves.
The jacket holds up very well against rain as I have personally tested when in the Smoky Mountains. I made the mistake of going hiking without a rain jacket and got stuck in a torrential downpour that left me soaked and miserable. I said I would never again make that mistake.
The jacket packs down pretty compact and fits in the lid pocket of my Gregory Z-55 with extra room in the pocket to spare, and weighs just over a pound. The Theta has taken many rainstorms in the Smokies with me and even when I am at home around town.
The downside, though it is claimed that the jacket breathes well, I still found it to be stuffy after a rainstorm while still hiking through the woods. It does however breath better than a plastic or rubber bag. It also does a good job blocking the cold wind, however since it has no insulation, a fleece or something below is a must for temperatures near and below freezing.
Over the year I have owned it I have worn it with my pack on more than 10 times, and the shoulders show no sign of wear or loss of water-proofness, which is something that Arc'teryx advertises. They "strengthened" the shoulders and elbows to make them more rugged, which I have found they are after many hours of pack wear with no losses to repellency.
During one rainstorm, I slipped on a decline and slid about 15 feet in mud/muck and the jacket did not tear, however it was left looking quite brown. When I got home I squirted it off with a hose and it cleaned right up.
Though the jacket is a bit pricey and it [in my opinion] could breathe better, I still am very very satisfied with my purchase. I would definitely recommend the Theta to anyone looking for a rugged and reliable hard-shell that will last them for many years, if they are willing to shell out the dough!