Historic Range: $211.83-$475.00
While marketed as an improvement on the Alpha Comp, this rip-off of Black Diamond's Dawn Patrol LT Hybrid takes inspiration from the original and perfects it.
- Effective body mapping
- Good Napolean pockets
- Harness tabs
- Great weather resistance
- Not a "Fortress"
Conditions: Two full seasons in the Rockies, with occasional trips to the Coast Range. Experience 10° to -28° dry conditions as well as two days of very wet snow. Mostly ski touring, ski mountaineering, ice climbing, cycle commuting in the Pacific North West, and mountaineering.
Personal: Fairly fit late 20-year-old male, I get really, really hot the moment I start moving and cool down just as quickly. I have a lot of trouble staying comfortable in pretty much any conditions.
I despise hardshells. I have yet to find a hardshell that really works the way I'd like it to. Even the good ones like NeoShell still force you to slow down a bit and exert less. I hate this. And I love to rip on Gore-tex, the most over hyped brand in the outdoor industry.
So with all that said I am very impressed with the Alpha Comp Jacket. The idea to use softshell in key areas has been done before, but not this well.
The build construction is decent walking a tight line between durability and lightweight (comparable to an Alpha FL). Personally I appreciate the lighter weight, though some users might find it a bit thin. It has all the features you'd expect in a jacket in Arc'teryx Alpha lineup, the hamster-pool noodles that stop the pack from riding up in your harness, the big Storm hood, the pockets that sit accessible when wearing a harness etc.
So the mapping..... Basically it runs from beneath the elbow, down to above the waist, around to the back stopping a palms width beneath the neck. The idea is simple, the areas where you perspire the most; underarms and back, are covered by a thin softshell material. This allows for a breathability not possible in a hardshell.
The waterproof front has handled wet endless powder, and even rain days. Surprisingly it's best use is probably cycling. Moving fast enough, and with a pack your back never gets wet, but your front stays dry. It's the perfect combo, and to be honest, this is probably the application this jacket is best at.
Hiking in rainy, or heavy wet snow conditions this jacket fares less well. Eventually the snow or wet starts to trickle down your back. Now this isn't too big a deal while you're moving, but it also means I am reticent to trust this jacket is a bombproof fortress to hunker down and weather out storms in the alpine. This is a piece for movement and brief shelter. Overall this is a sacrifice that for me is worth it, but it also means I wouldn't recommend this as a Quiver-Of-One jacket.
Overall I would say this is the perfect jacket for those who love softshells but find there is the odd day they just aren't enough for heavy conditions. While it's not a fortress, I carry other things that still mean I'd take this on most days out over a burly hardshell.
Source: bought via a "pro deal"