Probably the ultimate storm fortress. My first Arc'teryx…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £449- approx US $550-
Probably the ultimate storm fortress.
- Unsurpassed waterproofing and windproofing
- Robust 80D GoreTex Pro shell
- Thigh length with drop-back hem
- Excellent articulated helmet compatible hood with longer laminated storm-brim
- More generous near-'Expedition' fit will accommodate Winter layers
- 6 pockets!
- Pockets could be a bit larger when wearing Winter gloves
- Heavy rain may cause mid-layers to become damp if jacket isn't fully zipped-up
- Condensation can accumulate in Napoleon chest-pocket during heavy and prolonged storms
- Gore-Tex shell can be quite noisy
My first Arc'teryx hard-shells. Bought Autumn (Fall)/Winter 2015/16
80D GoreTex Pro shell is durable and surprisingly resistant to abrasion and snagging for such a relatively lightweight material. Much in the same way Arcteryx's Apha SV is. Which provides near-peerless protection from the very worst the weather may bring...N.B. Providing one remembers to zip it up fully!
Thankfully, when compared to the Arc'teryx Alpha SV's trimmer 'Alpine' fit, the Theta SVX has a more generous near-'Expedition' fit. Which in size XL can accommodate Winter layers (as well as my 'Beefy' Rugby player proportions) with some comfort. The jacket's well conceived articulated patterning and gussted arms etc. still allow for largely unrestricted movement of your arms, head and neck, shoulders and upper torso.
The design of the Theta SVX's hood is a real tour de force. Sportng a longer laminated storm-brim on such an easily adjustable, articulated & helmet-compatible hood minimises the ingress of wind and rain without your vision being obscured.
Adjustment is simple enough using the elasticated adjusters located on either side of the main zip - beside your cheeks, at the base of the neck and back of the head. Which allows the hood to be cinched down to your satisfaction, nice and snugly. Even when a helmet isn't being worn.
Pleasingly the Theta SVX is less minimalist on the feature count when compared to the more climbing specific Alpha SV. With its six pockets: 2 - backpack or climbing harness compatible hand pockets; 1 - Napoleon chest pocket; 1 - upper sleeve pocket; 1 - internal mesh pocket; 1 - internal zipped pocket. Some of which are of reasonable size, though the hand, internal zipped and upper sleeve pockets would be more useful if they were a little bit larger. Particularly for when Winter gloves or mitts are being worn.
Large two-way pit-zips allow for great ventilation control. And the glove-friendly over-sized zipper-pulls/tabs are a boon, especially when the Mercury plummets.
Its longer thigh-length body with drop-back hem adequately protects your rear while also preventing the jacket from riding-up too much when reaching or stretching.
Adjustments to the hem and waist are simple enough using the robust elasticated cinch-cords. Helping further to keep the elements at bay and mean you feel fairly cosy inside.
Gore-Tex Pro has a justified reputation for breathability and moisture wicking capabilities. During medium to high output activity in damp conditions - with pit-zips partially open, it can take some time before i start to feel a bit clammy and warm from the build-up of moisture inside the jacket. Though i must admit that i have experienced slightly better breathability and moisture wicking capabilities with non Gore-Tex shells in the past.
I once owned a TNF Summit Series Mountain Guide Gore-Tex jacket and still have the Mountain Equipment Kongur MRT Gore-Tex Pro hard shell. As far as the Theta SVX's windproofing goes, i've not experienced better. Even when facing 40mph plus gales. Despite the Theta SVX's face fabric being (in a number of places)lighter and marginally thinner than both the TNF SS Mountain Guide and the ME Kongur MRT's.
Most manufacturer's hard-shells have decent arrangements for cuff, hem and hood adjustment, ventilation control etc. among other features these days. But in Arc'teryx's neat and effective solutions, through regular usage, it's plain to see the thought that goes into their design and the care taken during their construction.
Short of a two-way main zip (for access to pant, bib or mid-layer pockets without having to unzip the jacket completely and to provide an additional option for ventilation) and perhaps the occasional forming of condensation inside the Napoleon chest and upper-sleeve pockets during heavy and prolonged downpours, i really can't find much to fault this jacket.
In fact. I was so impressed I bought two! One in Carbon and another in Poseidon (Blue).
Sadly, recently discontinued.