exc purpose built breathable softshell
Owned jacket for 3 months now, so not a long time but it's seen a wide range of uses. This is a very conditions specific jacket that is the best I've ever used in cold to cool, highly aerobic sports/conditions. It is not great as a casual softshell, and potential buyers should be clear about this. I own half a dozen softshells, and this is not what I grab to walk around town in cold, windy conditions. It simply breathes too well. It's very comfortable, but if you're used to windstopper membranes in other softshells, this feels drafty in comparison. This is not a fault of the jacket, but simply not the primary focus of Polartec PowerShield. When I'm running, night biking, or climbing in cold weather, this jacket is spot on - feels like it was designed exactly for what I'm doing. I've struggled with core temp and sweat management with night mountain biking for a long time. Jackets that would keep me warm would often not breathe, and more breathable jackets would leave me feeling cold. This strikes a perfect balance as sweat management and brethability are outstanding, while leaving core temp right where it needs to be. I've used it at 28F with light wind, trail riding at about 10-15mph and it worked perfectly with a long sleeve breathable baselayer and a short sleeve jersey below it. It blocks a good amount of wind, but definitely not all. The Schoeller outer surface is great and highly abrasion resistant. I've downed my bike into trees and bushes on night rides and it doesn't even scuff this jacket. My first time wearing it I got jabbed with a branch and thought I had torn the brand new jacket but it was fine! very impressive. The DWR from the factory is like teflon. The jacket is very flexible in all directions, allowing for better range of motion than pretty much every softshell I have tried. Sleeve length is long, but the proper length for climbing which is great. I am about 6' 160lbs and the medium fit me perfectly. Like others said, athletic cut.. more space in the chest, tailored in toward the waist. The jacket handles a pack well, pockets are still accessible and the chest pockets are quite useful for things like maps. Neat feature with the chest pocket zippers... they're mounted on the outer lip of the material, under side facing toward your body. Seems odd at first but it's an extra level of protection from wind and precip from getting through your zippers.
Overall, if you're highly active in cool to cold weather this jacket is a knock out of the park... between the build quality and sheer functionality, this thing is as good as it gets.
For me usable conditions are: casual 35F and up with light to no wind. Aerobic 25F+ with up to say 15mph winds.
If you're looking for the Arc'Teryx name but something more useful in higher winds or in less aerobic uses, check out the Venta line... they are great jackets, similar cut and build quality. Or something like Mountain Hardwear Alchemy or Marmot Sharp Point if you're in colder conditions (sub 35F with wind)(I own both, they're top notch as well but don't breath as nicely).
Perfect Jacket for high output activites
This is a fantastic jacket that fits a variety of roles in the outdoor gear quiver. This jacket is designed to be a primary outer layer for high output activities in dry conditions. It breathes extremely well and if you layer well you will be plenty warm in cold weather. I recently wore it with nothing but a thin wool liner while backcountry skiing. The temp was 10 degrees F with moderate winds. The jacket blocked enough of the wind while ventilating my perspiration to keep me comfortable on the ascent. When I came back to the resort and hopped on the lift i threw on a down vest for the lift and I was warm enough on the ride up without overheating on the ski down.
Because the jacket is so breathable, it is not going to stand up to heavy winds or heavy precipitation so if you expect to encounter those conditions, you will need to pair it with a shell.
The cut of the jacket is something I haven't been able to find anywhere else. I am 6' 3" 155 with long arms and broad shoulders. The large fits like it was made for me with just enough room for a few layers underneath without being so large as to allow drafts of wind in. The wrists fit close so it is easy to keep snow or drafts out. You have two chest pockets and two waist pockets that are all fairly large and easy to access. Great for stashing maps or snacks so you don't have to dig them out of your pack.
Bottom line, if you are thinking about buying this jacket, do it, you won't be disappointed.
Best Jacket I have ever owned
I purchased this jacket online, hoping it would fit right. I'd just tried the similar North Face, but it had a bad fit on the biceps.
First, I'm 6'2" and this jacket is perfectly sized for me. Good length overall, and the sleeves are long enough, which is rare for me (I'm typically a 34/35 in a dress shirt).
This jacket has a great fit for an athletic build. Roomy in the chest, and snug around the waist (44/33 respectively). The arms have a great range of motion and the look is great. I've worn this jacket exclusively this fall and winter. I have received numerous compliments on it.
Note: I got this jacket in black, and it does NOT match the photo in black. Mine is solid black with a gray taping on the left breast pocket, similar to what is represented for the blue version.
I've found this jacket doesn't make me sweat in cool weather (50F) and is acceptable in sub-freezing, providing I'm moving around (light hiking or city trekking). If I stand still too long I don't generate enough heat and get a chill. As the temp gets much below freezing this jacket is not sufficient, but it is extremely light weight. I would never have believed a jacket that was comfortable in the low sixties would be even remotely passable below 30, but it is.
The pockets are well laid out, you can keep some items in the hand-warmer pockets without looking too bulgy, and the breast pockets are well sized.
All in all, I'm sold on ArcTeryx. This was an expensive jacket in my opinion, but worth every single penny.
I bought this to replace my 2nd Gamma MX since I got a screaming deal. I am sold on the concept of this jacket and use it as a light shoulder season jacket on it's own and a layering or high exertion piece in the winter. I rarely use sweaters, fleeces anymore since buying the MX. Between a short sleeve or long sleeve base layer, the MX, and a shell in various combinations I'm set for 85%+ of the conditions in CO. I swap out the MX for an insulating layer only when it really gets really cold.
That said - I don't like the new Fortius material nearly as much as the old. The face isn't as slippery (read harder to use for layering) and it feels warmer, but not in a good way. Where it used to be a perfect for 35-60F depending on level of activity, it now feels too warm at the higher half even as a casual piece.
I also don't like that they relaxed the fit of the XL. Now too roomy in the arms and gut even for a big guy. It is much less athletic. I'm a big fan of Arc for not assuming that all XL guys are fat arses like NF does, but they headed in that direction in this version of the Gamma MX.
Long and short is that I sent this back and will ride out my current MX until it is really threadbare.
This jacket is phenomenal. I bought it little over a year ago when on sale. Since then I've used it for just about any activity from skiing to climbing. One thing I love is how durable it is. I was in a cave a little over a foot white and was sliding through it wearing this jacket. I thought it would surely show signs of the scraping in the cave but nope, it withstood all the abrasion with no problem. Another thing I love is just how versatile it is, it can be worn as a stand alone piece in moderately cool weather, it can be a layering piece, and it also has enough room for more layers underneath. When spring skiing i wear this and another layer underneath and am completely warm. It is advertised as water resistant which it is, but it really takes alot for it to give, and it is also fully windproof.
Pros: Versatile, Comfortable, Great weatherproofing, light/packable, stylish, decently warm.
Cons: Requires more layering for colder weather, price
Overall this jacket is great, it is a great piece for just about anyone wanting a daily use jacket that can still hand up to just about anything thrown at it. Must buy!
Okay, I've got to be honest, I wasn't crazy at first about this jacket because I bought it during the winter looking for a casual jacket that could be used hiking/backpacking. It has a light fleece backing and let's in some wind so as a casual winter jacket you still need to layer with other stuff. This all changed once I started exercising in it. I started running and then did a number of day hikes and have to say I was very impressed. The jacket really shines when you are doing heavy physical exersion. Before I'd have to constantly take off and put on layers to regulate body temperature, however the Gamma MX practically eliminates this need in colder weather. If you stop moving for awhile you'll eventually need to put on a puffy. Other things worth mentioning is that it has great storage. Pockets are very smooth and will hold keys, lip balm, phone, etc very well. There's no interior pocket but that's a minor detail. As a casual jacket it's much better suited for temps above 50 degrees, but looks great no matter what the temps. Great product!
Arcteryx Gamma MX
Got this to replace a thick wool sweater back packing, the gamma mx is much lighter, packs better and also dries quicker than a wool sweater. The drying quicker was important above tree line where the wool sweater if wet became much heavier that was noticable in pack weight. Have the hood less version to be able to wear comfortably under the Arcteryx Theta AR jacket. Only downside is a shirt with snug fitting arms is necessary so have also picked up Arcteryx long sleeve comp shirts that work great. Am sold on the quality of Arcteryx and have started using a complete clothing system so everything work well in unison.
And as the above poster said this jacket is great for biking on cooler days. One thing forgot to mention are the pockets, they are a generous size great for carry anything from a set of winter gloves to a head light.
White mountains in NH are probably my greatest weather extreme back packing and the Arcteryx products have been a definate improvement in my core temperature control when used as a complete system.
Best Soft Shell Jacket EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Gamma MX is one superlative piece of gear. It breathes extremely well and also keeps you warm in cold conditions.
I like the way the jacket is designed. It has 5 pockets, they are all big enough for any thing you need while hiking. My camera and wallet fit in perfectly! The Gamma MX has a cool color to it. I got the blue one and it looks different than any blue I have ever seen or owned. Its cool! The fabric is made evenly all around the jacket, and is insulated evenly.
The MX is a great Fall, Winter, and Spring jacket. It can be used as an outerlayer in warmer conditions, and works well as a breathable mid-layer! It is a Highly versatile, weather resistant and breathable softshell jacket designed for maximum mobility.
A little pricey, but I have had it for more than one year and am completely satisfied with its performance. It is very durable and shows no wear and tear.
Bottom Line is get this jacket if you like staying active in colder conditions!
Doesn't get any better
This is, in my opinion, the best all purpose jacket on the market. The material is top drawer and the jacket is useful in a wide range of climates and activities - from chilly to warm. It blocks wind well, and will resist (but not repel) water - the jacket will eventually get damp and clammy in a downpour, but it can handle anything short of that with ease.
What is really impressive about this jacket is its versatility - not only will it handle a range of climatic conditions, it can definitely handle backpacking, rock climbing, either as an outer layer in most conditions, or as a layer if it gets cold or rainy. It also looks great -- it can be worn in casual social environments as well as on the trail.
The jacket is expensive, but you can basically give away all others with the exception of a rain shell - it is that good.
Bottom line - best jacket you can buy.
The Best Jacket for Athletic Tall Men
I have bought three of these jackets, and I'm about to buy a fourth. I'm tall and slim: 6' 5", 165 pounds; and this is the best fitting jacket I've ever found. The sleeves are unusually long which is great for me.
I have completely worn out one of these (the cuffs are frayed) by wearing it literally every day for about five years.
It is very comfortable, but not particularly warm. In cold weather I wear a layer of fleece underneath.
I use it for casual wear as well as hiking and traveling.