Best Arc’teryx Jackets
Would you believe it if I told you that Arc’teryx has its production line down to such a science that they know exactly how many people touch each garment before it’s deemed worthy of being sold? It’s true. The Alpha SV jacket, for example, takes 259 to create and is passes through the hands of 67 people.
What makes Arc’teryx jackets so special is the fact that the garments, and gear, are designed and tested by people with a love for the outdoors, just like you. Located minutes away from the North Shore mountains in Canada, Arc’teryx knows a thing or two about winter sports and weather. Their goal is to make you feel comfortable and confident in their clothing so let's dive in this guide and see who made the list of top ten.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research
Water and windproof
Good for layering
Top 10 Picks
Water and windproof
Good for layering
Hood falls off easily
The Men’s Rush Jacket is designed for the mountains. This lightweight shell will keep the wind and cold out and provides ample room to layer on the really cold days. It is a great choice for skiing or snowboarding. It comes with all the features necessary to stay comfortable on the slopes and will keep you looking good in the process.Read more
This jacket is made for snow sports. It is perfect for skiing on or off the resort slopes and can also be a great choice for winter hiking.
The Gore-Tex Pro material that this jacket is made of keeps you warm by keeping the wind and snow out. However, it is an uninsulated shell, so plan on using it with layers on very cold days. Ventilation zippers can also be found under the arms for when you get hot ascending a mountain in skins or warm spring days on the slopes.
This jacket is made of two different materials, differentiated by the differing colors. The harder material located on the shoulders, upper arms, back, and chest, all areas that need to withstand more wear and tear. The lighter fabric is found on the lower arms and torso and allows for greater movement and breathability. Together these materials work to optimize comfort and minimize damage to the fabric. The jacket features Gore-Tex, a DWR finish, and watertight zippers. This jacket will keep you dry in many different scenarios.
This jacket features a slim, athletic fit. Overall it runs true to size. A large hood can easily fit your helmet beneath it but has no way of being cinched down or can fall off when there is no helmet. This jacket also features a snow skirt that can be attached to your snow pants to keep the snow out on powder days.
2. Atom LT
Lightweight and breathable
Works as a top or mid-layer
The Men’s Atom LT Hoody is a versatile jacket with a slim fit. It is lightweight while remaining warm and therefore works well in a variety of situations. Its slim fit means it looks good as an everyday jacket and also works well as a base layer.Read more
This Arc'teryx Jacket works great for everyday wear in the city, or as a lightweight and breathable option for hiking or skiing. On warm days, it can be worn as a top layer, and when it gets colder, it is thin enough to fit under an outer shell.
The synthetic insulation in this jacket makes it a great choice if you are looking for something breathable while providing warmth. However, this jacket cannot stand alone on the coldest days and should be layered under something else when the temperatures become frigid.
This jacket is made of water-resistant material. This means that it won’t stay dry in a downpour, but will repel light rain. The synthetic insulation that it is lined with will keep you warm even once the jacket has become wet.
This jacket is slim fitting, so if you are looking for extra space for layers make sure to size up. The high collar will keep your neck warm on cold days, and the large hood can fit a helmet underneath. The hood has no way of synching, so without a helmet it can be bulky and has been known to fall off.
3. Covert Hoody
Many color choices available
The hood is awkward fitting for casual use
The Covert Hoody is a bit more casual than some of the other options on our list. It is made from polyester fleece and has great insulation and breathability. The fit is flattering and it is a versatile piece that can be layered or worn on its own.Read more
For cold days on or off the mountains, the Covert Hoody is a great jacket. The polyester is exceptionally breathable and quick-drying. It is relatively lightweight, weighing in around one pound, and makes a great single, mid, or top layer.
This jacket is made to keep you warm. It is made from Alpenex Heathered Polyester Fleece. It is loose enough to add layers underneath for extra warmth and tight enough to be worn under a hardshell. To make sure that no cool breeze sneaks in, the hood hugs your face and the sleeves feature stretch-knit cuffs.
While the primary function of this jacket is warmth, the polyester material is quick-drying and water-resistant. If you get stuck in light rain or snow, the water shouldn’t seep through. However, in the case of a more intense storm, you should run for cover.
The trim fit of the Covert Hoody seems to be flattering on many body types. The back of the jacket is long enough to keep out cold breezes and the front of the jacket comes to your hips. There are three pockets, two laminated hand pockets, and one sleeve pocket. The sleeve pocket is great for cash, cards, or a list pass. Enabling you to show off a bit of your personal style, this jacket is available in thirteen different colors.
4. Zeta LT
A frontal hood drawcord would provide a better fit
No pit zips
The minimalist design and weight of the women's Zeta LT make a great waterproof jacket for any adventure. It is easily packed down and weighs only about 10.6-ounces. While it doesn't have any insulation built-in, the trim fit of the jacket leaves room for layering underneath.Read more
A better question would be what can you NOT use this jacket for? The Zeta LT (LT for lightweight) is a great accessory to bring with you if there’s a chance of rain. It’s a great addition to any hiking, trekking, or trip to the grocery store.
This is designed as a strong rain jacket and doesn’t provide much insulation. To aid in comfort and keeping air out (or in), there is a microsuede collar and velcro wrist cuffs. While the jacket itself doesn’t provide much warmth, the overall fit of the jacket leaves room for warm layers if you need them.
Humid jungle? Unexpected downpour? Light rain? You’re good to encounter any rainstorm with the Zeta LT. The Zeta LT is made from 3-layer Gore-Tex and features Gore C-Knit backer for ultimate comfort and breathability. The exterior zippers are watertight and the baseball cap style storm hood is easily adjusted with a single pull cord.
This jacket provides a trim fit with a 27.5-inch back length. This fit is slightly loose and leaves room for layers underneath. However, if you choose to wear just a camisole, the C-Knit material is very soft to touch. There is great flexibility through the elbows and underarms. There are two exterior waterproof pockets and one interior laminated zippered pocket. Overall, the jacket weighs about 10.6-ounces.
5. Gamma LT
Hood cinches to stay in place
The Women’s Gamma LT Hoody is a great softshell jacket for a variety of activities on chilly, sunny days. It also has a stylish look that can make it an attractive choice for everyday wear. If you are looking for a lightweight softshell jacket that breaths as you exercise, then this is the jacket for you.Read more
This is a fabulous jacket for activities like skiing, hiking, and just hanging out around town on a cold day.
This softshell jacket is not insulated, but does keep out wind and will do a great job at keeping you warm on chilly winter days. It is meant to be worn with other insulating layers on chilly days.
The material that this jacket is made of is water-resistant, meaning it will keep you dry in light rain or snow. However, it is not waterproof and will get soaked through in any truly inclement weather. The material is also very breathable and will release excess body heat, helping to regulate your body temperature when you get hot.
This jacket comes in a slim, flattering fit that is meant to contour a women’s body. The slim fit does mean that it should be bought in a size larger than you would normally purchase if you plan to wear it with layers. It has a high collar and large hood, which can either be fitted over a helmet or tightened with drawstrings so that it stays in place.
6. Thorium AR
Strategically placed synthetic insulation
Down insulation for warmth
Not waterproof nor resistant
The Men’s Thorium AR Hoody is the perfect jacket for cold days around town. Although it is not waterproof, it can also be a good choice for backcountry adventure if you pair it with a high-quality shell.Read more
This is an everyday jacket, designed to be worn around town. It can also work great for hiking and backpacking on cool, sunny days.
Down insulation in the body of this jacket means that is it extremely warm. The hood has synthetic insulation, which allows for more breathability. The synthetic insulation is most crucial by your head as this area of the body is especially important for temperature regulation.
This jacket does help to stop the wind but is not waterproof. In fact, it is advised to only wear it when you are certain it won’t get wet, as down insulation loses its ability to keep you warm after becoming wet. The strategic placement of synthetic insulation, which dries quickly and retains its warmth when wet, in the hood, along with the cuffs, and in the underarms, allows for more versatility and makes this jacket a great choice for a base layer under a shell.
Although this jacket is puffy, its fitted style still hugs the body and will make you look great. The hood and high collar make it more adaptable. Customers find that it runs true to size.
7. Beta AR
Water and windproof
Works well for a variety of activities
Hood cinches to stay in place
Sleeves run long
The Women’s Beta AR Jacket is a great jacket that is perfect for a large variety of activities. With fully-waterproof material, it is also appropriate to wear in all types of weather. It is versatile and breathable, and since it is a shell can be paired with different layers so that it stays comfortable at different temperatures.Read more
This jacket is a perfect choice for pretty much any activity in the mountains. From hiking and ice climbing to skiing and snowboarding, this jacket will keep you warm and dry no matter how far into the backcountry you wander.
This jacket features a hardshell and is therefore designed to be worn with multiple layers underneath.
The Gore-Tex material that this jacket is made of will repel the fiercest winds, heaviest rains, and keep you cozy in deep snow. It is still lightweight and breathable, so you won’t overheat even while working up a sweat.
With a slim fit style, sizing up is recommended if you plan to layer this jacket. One downside of sizing up though is that the sleeves tend to be too long, however, this is worth being able to easily fit all the layers you need. A high collar and large hood that can fit over a helmet, will keep your neck and head warm even on the coldest, windiest days. Draw strays in the hood allow you to tighten it so that it doesn’t come off when you are not wearing a helmet.
8. Cerium LT
Strategically placed synthetic insulation
Not water or windproof
The Women’s Cerium LT Hoody is a great down jacket that will keep you warm even on the coldest winter days. It does well as an outer layer or an underlayer and is a great choice for a variety of activities. With down insulation and a cozy fit, it will not only keep you warm but will make you look good as well.Read more
This jacket can be worn as your main jacket while hiking, camping, or just around town. It also works great as an extremely warm mid-layer for snow sports like skiing and snowboarding.
With down insulation filling most of this jacket, it traps heat and keeps you cozy warm even on extremely cold days. Synthetic insulation, which can stay warm even once it has become wet, is placed where moisture buildup is likely, making this jacket that much more effective at keeping the warmth in.
This jacket does repel some moisture, however, it is not water or windproof and should be worn under a shell in inclement weather. This is especially important due to its down fill, which will stop keeping you warm once it becomes wet.
With a tight fit, this jacket looks good despite being so puffy. A high collar and fitted hood make this jacket even cozier. It does run small, and so sizing up is recommended, especially if you wish to wear it with some bulky under layers.
9. Squamish Hoody
Great color choices
Stows away into the chest pocket
Lightweight and portable
Only one pocket
Breathability could be improved
The Squamish Hoody is a jacket that you'll always want to carry with you. It is lightweight and stows away into its own chest pocket. It is namely a windbreaker, but provides a bit of warmth when you need it and is finished with a DWR treatment that makes it water-resistant as well.Read more
The Squamish Hoody is a lightweight jacket that is the perfect addition for any gearhead. It stows away into its pocket and weighs only 5.5-ounces. It’s a great jacket to always have in your bag in case of unexpected winds or a rain shower. The reflective logo always helps you to be seen in low-light conditions.
There is no added insulation into this jacket. It functions more like a windbreaker and relief from a light rain shower. The fit is slightly fitted, but you could slide a long sleeve shirt underneath if you needed extra warmth.
The Squamish is made from ripstop nylon and finished with a DWR treatment. It is a dependable wind-shell that will additionally protect you from light rain and a subtle drop in temperature. The storm hood can be easily fitted with just one hand.
The athletic fit of this jacket fits a little bit closer to the body. If you prefer your jacket to be loose, you may want to go up a size. The elbows of the jacket are articulated, allowing for a full range of motion. Additionally, the hood, hem, and cuff adjustability allow for a customizable fit.
10. Alpha SV
Seriously durable material
Wind and waterproof
Plenty of pockets
Built for severe weather
WaterTight zippers are water resistant- not waterproof
Drawstring durability could be improved
The Alpha SV has been described by customers as “bombproof” and “indestructible.” While this isn’t an ideal jacket for everyday use, if you’re on a mission, you’ll want to have this with you. It is abrasion-resistant, waterproof, and windproof.Read more
Built for the toughest of terrains, the Alpha SV is a jacket that is seen as a necessity to many. The SV in the name stands for Severe Weather. This bad boy can stand up to wind, rain, and abrasions with ease. It is an excellent option for alpine, mountaineering, or an adventurous multiday hiking trip.
Depending on the intended use, the fact that there is no built-in insulation may be great or bad in your eyes. However, the fit of the jacket leaves plenty of room for warm layers underneath. If you do get hot while wearing the Alpha, there are pit zips to give you some room to breathe. If you want to keep your body heat it, you can tighten the adjustable velcro wrist cuffs and the drawcord hem.
The Alpha SV is made from 3-layer N100p-X Gore-TexPro waterproof breathable laminate (or in layman’s terms, 100-denier nylon). That mouthful holds up to its name. This jacket is abrasion resistant, windproof, and waterproof. To further enhance the waterproofness, the seams are taped, and the jacket is finished with a Nu water repellant treatment. The storm hood is helmet-compatible and easily adjusted.
This jacket has a regular fit. The elbows and arms are articulated fit for full mobility. If you were ever escaping from the house during an apocalypse, you would want to grab this jacket. It has a ton of pockets to bring along your essentials. There are two WaterTight external zippers, one WaterTight left bicep pocket, two internal laminated pockets, and one internal dump pocket. As a whole, this jacket weighs less than you might expect, at only 16.8-ounces.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The first thing you should think about before purchasing a new jacket, whether this jacket is Arc’teryx or another brand, is how you wish to use it. There are many different activities that one can engage in during the winter months, all of which have slightly different needs in terms of warmth, versatility, and protection from inclement weather.
If you are buying a jacket for ice climbing your needs will be very different from someone who is buying a jacket for winter time running. Spend some time carefully going over everything that you will want to use your jacket for, and you’ll increase your chances of finding one that works for everything that you want to do.
Some of the most specialized jackets on the market are those designed for skiing and snowboarding. These jackets have special features such as snow skirts that attach to snow pants and pit vents that allow for greater ventilation on hot days. If these type of snow sports will be the primary space where you use your jacket, look for one that is specifically designed to cater to the unique needs you have on the slopes.
A fully waterproof shell is also a good idea since this will keep you from getting wet on snowy days, and also allows you to get most of your warmth from layering, which is an advantage since temperatures can be extremely variable throughout the ski season.
If you are looking for an all-around mountain adventure jacket for activities such as hiking, camping, and climbing, definitely choose something that is thoroughly water and windproof. The weather in the mountains can shift quickly, so it is essential to be prepared with a jacket that will keep you warm and dry no matter what.
Hardshell jackets tend to be the right choice for these activities since they are made to be layered, which adds versatility. However, insulated jackets and softshells can also work well when paired with a raincoat or other fully waterproof layer.
Finally, you may be looking for a jacket for everyday wear during the winter. Puffy jackets and softshells are an excellent choice for this, as it is unlikely you will get very wet while moving around the town. Jackets with down insulation do not regulate your temperature as well as ones with synthetic insulation. However, this is not a problem when your primary concern is staying warm.
Furthermore, many Arc'teryx Jackets are great for both adventuring and everyday wear, so it is possible that you can buy a jacket that will work for all the activities you plan to do this winter (for example check our guide on the best 3-in-1 jackets). The most important thing you can do to achieve that goal is to think carefully about what those needs are and do your research.
Depending on how you use your jacket, you may want it to be cooler or warmer. If you are looking for a hardshell or softshell jacket to layer with other clothes, you will want something that doesn’t provide very much of its heat.
However, it is also possible that you want your jacket to be the primary source of insulation in your outfit. If that is the case, you then need to decide if down or synthetic insulation is right for you.
Insulation is not the only way that a jacket works to keep you warm -how water and windproof a coat is also has a considerable effect on your body temperature and comfort level. If you are looking for something that you can wear in inclement weather, make sure it is fully waterproof jacket. A cozy down jacket that lets moisture in might make you colder on days like this.
Hardshells tend to be the best choice for fully waterproof jackets. It is also possible that you are buying a coat for activities that will cause you to sweat even in the cold. If this is the case, you want a jacket that will breathe well, and release your excess body heat.
Softshells and synthetically insulated jackets are probably the best choices if these are your needs. Think about where you live and how you will be using your jacket before buying it so that you can tailor your purchase to the needs presented by the weather you encounter and the activities you engage in.
Arc'Teryx offers jackets for every occasion. From trail running to skiing jackets to everyday wear, there is something for everyone. However, depending on the occasion, it is important to take note of the weather resistance of your jacket. If you will be in the vicinity of rain, sleet, or snow, a jacket that features Gore-Tex material is a must.
Gore-Tex is a synthetic fabric that is waterproof and creates a strong impermeable barrier between you and the outside air and vapors. This material prides itself in being breathable, windproof, and 100% waterproof. A new version of this material has recently hit the market and it is called Gore-Tex Infinium. This is very similar to the original material but features more flexibility, making it a better choice for activewear.
Most Arc'teryx jackets are offered in a nice variety of colors. You will be able to reflect your style while staying warm and practical. Arc’teryx jackets are known for having a slim, athletic cut. This styling makes them look great, but also means they tend to be tight. They are ideal for the outdoors and outfitted with useful pockets and zippers.
Arc'teryx does everything for a reason, but you may want to keep the athletic fit in mind when buying a jacket. If you plan to layer your jacket know that it is probably a good idea to buy a size larger than you usually would.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Knowing how to wash your jacket is essential. However, each coat comes with its own set of guidelines. With most Arc'Teryx jackets, whether they are waterproof or a down jacket, it is best only to wash it when necessary. These jackets have a delicate filling and a waterproof finish that may need to be restored after a certain amount of washes and use.
Knowing the abbreviations that Arc'Teryx uses can help you make your decision faster and with less research. These abbreviations are found the product name of each jacket.
MX=Mixed Weather; AR=All Round; LT=Lightweight; SV=Severe Weather; FL=Fast and Light; SL=Super Light
Other Factors to Consider
One of the most important aspects of a jacket is the pocket feature. If you are going to be using your jacket for strenuous activities where you don’t want to carry a bag, having pockets that can fit everything you need is very important.
Running is an example of an activity where pockets can make a huge difference. Skiing and snowboarding in resorts are also sports where pockets are crucial for carrying all of your belongings.
Jackets designed for snow sports can also have special pockets that allow easy access to things like your ski pass and headphones.
Besides holding your belonging, pockets are also incredibly helpful for keeping your hands warm in the winter. Some Arc’teryx jackets, especially those designed for everyday use, are known for having tiny pockets.
If you are buying your coat in an Arc’teryx store, it is easy to inspect the pockets to see if they are large enough. However, figuring out if the pockets on a jacket will fit your needs can be much more difficult online. Photos and customer reviews are the best ways to get this information.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What’s the difference between a softshell and hardshell jacket?
Hardshell and softshell jackets are both designed to be worn with layers underneath. Neither of these types of jackets offers insulation, but rather are meant to provide protection from the elements. With a shell jacket, insulation and warmth are gathered from what one wears beneath. Still, hardshell and softshell jackets do not work the same and should be chosen for different activities and in different types of weather.
The primary differences between hardshell and softshell jackets are water resistance and breathability. Hardshell jackets are fully waterproof and should be worn at any time there is a chance that you will get caught in the rain. They are ideal for backpacking since they provide full protection from bad weather and are more lightweight than softshells. They can also be a good choice for snow sports on cold days and in heavy snow. However, a hardshell jacket will most likely be too hot for skiing on a sunny, warm day. The only exception to this is if the jacket has pit ventilation.
Softshell jackets are water-resistant and windproof but not waterproof. This means they can work in light snow but will let moisture in during heavy snowfall or rain. However, softshells are infinitely more breathable than hard shells and therefore tend to be a better choice for winter activities that cause you to work up a sweat. Skiing and snowboarding, day hikes, running, and biking is all examples of sports where a softshell will serve you better than a hardshell.
q: What’s the difference between synthetic and down insulation?
There are two types of insulation that a jacket might use: synthetic and down. Synthetic insulation is made from polyester fibers, while down is the fluffy stuff the is found beneath the outer feathers of ducks and geese. Both types of insulation have their advantages and disadvantages which should be measured before you choose to buy an insulated jacket made with either of these materials.
Synthetic jackets are more breathable and less expensive than down. They are also able to retain their warmth after becoming wet and dry much more quickly than down. However, down jackets are warmer, making them the optimal choice for coziness is your primary concern. Down also compresses more easily than synthetic insulation, and is lighter weight, making down jackets a more desirable choice for backpacking. But if you are interested more about this click here.
q: How can I layer properly for the cold?
For staying warm on a chilly day, nothing can beat functional layers. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, that will remove excess sweat from the skin, keeping you warm and dry. Next should be an insulating layer. For super chilly days when you want to keep at much heat in as you can, down insulation is a great choice.
However, on warmer days, synthetic insulation will allow for better temperature regulation. Depending on the temperature and weather, this may be enough to keep you warm, but if it is icy out an outer shell jacket is an essential addition to your layers. A hardshell is the right choice if the weather is terrible, but on frigid yet sunny days, a softshell will keep the wind out while letting your layers breath.
q: What is the difference between a parka and a jacket?
Typically, parkas are longer than jackets. Parkas are usually warmer than a typical jacket, because of their length, which keeps your lower body covered and insulated from the cold. While Arc’teryx does offer parkas, there are none on this list; however, they are a great option if you need something that covers your lower half. In general, parkas come just below your waist or below.
q: What is the number one thing I should look for in a winter coat?
When you are looking for a winter coat, make sure that you prioritize one thing. And that one thing is warmth. It doesn’t matter what the trends are, or how good a jacket looks on you, if it doesn’t keep you warm, it’s not doing its job.
Not to mention, when it’s minus 30, and you are wearing a coat that barely feels like it’s there, because it doesn’t sufficiently block out the winds, cold, and icy temperatures won’t do you any favors. If you have the choice between a fashionable or highly warm coat, go for warmth — every time.