If you’ve asked yourself that question – about any Arc’teryx products – you’re definitely not alone. While we have no problem paying up for quality gear, $750 for a jacket – even a hardshell – seems a little rough. Yet we just can’t seem to say that the Alpha SV is actually overpriced – if you’re planning on heading into the most grueling of conditions and looking for a bombproof jacket to handle them.

We first had a chance to test out the Alpha SV last winter in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, which are, surprisingly, some of the coldest and most extreme places in the US come wintertime, when subzero conditions and windchill are the norm. While we didn’t quite have to deal with that come on this particular trip, it was frigid and wet the whole time, with the unseasonably warm weather giving us a mixture of occasional rain and snow. And the Alpha SV performed admirably the whole time, keeping both – and the wind – out.

It accomplishes this by using a very robust 3-layer, Gore-Tex Pro fabric, and finishing it off with abrasion-resistant N100p-X face fabric; the seams are taped with 8mm Gore tape, which helps keep the weight down. In fact, keeping weight down while keeping protection high was one of the objectives of this jacket, and Arc’Teryx uses WaterTight zippers and RS sliders tp get rid of zipper garages, as well as Cohaesive hem adjusters to cut down on the weight of the previous Harness Hemlock. Thus, the jacket weighs only 16.8 oz.

And since this is Arc’teryx, the design and shape of the jacket emanates athleticism and functionality; the cut is slim and tailored for climbing, the WateTight underarm zippers provide ventilation and the two chest pockets and left bicep pocket are perfectly placed for storage – WaterTight zippers included. All in all, this is an extremely functional jacket that can handle whatever conditions you decide to throw at it, and – if you can afford it – we fully believe it will last you years to come. In fact, Arc’teryx backs up their reputation with a lifetime guarantee. But it, and you’ll be set for life. But first, look around on Amazon for the best price.



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