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Gear Review: Arc’teryx Tecto FL Jacket

Arc'teryx Tecto FL

Arc’teryx Tecto FL

Lightweight Jacket
Arc’teryx Tecto FL Jacket
$369, 10 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
arcteryx.com

Rain shells in the “ultralight” category—which might be loosely defined as 10 ounces and under—tend to sacrifice some performance and durability. Not so the Tecto FL. I practically lived in this Spartan jacket on most of a four-day September trip in the Olympic Mountains, where we got slammed with strong wind, rain, hail, and wet snow, with temperatures in the 30s, for a solid two days, followed by a couple days of sunshine but chilly wind and temps in the 30s and 40s, during which I wore this jacket much of the time. We also bushwhacked for miles through pine boughs that would pour buckets of water over us in the Bailey Range. While my soft-shell pants and my waterproof leather boots eventually soaked through from that deluge, this jacket kept my upper body dry. I give it a 10 for waterproofness and durability, because it looks as new now as the day I got it.

Built with Gore-Tex Active, the Tecto FL—the lightest and most breathable Gore product in the Arc’teryx line—also fended off wind like a brick wall, and yet moved moisture well enough to keep the two long-sleeve jerseys underneath my jacket almost completely dry; only the jersey cuffs got damp, from water leaching in from my gloves. Admittedly, in those cool temps, I certainly wasn’t overheating, but I’d give it an 8 for breathability. The hood is fully technical and helmet-compatible—it protected my face through snow squalls and wind-driven rain. Fit is athletic: the medium (thankfully) isn’t voluminous in the waist like too many jackets, but I could still layer a light fleece or summer-weight puffy under it, though not a thick puffy jacket. While tough, the 30-denier fabric has a lighter, more supple feel than heavier Gore-Tex shells. The only other features are a single pocket (left sleeve), an adjustable hem, and narrow hook-and-loop cuffs. For this all-weather performance and durability at this weight, you sacrifice pit zips (I didn’t miss them, but you might in warm rain) and more pockets. For ounce-counters who expect to get wet, that’s a good tradeoff. Bonus: The jacket is made for standard washer-drier cleaning; Gore advises machine washing warm and tumble drying medium until completely dry to maintain the water-resistant coating.

See my reviews of other favorite backpacking apparel, including rain jackets like the 8-ounce MontBell Torrent Flier Jacket and the more-featured Westcomb Shift LT Hoody.

NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.

—Michael Lanza

About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.

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photo of Michael Lanza

Hi, I'm Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside and former Northwest Editor at Backpacker magazine. Click my photo to learn more about me and my blog. Sign up for my free email newsletter in the blue box above. Click on Subscribe Now! in the main menu (top right) to get full access to all of my stories on America's best backpacking, hiking, and outdoor adventures. And click on Ask Me in the main menu to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

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