Tag Archives: Arc’teryx clothing reviews

The Best Ultralight Hiking and Backpacking Jackets of 2018

November 7, 2018  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra Pull-on.

Testing the Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra Pull-on hiking rim to rim in the Grand Canyon.

By Michael Lanza

You’re out on an all-day hike in the mountains, or a long climb or trail run, or backpacking. The weather forecast looked pretty good before you set out—but no one shared that memo with the wind that just started hammering your summit ridge, or the spitting rain and hail now pelting you as you contemplate the sudden drop in temperature and the miles between you and shelter. The question now is: What’s in your pack?

If you’re smart, it’s an ultralight jacket that takes up little space, but is about to gift you with just the right amount of weather protection when you need it. Here’s how to choose the best ultralight shell for your needs, followed by my freshly updated picks for the best models on the market today, based on real-life field testing and my 25 years of experience reviewing outdoor gear and apparel. Continue reading →

The 5 Best Rain Jackets for Hiking and Backpacking

March 27, 2018  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Patagonia Pluma Jacket.

Wearing the Patagonia Pluma Jacket on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

By Michael Lanza

Shop for a rain jacket for dayhiking, backpacking, or climbing in the backcountry and you’ll see shells for adults ranging from under $100 to over $600, and from less than half a pound to over a pound—with just as huge and confusing a range of opinions on them from reviewers and consumers. I’m going to make the choice easy for you.

I’ve tested dozens of rain shells while hiking through soaking rains all over the world over the past two decades, writing reviews for this blog and previously for Backpacker magazine; I’ve learned how to distinguish the mediocre from the excellent. Here are my picks for the five best rain jackets for backcountry adventures that you can buy today. Continue reading →

Review: 6 Super Versatile Layering Pieces

October 17, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

 

Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody

Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody

By Michael Lanza

Whether climbing peaks, taking an ultra-dayhike or trail run, Nordic or backcountry skiing, or backpacking, the more time I spend in the backcountry, the more I value and wear lightweight jackets and vests that pull double duty as middle and outer layers. Unlike with heavier, warmer, and less-breathable jackets, you can often wear this type of garment while on the move—while your body is producing heat, but you still need some warmth. That makes you more comfortable and, ultimately, safer in widely ranging mountain weather. Plus, you get more bang for your buck from versatile layers like these because you use them more.

Here are six of the very best. Continue reading →

Review: Arc’teryx Atom SL Hoody

March 31, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Arc’teryx Atom SL Hoody

Arc’teryx Atom SL Hoody

Ultralight Jacket
Arc’teryx Atom SL Hoody
$229, 9 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL
moosejaw.com

Here’s a testament to the versatility of this partly insulated, lightweight wind shell: I’ve probably worn it more than any other layering piece I own over the past several months, for virtually everything I do outdoors, in every season: backpacking in August in Kootenay National Park, in the Canadian Rockies, and in October in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains; scrambling a 10,000-foot peak in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains and hiking to the very windy summit of 10,243-foot Mount Washburn in Yellowstone National Park in September; and numerous times in late winter, skate-skiing for an hour or two in temps from the high 20s to the 30s. Simple and yet uniqueunique—essentially an ultralight wind shell with some strategically placed insulation—it’s one of the smartest pieces of outerwear I’ve seen. Continue reading →

Review: Arc’teryx Zeta LT Rain Jacket

October 23, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments
Arc’teryx Zeta LT Jacket

Arc’teryx Zeta LT Jacket

Rain Jacket
Arc’teryx Zeta LT Jacket
$425, 12 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
moosejaw.com

Pulling the trigger on buying a high-end piece of outdoor apparel like a rain jacket can be a tough decision, but it really comes down to a very basic question: Why do you need it? Beyond personal issues regarding budget and priorities, and certainly comparing similar products based on performance and price, consider whether you will use the jacket in ways that take advantage of those aspects of the jacket that justify its price. The Zeta LT seemed like a good example to use to demonstrate how to evaluate those questions, so I took it out hiking and backpacking in wet weather from Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains to Yoho National Park in the Canadian Rockies, to contemplate the value of a rain shell. And it more than demonstrated its value. Continue reading →