Reviews You Can Rely On

Arc'teryx Macai Review

This top of the line ski jacket keeps you warm, dry, and comfortable, for a small fortune
gearlab tested logo
Arc'teryx Macai Review
Credit: Arc'teryx
Price:  $1,100 List
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Arcteryx
By Jeremy Benson ⋅   ⋅  Mar 6, 2022
82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 18
  • Warmth - 20% 10.0
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 9.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 9.0
  • Ventilation - 20% 6.0
  • Style - 10% 8.0
  • Features - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

Arc'teryx makes some of the best outerwear available, and the Arc'teryx Macai does not disappoint. It is a wonderful ski jacket that looks good and is built to last. This jacket combines the unparalleled warmth of down insulation with the protection of a Gore-Tex shell. It comes up short for features and ventilation, but that probably won't deter those on the hunt for an extremely warm, waterproof, and well-styled piece from a high-end manufacturer. See how it compares to the competition in our best men's ski jacket review.
REASONS TO BUY
Impeccable quality
Clean lines
Very warm
Excellent weather protection
REASONS TO AVOID
Super expensive
Too warm for some applications
Editor's Note: We updated this review for the Arc'teryx Macai on March 6, 2022, with additional information that analyzes value versus performance and suggests similar jackets that may better suit your needs and budget.

Compare to Similar Products

 
arc'teryx macai
This Product
Arc'teryx Macai
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $1,100 List
$879.93 at REI
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$319 List
$126.83 at REI
$199 List
$98.83 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
82
87
78
65
59
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Bottom Line This top-shelf manufacturer pulls no punches and creates a spectacular jacket in the processWe can't picture a better all-around jacket for skiingWith weather resistance, style, and ventilation, this is the total package for a ski shellThis shell nearly matches the performance of much more expensive productsThis jacket doesn't excel in any attribute, but it doesn't fall short either
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Macai Helly Hansen Alpha... Arc'teryx Sabre Jacket REI Co-op First Cha... REI Co-op Powderbou...
Warmth (20%)
10.0
8.0
5.0
4.0
6.0
Weather Resistance (20%)
9.0
8.0
10.0
8.0
7.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
9.0
10.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Ventilation (20%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
Style (10%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
Features (10%)
6.0
10.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
Specs Arc'teryx Macai Helly Hansen Alpha... Arc'teryx Sabre Jacket REI Co-op First Cha... REI Co-op Powderbou...
Main Fabric N40p-X Gore-Tex 2-layer stretch polyester N80p-X Gore-Tex Recycled polyester Nylon
Insulation Coreloft 100, Coreloft Compact, and 750 fill goose down LifaLoft synthetic Thin flannel backer None 60g polyester sleeves, 80g polyester body
Pockets 2 handwarmer, 1 sleeve, 1 chest, 1 internal mesh, 1 internal chest 2 handwarmer, 2 chest, 1 internal chest, 1 internal mesh, 1 sleeve 2 hand, 1 sleeve, 1 internal zip, 1 internal mesh 2 handwarmer, 2 chest flap, 2 chest zipper, 1 internal zipper, 1 intenal mesh, 1 sleeve 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 sleeve, 1 internal zippered chest, 1 internal mesh
Weight (size large) 2.64 lbs 2.56 lbs 1.56 lbs 1.73 lbs 1.81 lbs
Water Resistance 3L Gore-Tex Pro Shell Helly Tech Professional Gore-Tex Gore-Tex 2-layer waterproof breathable laminate
Hood Adjustable and removable Adjustable and removable Adjustable Adjustable Adjustable
Pit-Zips Mesh-backed Mesh-backed Yes Yes Yes
Cuff construction Velcro Interior stretchy wrist gaiters and external velcro cuffs Velcro Velcro Interior wide hook-and-loop adjustments and external velcro
Powder skirt Yes, removable Yes Yes Yes Yes
RECCO Yes Yes Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Product Update Note — October 2021
Arc'teryx now makes this jacket with bluesign approved materials, which is a certification that denotes that they sustainably produced the product.

This down jacket is very warm and weather resistant but somewhat lacking features. For those who need a warm jacket for the harshest winters and can afford the high price tag, the Macai is appropriate.

Performance Comparison


arc'teryx macai - early season pow in the macai.
Early season pow in the Macai.
Credit: tom causley

Warmth


The Macai is one of the warmest ski jackets we have ever tested. It is the only jacket in our review to use down insulation, which is packed into the areas of the body that need it the most, like the torso. In areas more susceptible to water or sweat, the jacket uses synthetic insulation, which maintains its warming capabilities when wet. The result is an extremely warm ski jacket fit for the coldest days of winter.

Such warmth may be needed by skiers who run cold or those who live and ski in the coldest areas of North America. If you ski in a warmer environment like Lake Tahoe, this jacket will be too warm for most days.

arc'teryx macai - lots of down and synthetic insulation make the macai one of the...
Lots of down and synthetic insulation make the Macai one of the warmest we have tested.
Credit: Tom Causley

Weather Resistance


The outer shell of the Macai is made with Gore-Tex Pro Shell, which we found to be waterproof to the extreme. It is thicker than other hardshell materials, which helps it cut through the wind. Arc'teryx has a great DWR coating, which keeps the water running off the jacket and prevents it from soaking the outer fabric. All seams are sealed, and all zippers are waterproof, which we expect from this manufacturer.

A powder skirt, a well-fitting hood that easily covers a helmeted head, and a high collar all help on cold and snowy days. Still, the Macai is vulnerable to liquid water because of the down insulation components, which lose their loft when wet. People who ski in wet climates know that water gets everywhere, and some water penetration is inevitable. That will only happen to the Macai in extremely wet scenarios.

arc'teryx macai - arc'teryx has their waterproof fabrics and dwr dialed. after several...
Arc'teryx has their waterproof fabrics and DWR dialed. After several minutes of dousing in the shower, the water still beads off the Macai like water off a duck's back.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Fit and Comfort


The Macai is sleek and well-fitting, but it isn't too tight either. It is more tailored than other options in the review, but there are still better-fitting jackets. The sleeves and hem are great lengths, and we didn't feel any restrictions through our range of motion tests. Fit and comfort go hand in hand, and the Macai's down insulation is very comfortable against the body. The inner fabric is soft and gentle as well. There is a soft fleece patch where the chin brushes against the shell.

arc'teryx macai - the cut of the macai is perfect... not too tight, not too loose, and...
The cut of the Macai is perfect... not too tight, not too loose, and very comfortable.
Credit: Heather Benson

Ventilation


Ventilation is not this jacket's strong suit, but in the frigid conditions it is built for, ventilation probably won't be your highest priority. That said, since the jacket is so warm, you might find yourself needing to dump some heat on occasion. Long armpit vents with mesh backing will get the job done when you do. We wish the vents didn't have any mesh, which inhibits airflow. During testing, we often had to unzip the main front zipper to get the ventilation we needed.

arc'teryx macai - the pit zips of the macai are mid length, and mesh-covered. they...
The pit zips of the Macai are mid length, and mesh-covered. They could be longer and mesh-free for more venting power.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Style


The style of this jacket is neutral yet classy and refined. We would expect nothing less at such a high price point. The Macai has clean lines, zippers that blend in with the fabric, and no fabric flaps that get in the way of a sleek look. This well-styled jacket is among the best looking that we have tested. The muted color options help you blend in with the crowd, but the Arc'teryx logo will help you stand out. We do wish that the Macai came in some brighter color options.

arc'teryx macai - the style of the macai is neutral, yet refined and classy. we like it.
The style of the Macai is neutral, yet refined and classy. We like it.
Credit: tom causley

Ski Features


The Macai has enough features to make a day on the slopes easy to deal with. Both the hood and the powder skirt are removable, adding versatility and customization to the design. It also features a sleeve pass pocket, a goggle wipe, and a RECCO reflector. One external chest pocket is hidden underneath the Arc'teryx logo, and we found that it was extremely difficult to access while wearing ski gloves. As a result, we didn't end up using it very often.

arc'teryx macai - the external chest pocket is hard to use with gloves on because of...
The external chest pocket is hard to use with gloves on because of the horizontal flap, zipper, and awkward button.
Credit: tom causley

Should You Buy the Macai?


The Arc'teryx Macai is one of the most expensive jackets we have ever reviewed. But the bomber construction, protective down insulation, and legendary Arc'teryx warranty all ensure this jacket a long lifetime. In terms of dollars per year, we think this jacket will cost just a little more than other less expensive jackets that won't last as long. That little extra cost per year also gets you an extremely warm, weather resistant, and comfortable jacket. If you can make the investment, we think it will pay off in the long run.

What Other Ski Jackets Should You Consider?


The Arc'teryx Macai is a tremendously warm, comfortable, and weather resistant jacket – if you ski in a cold climate this jacket is the warmest in our review. If instead you move fast in the skintrack or boot pack then a jacket with less insulation and more ventilation, like the hardshell Flylow Lab Coat is more appropriate. If you want the warmth, but appreciate a complete set of features, the award-winning Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft is a great choice.

arc'teryx macai - the macai is a warm and sleek jacket for all skiing conditions.
The Macai is a warm and sleek jacket for all skiing conditions.
Credit: tom causley

Jeremy Benson