The Arc'teryx Therme was the favorite of our testers, winning our Editors' Choice award in 2014 for best winter jacket. The combination of warmth, weather resistance, and useful features in a beautiful package all played a part in making this coat stand out above the competition. While not the warmest it is a true jack of all trades, an ideal coat that does everything almost perfectly without any major flaws.
Arc'teryx Therme Parka Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Durable, clean looking, warm, weather resistent
Cons: No insulation or fleece lining in pockets, limited color options
Our Analysis and Test Results
The New Version of the Arc'teryx Therme Parka vs. The Older Version
Arc'teryx has released a new version of the Therme Parka this fall, now called the Camosun Parka. Retailing for $675, this parka is nearly $20 cheaper than the Therme Parka and is available in three colors: Admiral, Biome, and Black. If you can find the Therme Parka on sale at major retailers and it is of interest to you, do purchase it, as it is a great investment and our Editors' Choice award winner.
According to Arc'teryx,
Check out the side-by-side comparison, in which you can see the Camosun Parka pictured on the left and the Therme Parka shown on the right. Do note that the photo of the Camosun Parka showns the parka sans hood, but a hood is included.
The Arc'teryx Therme is everything we were hoping to see in a winter jacket - waterproof, warm, comfortable, and sharp looking. The product weighs 2lbs 5.6oz and is built with a Gore-Tex 2L 75 Denier outer shell that has a soft and textured hand. Storm flaps over the zippers, a helmet compatible hood, and a thigh-length hem round out the weather resistant features of the jacket, but perhaps the best technology is hidden away underneath the shell fabric.
The full-length parka has down insulation in the torso all the way through the body, using 750 fill goose down in the core and sleeves while in spots prone to moisture like the hood, cuffs and underarms, it uses water resistant Coreloft synthetic insulation that will perform even when dampened by hard work. The outer shell fabric breathes well in high activity but locks in heat and warmth, allowing for proper heat circulation. The baffles are loaded with down yet the whole garment remains relatively lightweight and compact.
The sleeves are fully insulated and have stretchy gaskets around the wrists that prevent heat loss. The pockets are not insulated, however they are lined with the same fabric used on the outer shell, which feels smooth and textured rather than clammy.
While it is a warm jacket, it isn't the warmest in our test. The Canada Goose Expedition Parka is warmer, however it is not nearly as useful, as tight of a package, or as clean looking.
Often when using down products in inclement weather, the main concern is soaking the frail feathers. Clumped and wet down does little to insulate, and once a baffle is compromised, moisture can spread throughout a garment even under a waterproof shell. Arc'teryx has a brilliant solution to this common problem, and that is mapping synthetic and down insulation in areas of high or low moisture - i.e. the core needs to remain warm without bulk, and is covered in high quality goose down. The inside of the hood, a location often difficult to keep dry, is lined with synthetic Coreloft insulation, insulates even when wet.
The odds of the inside of the jacket getting wet are very slim, as the outer shell is a durable 2-Layer Gore-Tex. Arc'teryx is known for very durable, very small taped seams. This is awesome for a handful of reasons, reduced weight and bulk on the garment in addition to a softer feel when moving around inside of it. Taped seams can feel stiff in some products and make a coat feel like a cardboard box. In the Therme, the combination of high quality outer shell fabric and tiny seams give an impression that the coat is one solid piece of Nylon rather than a bunch of pieces stitched together.
Large snaps are used on the construction of the hood as well as on the bottom of the zipper. Some felt that the bottom snap was cumbersome or held too much tension, but we found that it was best to leave the bottom snap un-done unless in a storm or rain, which will allow for even greater mobility.
The hood has a slight brim which can keep some rain out. Although the cuffs can't cinch, the integrated stretchy liner that is sewn to the sleeve prevents any air or moisture from sneaking inside, a novel solution.
Of all the jackets we reviewed, this has the most comfortable shell fabric. Obviously we don't wear jackets inside out, however in a long day of use, bare skin is constantly sliding against the soft 75 denier shell. Traditional rain jackets have that swish-swish feeling of crinkly nylon, something that will not be found on this product. The sleeves move easily across the body without loud rustling, perfect for hunting, photography, or a movie theater.
Even with so much down insulation and shell fabric, this coat does not feel bulky on a ski lift or when hopping into the car for a quick moment, unlike the Canada Goose Expedition Parka or the Mountain Hardwear Chillwave. Expect to be able to move around without feeling like a bull in a China shop, as there are't excessive pockets sticking out to get in the way or a gaudy fur hood to tickle your face.
This is a classic Arc'teryx piece, in that the features are subdued and vital. This company has never been one for busy designs and flashy pockets, and that is revealed t in the exploration of the jacket: mapped insulation invisible to the naked eye, ergonomic stitching that moves with the body, a cinch cord for the hood stored away in the back and out of sight. There are some features that are fun and we may have liked to see, like insulated hand pockets and a removeable hood, however the clean presentation may look muddied with extra zippers or snaps lining the hood and collar.
Two large hand pockets, a chest pocket, and one Napoleon pocket are found on the coat. There is no stuff sack or stuff-able pocket included, but it is not designed to be stored stuffed-up. Light and comfy fleece lines the collar completing the package.
Style may be largely personal, but clean is universal - and this coat is CLEAN. The first noticeable feature is that an outer lining covers the insulating baffles, giving this jacket a smoother, cleaner looks. In stark contrast with, the Canada Goose Expedition, this product has only a handful of useful pockets that lay smooth against the fabric and hidden under storm flaps. The three colors it is available in are classic and neutral, appropriate at an opera or a at a campfire. On closer inspection, the woven fabric reflects color in a variety of hues and depths and reminds one of an old twill coat, yet with a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane and cutting edge combination of down and synthetic insulation.
Traditional winter wear might not look like this product, and we like that. Arc'teryx for years has redefined what technical garments should look and feel like, and this is yet another example of eliminating noise and bulk and focusing on the most important parts of the winter jacket - warmth, weather protection, comfort, and style.
Perhaps in the future Arc'teryx will create the coat in brighter, more fun colors, as many prefer to add some bright energy in their fashion. At this point we hope that olive, grey, and black will be sufficiently exciting.
We tested this product in a variety of terrain, from deserts to mountains to exposed rock and wet snow. Despite rubbing the shoulders with sharp ski edges and carelessly chucking it into the trunk of a car, there have been no signs of wear or tear. The seams are all durably stitched and taped and the outer shell is an incredible 75 denier, some of the heaviest yarns used in Nylon shells. Initially there was some worry that the bottom or top snaps may pull out, but even rigorous tearing at them showed no wear.
In our estimation, the weakest link may be the fabric cuffs, which got caught or stuck a few times, however again no signs of wear were noticed.
Be it skiing, walking the dog, or hanging out at a cafe after a hard day working the snow plow, this is an incredible winter jacket that performs in most situations that the months of November through March might present.
Arc'teryx products are a premium in the industry, and the technology comes with a hefty price tag. At $699 this jacket is an investment. We feel that this parka is warmer and more useful than the Patagonia Roy's Bay and The North Face Gotham, and more technical than the Canada Goose Expedition Parka. When viewed as a great down jacket and rain jacket in one, the sticker shock may feel somewhat reduced.
Everyday living in winter should be done in this coat, a high quality and sharp looking masterpiece with modern technology and design.
Other Versions and Accessories
Arc'Teryx Alpha FL
- Editors' Choice Award!
- Hardshell Jacket ideal for wetter conditions
- Lightweight with great fit
See the whole Best Hardshell Jacket review for more information.
— Greg Davis