Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket - Women's Review
Compare to Similar Products
Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket - Women's
|Price||$799 List||$649 List||$600 List|
$600.00 at REI
Check Price at REI
$399.00 at Backcountry
|Pros||Durable, very weatherproof, light for level of protection||Lightweight, breathable, fully featured, durable||Great range of motion, lightweight, great weather protection, versatile||Comfortable, durable, breathable, simple||Durable, comfortable, versatile|
|Cons||Expensive, stiffer fabric||Not the lightest on the market||Shorter torso length, some features overdone||Fewer overall features, less versatile||Shorter back length limits use in extreme weather|
|Bottom Line||One of the best severe weather shells we've tested, with little penalty to weight||An incredibly versatile model that is competent for a wide range of adventures||An excellent all-around shell jacket for most mountain uses||This is a remarkably weatherproof stretchy hardshell that feels more like a softshell||This a versatile, durable hardshell offers a lot for a reasonable price|
|Rating Categories||Arc'teryx Alpha SV||Norrona Trollveggen...||Arc'teryx Beta AR||Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0||Patagonia Triolet -...|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Mobility and Fit (20%)|
|Venting and Breathability (20%)|
|Features and Design (10%)|
|Specs||Arc'teryx Alpha SV||Norrona Trollveggen...||Arc'teryx Beta AR||Rab Kinetic Alpine 2.0||Patagonia Triolet -...|
|Measured Weight||15.5 oz||13 oz||13.4 oz||12.5 oz||16.4 oz|
|Length of back, from base of neck to bottom||27 in||28 in||26 in||26 in||26 in|
|Material||N100d 3L Gore-Tex Pro||40D Gore-Tex Pro fabric||N40d 3L Gore-Tex (body)
N80d 3L Gore-Tex Pro (arms)
|3L recycled polyester knit face with PU membrane and recycled polyester backer/Proflex||3L 75D 100% recycled polyester Gore-Tex shell with a waterproof/breathable barrier and DWR finish|
|Pockets||2 crossover handwarmer, 1 internal chest, 1 internal drop-in, 1 left bicep pocket||2 chest, 1 interior chest||2 handwarmer, 1 internal chest||1 internal chest, 2 hand||2 external chest, 2 hand, 1 interior mesh bucket|
|Helmet Compatible Hood||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Harness and Hip Belt Compatible||Yes, high pockets||Yes, high pockets||Yes, high pockets||Yes, high pockets||Yes, high pockets|
|Drawcords||4 hood, 2 waist||1 hood, 2 waist||4 hood, 2 waist||3 hood, 2 waist||3 hood, 2 waist|
|Adjustable Cuffs||Yes, Velcro||Yes, Velcro||Yes, Velcro||Yes, Velcro||Yes, Velcro|
|Two-Way Front Zipper||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Warranty Policy||Practical lifetime warranty - Material or workmanship defects will be replaced or repaired at Arc'teryx's discretion||5 year - production and material defects||Practical lifetime warranty - Material or workmanship defects will be replaced or repaired at Arc'teryx's discretion||Guarantee covers the original owner with proof of purchase, for the usable lifetime of the product||Ironclad Guarantee|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Arc'teryx Alpha SV is ready for the most severe (that's the "SV") mountain weather you can find. This jacket is top-notch for a burlier level of exposure, so it doesn't top the charts across all of our metrics — that extra burl comes at a slight cost to weight and mobility.
No question here, this jacket set the standard for weather protection in this review. Putting it on feels like you're sealing yourself into a bombproof bubble of warm and dry. The N100d 3L Gore-Tex Pro fabric is extremely burly, offering protection for extended use in severe alpine conditions. Wow. This jacket will keep pace with you on the most exciting ice, mixed, and high alpine routes.
Mobility and Fit
This is a much stiffer fabric than the rest of the jackets in this review—but it's also one of the strongest and most durable. And one would assume that this would come at great cost to mobility. However, Arc'teryx has found a way to lighten up a jacket and streamline the features to keep it simple. Mostly, however, they have seriously dialed in the articulation patterns of hardshell jackets, so even this stiffer material climbs as naturally as you do. Arc'teryx utilizes this similar design strategy to make the other impressive jackets in this review.
Venting and Breathability
Arc'teryx has kept busy, updating their gear in ways we could not have fathomed just a few years ago. They continue to set the bar quite high and lead the charge in technical climbing apparel. With this jacket, we were impressed by the breathability to weatherproof ratio. Serious storm protection demands a thicker material, which often makes a jacket feel warmer, but they've lightened this severe-weather jacket enough that we still enjoyed wearing it on cold ski tours and especially on cold, long ice climbs. Outstanding.
Additionally, the jacket has pit zips that allow you to dump heat in a hurry, so if you pick up the pace, you don't have to worry about sweating out your inner layers. Breathability is an important consideration for this jacket, but it is designed for severely cold climates.
This is a mid-weight jacket. For the amount of storm protection you get out of it, this is a truly mind-boggling feat. Nice work, Arc'teryx. This jacket is stunningly lightweight for what it offers.
Features and Design
Simple, streamlined, clean—everything we have come to expect from Arc'teryx. This jacket has Napoleon pockets high above your harness, which are essentially like a pair of chest pockets. These unzip from closer to your center line, and the pocket falls away toward your sides. This style of pocket is excellent for keeping navigation tools and small snacks very readily accessible. Awesome.
There is also an internal zippered chest pocket. All these chest pockets make our hearts swoon. This jacket also has some thoughtful details that help with ease of use: the adjustable hem has oversized buttons that allow you to adjust the waist tightness easily with gloves; the same story for two of the four adjustment points on the hood.
Pit zips ensure that you can maintain the right temperature and ventilation, and the hood brim and cinch keeps precipitation out of your face. Lightweight velcro cinches the cuffs, and the sleeves are just a little bit bigger to ensure ease of climbing when wearing more insulating layers underneath. The longer torso length provides a good fit under your harness and extra storm protection. We also liked the shoulder zipper pocket, which is great for those who ski or ride at stormy places with RFID lift tickets.
Should You Buy the Arc'teryx Alpha SV?
If you need an especially burly hardshell for extended alpine missions, this is one of the best and burliest. However, you'll pay for it; it's a serious financial investment, but if you take good care of it, we think it'll last for an impressively long time, through a whole lot of grand adventures.
What Other Hardshell Jackets Should You Consider?
For a complete feature set and one of our favorite all-around jackets we tested, check out the Norrona Trollveggen Light Pro. Another favorite is the Patagonia Triolet, a more affordable model great for snow sports. The Arc'teryx Beta AR is another high-quality Arc'teryx model that performs awesome for mountain activities like ice climbing.
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More