Reviews You Can Rely On

Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket - Women's Review

One of the best severe weather shells we've tested, with little penalty to weight
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Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket - Women's Review
Credit: Arc'teryx
Price:  $799 List
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Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 23, 2023
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 9
  • Weather Protection - 30% 10.0
  • Mobility and Fit - 20% 6.0
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 7.0
  • Weight - 20% 6.0
  • Features and Design - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

Arc'teryx is known for making top-notch hardshell jackets. The Alpha SV is one of those jackets. It is one of the best severe weather hardshells we've ever tested. It is also super expensive. That said, if this is an essential layer for you in your mountain adventures, and you plan to take good care of it, it will last through many adventures. It is a very durable and surprisingly comfortable shell jacket, and Arc'teryx makes the stiff fabric feel more flexible through an intelligent panel and articulation features.
REASONS TO BUY
Durable
Very weatherproof
Light for level of protection
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Stiffer fabric
Editor's Note: This article was updated on March 23, 2023, with additional jacket recommendations.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $799 List$600 List
$600.00 at REI
$550.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$310 List
$216.93 at REI
$450 List
$449.00 at Backcountry
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Bottom Line Exceptional for extreme mountain weather, as it’s durable and stormproofBurly and still lightweight, with thoughtful features that make it very versatileWith integrated four-way stretch, proprietary breathable fabric and generous underarm zips, this jacket is a dream for uphill movementThe soft feel for a hardshell jacket, delivering comfort and breathability in a comfortable, athletic layerThough not the most affordable hardshell we've tested, its value is high due to its durability and versatility
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Alpha SV Arc'teryx Beta AR J... Ortovox Ortler 3L -... Rab Kinetic Alpine... Patagonia Triolet -...
Weather Protection (30%)
10.0
9.0
6.5
6.0
8.0
Mobility and Fit (20%)
6.0
8.5
9.0
9.0
8.0
Venting and Breathability (20%)
7.0
7.0
8.5
9.0
8.0
Weight (20%)
6.0
6.9
7.2
7.3
5.6
Features and Design (10%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Specs Arc'teryx Alpha SV Arc'teryx Beta AR J... Ortovox Ortler 3L -... Rab Kinetic Alpine... Patagonia Triolet -...
Measured Weight 15.5 oz 13.4 oz 12.8 oz 12.5 oz 16.4 oz
Material N100d 3L Gore-Tex Pro N40d 3L Gore-Tex (body)
N80d 3L Gore-Tex Pro (arms)
100% polyamide outer with polyurethane (Toray Dermizax®NX,) membrane with 100% polyester backer and 85% virgin wool + 15% polyamide details 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 handwarmer, 1 internal chest 1 external pocket, 1 upper-arm pocket 1 internal chest, 2 hand 2 external chest, 2 hand, 1 interior mesh bucket
Pit Zips Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Helmet Compatible Hood Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Category Heavyweight
regular fit
Midweight
regular fit
Midweight
slim fit
Lightweight
regular fit
Midweight
regular fit
Drawcords 4 hood, 2 waist 4 hood, 2 waist 3 hood, 2 waist 3 hood, 2 waist 3 hood, 2 waist
Adjustable Cuffs Yes, Velcro Yes, Velcro Yes, Velcro Yes, Velcro Yes, Velcro
Harness and Hip Belt Compatible Yes, high pockets Yes, high pockets Yes Yes, high pockets Yes, high pockets
Two-Way Front Zipper No No Yes Yes No
Length of back, from base of neck to bottom 27 in 26 in 27 in 26 in 26 in
Warranty Policy Practical lifetime warranty - Material or workmanship defects will be replaced or repaired at Arc'teryx's discretion Practical lifetime warranty - Material or workmanship defects will be replaced or repaired at Arc'teryx's discretion None noted on the website 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.

Performance Comparison


arc'teryx alpha sv jacket for women - the alpha sv is up for many snowy adventures and all-weather rescue...
The Alpha SV is up for many snowy adventures and all-weather rescue scenarios, such as in this photo.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Weather Protection


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.

arc'teryx alpha sv jacket for women - the many heads of the alpha sv.
The many heads of the Alpha SV.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

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.

arc'teryx alpha sv jacket for women - the alpha sv is an exceptional hardshell.
The Alpha SV is an exceptional hardshell.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

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.

arc'teryx alpha sv jacket for women - excellent low profile pit zips on the alpha sv don't inhibit arm...
Excellent low profile pit zips on the Alpha SV don't inhibit arm movement as much as some bigger or wider zippers.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

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.

Weight


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.

arc'teryx alpha sv jacket for women - we love these napoleon pockets. the opening is close to your center...
We love these Napoleon pockets. The opening is close to your center line, and the pocket goes out toward the sides. They're like dual chest pockets - and we love chest pockets.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

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.

arc'teryx alpha sv jacket for women - this tab and draw cord make it very easy to adjust the tightness of...
This tab and draw cord make it very easy to adjust the tightness of the waist with gloves on.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

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.

arc'teryx alpha sv jacket for women - the shoulder pocket is a great place to stash your electronic ski...
The shoulder pocket is a great place to stash your electronic ski pass.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

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 Arc'teryx Beta AR. Another favorite is the Patagonia Triolet, a more affordable model great for snow sports.

arc'teryx alpha sv jacket for women - the alpha sv is durable, stormproof, and still easy to move around in.
The Alpha SV is durable, stormproof, and still easy to move around in.
Credit: Lyra Pierotti

Lyra Pierotti