The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Arc'teryx Meta Review

Arc'teryx Meta
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $699 List
Pros:  High quality materials and construction, lightweight, versatile
Cons:  Fits small, expensive
Manufacturer:   Arcteryx
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 10, 2015
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83
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 20% 8
  • Ventilation - 10% 9
  • Water Resistance - 20% 9
  • Features - 20% 8
  • Style - 15% 8
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 8

The Skinny

Discontinued
While the Meta is no longer available, we do have a number of updated women's ski jacket recommendations.

The Arc'teryx Meta is the most versatile ski jacket we've tested, and it wins our Top Pick Award because you can take it anywhere from the mall to mountain-top. It is great for winter sports where the weather is cold but you are active and need highly advanced thermo-regulation (like skiing deep powder and ice climbing). The synthetic insulation and Gore-Tex Pro shell allow your body to breathe and continue to keep you warm when you're working hard. It also has great ventilation through its pit-zips. Arc'teryx added ski specific features to make this insulated shell a great pick for ripping up the slopes, including a powder skirt, goggle pocket, and Recco Avalanche Rescue Technology.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The Arc'teryx Meta is the most versatile ski jacket we tested. A lightly insulated shell with the essential ski features make it a great choice for on the slopes, but could also be your go-to jacket for any winter outdoor activity. We wore this jacket while traveling, teaching an avalanche course, and skiing in all conditions, and were happy with the way it performed. We even got completely drenched in the rain and it kept us warm and dry. We think its sleek, clean lines and tailored fit look attractive and stylish in any application, which can't be said of all ski jackets. This jacket does fit small so consider sizing up if you want to wear extra layers underneath.

Performance Comparison


The Arc'teryx Meta is a very versatile jacket that you can wear in all kinds of weather.
The Arc'teryx Meta is a very versatile jacket that you can wear in all kinds of weather.

Warmth


The Arc'teryx Meta jacket is lightly insulated with Coreloft synthetic insulation, which is meant to give this jacket that extra advantage over a technical shell jacket that has no insulation. We find the level of insulation to be just right for a wide range of activities. That being said, it is not as warm as some of the other insulated jackets in this review like the Arc'Teryx Andessa or the Patagonia Primo Down Jacket - Women's. Part of what makes this jacket so versatile is that it is not heavily insulated, so pair it with a warm mid-layer fleece on colder days and you will be good to go. We would have liked the hood to be insulated, which would add a bit more warmth. We found the collar to be a bit tight when we zip the jacket all the way up. This meant we couldn't wear a thick neck gaiter or buff under it and be able to zip it all the way. This detracts from the warmth of the jacket slightly. However, the collar has a warm, cozy micro-fleece lining.

This layer is versatile enough for many winter sports if you like being active in cold weather. It will keep you warm and its synthetic insulation wicks away perspiration to keep you dry. We liked it for ice climbing almost as much as skiing.
This layer is versatile enough for many winter sports if you like being active in cold weather. It will keep you warm and its synthetic insulation wicks away perspiration to keep you dry. We liked it for ice climbing almost as much as skiing.

Water Resistance


The Meta is probably the most water resistant jacket we have tested. It has meticulously taped seams, watertight zippers, and little zipper garages to protect the zipper closures from snow and rain. Its shell material is Gore-Tex Pro, which is the top-of-the-line product from Gore, and scored high in our own tests. We wore this jacket out on wet, stormy days and got drenched in the rain, and it definitely kept us dry. It is an extra comfort to know that even if our insulation did get wet, it will still insulate because it is synthetic and retains its loft when damp.

The Meta's Gore-Tex Pro shell material is very water proof and we tested it in torrential rain.
The Meta's Gore-Tex Pro shell material is very water proof and we tested it in torrential rain.

Ventilation


The Gore-Tex Pro material breathes relatively well, and we think this jacket has much better ventilation than the Spyder Amp and the Obermeyer Brigitte. The Meta comes with pit-zips that undo from almost the elbow to ribs, allowing for maximum ventilation. These vents are mesh-backed to keep out unwanted cold, fluffy, white stuff. The synthetic insulation also helps the jacket wick moisture away from the body. Down insulation, like in The North Face Point it Down, will not keep you warm when wet because it looses its loft.

We think the Meta has great gaping pit zips and is well ventilated.
We think the Meta has great gaping pit zips and is well ventilated.

Ski Features


Arc'teryx added a few key details to make this insulated shell ski specific. It has a pass pocket on the upper arm, an interior mesh goggle pocket, and a powder skirt. This jacket would be even more versatile if the powder skirt was removable, like on the Arc'teryx Andessa. The interior pocket perfectly fits our smartphone with a waterproof case in it. The Meta does not have an integrated headphone port and electronics pocket. For a jacket that is solely meant for the ski hill and has features like electronics pockets, check out the Flylow Jane. The Meta also comes with Recco Avalanche Rescue technology, which is quickly becoming an essential safety accessory for in-bounds skiers who are pushing their limits on big powder days. For more about Recco check out our Buying Advice Article.

We found the Meta's Gore Tex Pro material a little stiffer than other jackets we tested.
We found the Meta's Gore Tex Pro material a little stiffer than other jackets we tested.

Style


At first we weren't sure about the look of this jacket. The grey Heron color with bright red zippers was a bit out of the ordinary, but it grew on us. This year Arc'teryx has gone with brighter colors, and we like the bright pink two tone Rose color we tested. The simple looking lines of this jacket with contrasting colors adds a surprising detail. We were grateful that the pit-zip zippers were not different colors this time around. We think the Meta has a flattering, tailored cut that will make you look like you know what you're doing out there.

We like the sleek  form fitting design of the Meta
We like the sleek, form fitting design of the Meta

Comfort and Fit


The Arc'teryx Meta fits a bit small. We would recommend sizing up if you want to put anything in your pockets or if you plan to wear multiple layers underneath it. We like the length of the sleeves and found the silky liner material comfortable. This jacket is much lighter weight than most of the ski jackets we tested, which makes the Meta comfortable because it feels like you're hardly wearing anything. It moves well with the wearer when skiing, although the Gore-Tex Pro material is a little stiffer than other soft, flexible shell materials like the stretchy shells on the Orage Loulou and the Flylow Jane. The Patagonia Primo Down has the softest Gore-Tex material of all the jackets we tested.

Best Application


This jacket is very versatile. You can take it anywhere from the mall to mountaintop. We wore the Meta around town and traveling, it is easy to bring along anywhere because it is so light and compact. We think it is a great layer for active winter sports like resort and backcountry skiing, ice climbing, snowshoeing, and any situation where you need protection from the elements and a little more warmth than an un-insulated shell provides. If you want the versatility of Gore-Tex without insulation check out our Best Hardshell Jacket for Women review.

The Flylow Jane and the Arc'teryx Meta. The Jane is a great value ski jacket and the Meta is a versatile insulated shell with ski features that is expensive.
The Flylow Jane and the Arc'teryx Meta. The Jane is a great value ski jacket and the Meta is a versatile insulated shell with ski features that is expensive.

Value


The Meta is one of the more expensive jackets we tested at $699. That being said, this jacket is a quiver of one — you can use it for all your fall, winter, and spring outdoor pursuits and it will keep you warm and dry. If you want to invest in a quality, high-end jacket, this could be the one. If you are looking for a versatile jacket at the opposite end of the spectrum of quality and price, check out the Columbia Whirlibird - Women's, a great deal for two jackets in one.

Conclusion


Our Top Pick Award goes to this versatile, high quality ski jacket. The Arc'teryx Meta will help you perform in all kinds of conditions at all kinds of activities. Its Gore-Tex Pro shell combined with thin synthetic insulation will keep you dry and warm while you're working hard in cold environments. We like the tailored look of this jacket, but you may need to size up if you want to carry anything in your pockets or wear an extra layer underneath - it fits a bit small. This jacket will make you look like a pro no matter what you're doing.


Jessica Haist