Hands-on Gear Review

Arc'teryx Darrah Review

A lightweight jacket perfect for fall or late winter.
By: Liz Williamson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 22, 2018
Price:  $299 List  |  $179.88 at Amazon - 40% Off
Pros:  Lightweight, simple, sleek, comfortable, breathable
Cons:  Not super warm, finicky zipper, hood doesn’t detach, outer material shows stains/dirt marks
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 13
  • Warmth - 30% 5
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 6
  • Style - 20% 6
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Durability - 5% 6
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Our Verdict

Lightweight, stylish, and straightforward, Arc'teryx delivers with a jacket that's great for mild winters or fall/later winter. It's not intended for temperatures around, and below freezing, and the Arc'teryx Darrah lacks lofty down insulation like the Marmot Montreaux or the Rab Deep Cover Parka. Reaching just above our knee, this jacket oozes simplicity, as there aren't many bells or whistles. If you are looking for a feature loaded model, the Canada Goose Kensington Parka, our Editors' Choice winner, might be exactly what you're looking for.

The outer material of the Darrah is mainly polyester and is water repellent, but not waterproof. In turn, it has a sleek, but durable look, thanks to minimal exterior stitching. If you live somewhere that experiences mild, wet winter, check out our Top Pick for Wet climates, the Patagonia Tres Down Parka; with three jackets in one, you'll stay warm, dry, and stylish no matter what mother nature throws at you.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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Lined with a 100g/80g of synthetic coreloft, strategic placement of the insulation, Arc'teryx places the insulation where it's needed the most. With only two color options to choose from, Crest and Carbon Copy, the limited color options go with the simple look of this jacket. Weighing in at 1.3 lbs, the Arc'teryx Darrah one of the lightest jackets we tested.

Performance Comparison


The Darrah is a moderately insulated synthetic jacket  perfect for mildly cold winter days and early fall and late winter weather. The outer material is water-resistant but not waterproof; this jacket isn't intended to handle super wet winter weather.
The Darrah is a moderately insulated synthetic jacket, perfect for mildly cold winter days and early fall and late winter weather. The outer material is water-resistant but not waterproof; this jacket isn't intended to handle super wet winter weather.

Warmth


For being a lightweight synthetic jacket, we were surprised how warm we stayed in the right kind of conditions. What we mean is, this jacket is perfect for mild winter weather. Insulated with Coreloft - 100g/80g body mapped insulation, we didn't stay warm when we tested in rain or snow storms; but, when we wore it on mild or cold days when temperatures dropped to freezing, we felt warm. Arc'teryx uses body mapping to strategically place insulation in spots they believe to need it the most. This being said, the tops of our arms felt cold due to the lack of insulation. While it wasn't a dealbreaker, who likes cold arms? If being warm is your number one concern and you live in a spot that experiences cold winters, we'd recommend our Best Buy award winner, the Marmot Montreaux. It's loaded with down but still maintains a fashionable look.

The hood is snug, but there is still enough room for a beanie underneath if needed. There isn't a faux fur ruff around the hood like the Rab Deep Cover Parka, but that isn't necessary if you aren't in a climate that is incredibly cold. The exterior pockets are lined with microfleece on one side, and this small feature makes a world of difference in cold weather. When a jacket doesn't have any lining in the pockets, it's noticeable, like the pockets on the Legendary Whitetails Anchorage Parka.

We had enough room to wear a beanie underneath the hood without it feeling too tight or restricted. There is a brim on top of the hood that allows water to flow off to the side and not directly into your face.
We had enough room to wear a beanie underneath the hood without it feeling too tight or restricted. There is a brim on top of the hood that allows water to flow off to the side and not directly into your face.

This jacket, is form-fitting and almost runs on the small side. If you are someone that likes to wear layers underneath their winter jacket, considering ordering a size up or trying on in a store.

Weather Resistance


For being water-resistant, this jacket did a decent job in wet weather. The polyester outer shell is called Neilsa and is water repellent, but not waterproof. When tested outside in wet weather, water initially beads up and rolled off, but after an extended period, the jacket started to become saturated. If you are in the market for a highly waterproof model, we like the Patagonia Tres or the Arc'teryx Patera Parka.

Style


If sleek, stylish, and sporty is what you are looking for, the Darrah is for you. There aren't many bells or whistles, but that's why we like it. Not only that, but it's easy to dress up or wear to the gym. It's also quite form-fitting so if you are someone that doesn't want a jacket clinging to them, consider ordering a size up. Our only qualm with this jacket is that the outer material tends to get dirty easily. We tested the grey color and accidentally rubbed against our dirty car, and the jacket had a smudge mark on it that was hard to get out.

The Darrah has a sporty-chic look  and we liked wearing it to the gym  running errands around town  and even out to dinner. Its simple  clean lines help make it a versatile jacket that you can dress up or down.
The Darrah has a sporty-chic look, and we liked wearing it to the gym, running errands around town, and even out to dinner. Its simple, clean lines help make it a versatile jacket that you can dress up or down.

If simple and sweet isn't your style, the Legendary Whitetails Anchorage Parka has a faux fur ruff, faux leather straps with placket snaps on the back, and three exterior pockets. The Canada Goose Kensington Parka offers even more features than the Anchorage Parka and the Darrah, but at a way higher price.

From all angles  this jacket is form-fitting and stylish. It did a great job at emphasizing our curves. If you want a jacket of this style but not so form fitting  consider ordering a size up  or check out the Columbia Heavenly jacket  which is a similar style but runs a bit looser.
From all angles, this jacket is form-fitting and stylish. It did a great job at emphasizing our curves. If you want a jacket of this style but not so form fitting, consider ordering a size up, or check out the Columbia Heavenly jacket, which is a similar style but runs a bit looser.


Comfort


Weighing in at 1.3 lbs, this jacket is seriously lightweight. We felt some restrictions in the arms or shoulders, but it wasn't as tight as the Patagonia Down With It Parka, though it does a run a bit small. If you like wearing extra layers underneath your jacket consider ordering a size up.

This jacket definitely boasts a slim  sporty fit  and we found it a bit restricting in the shoulders and arms. If you are someone who likes to wear layers underneath your winter jacket  consider ordering a size up.
This jacket definitely boasts a slim, sporty fit, and we found it a bit restricting in the shoulders and arms. If you are someone who likes to wear layers underneath your winter jacket, consider ordering a size up.

The Columbia Heavenly is lightweight and just as warm but isn't as tight and form-fitting. The Arc'teryx Patera Parka is the same size as the Darrah, but it wasn't as tight. Make sure you read the descriptions of the fit on the jacket on Arc'teryx's website, so you know you are getting the jacket style you want.

One of our favorite features on a winter jacket: internal nylon cuffs. They trap cold air out and keep warm air in without feeling restricting. These bad boys help on days when temps start to drop and precip starts flying.
One of our favorite features on a winter jacket: internal nylon cuffs. They trap cold air out and keep warm air in without feeling restricting. These bad boys help on days when temps start to drop and precip starts flying.

Features


A main feature of the Darrah is how incredibly lightweight it is. You can't judge a book by its cover, and we were impressed with how well it performed compared to other lightweight jackets we tested, like the Patagonia Fiona Down Parka. Other standard features on this jacket are two exterior pockets, with microfleece lining on one side. There is also an internal pocket which is perfect for a cell phone or keys. The main zipper is double-sided, allowing for better mobility and access from both ends.

Microfleece lines one side of the exterior pocket. We'd rather see microfleece lining on both sides  but we'll take what we can get!
Microfleece lines one side of the exterior pocket. We'd rather see microfleece lining on both sides, but we'll take what we can get!

Durability


Our issue with this jacket is its zipper. The main double-sided zipper gets stuck all the time. We had to perfectly line it up so that it would zip up the first time. When we were testing this model, we had a friend try it, and she got so frustrated trying to zip it up that she just took it off. If you are someone with little to no patience, this may not be the jacket for you.

The outer polyester material stains/gets dirty easily. Consider ordering a darker color if you are worried about this. If you are looking for something more durable, that won't stain easily and had a somewhat better zipper, The North Face Arctic Parka II is worth a look. The Arc'teryx Patera Parka is another good option, but the zipper is sometimes finicky; on the plus side, both have durable outer waterproof shells and will last many winters.

Best Application


The Arc'teryx Darrah is a great jacket for someone on the go that lives in a cold climate. It isn't the best option for someone living in a very wet climate, or somewhere temperatures drop below freezing on the regular. The lightweight material and the mid-thigh length of the Darrah makes it easy to run errands, take the dog for a walk, or just get around in general.

Value


The Darrah isn't cheap, but if you live in the right environment, it could be worth the money. This jacket isn't waterproof, so if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain in the winter, then it may not be worth it. A good waterproof Arc'teryx option is the Arc'teryx Patera. We could see the Darrah being great for fall/early winter, but when it's snowing out, and temperatures dropped below freezing, a contender with more insulation, like the Marmot Montreaux, kept us warmer - for the same price.

Conclusion


The Arc'teryx Darrah is a good fall/early winter option that did a decent job of keeping us warm when temperatures hit freezing, but we wouldn't want to be outside for an extended period in stormy or wet winter weather. For an almost comparable price, The North Face Arctic Parka II offers more protection with a waterproof outer shell and has more insulation. A comparable lightweight jacket that wasn't as warm, but also wasn't as expensive is the Columbia Heavenly Long Hooded.

Liz Williamson

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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