Arc'teryx & other high end gear - Worth it?

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  1. #1

    Arc'teryx & other high end gear - Worth it?

    Curious to get people's takes on high end ski apparel. I'm a buy and hold type of guy. So I don't mind spending a few bucks on gear as I know that I will have it for a long time and the cost gets amortized over a lot of use.

    After wearing a SunIce jacket and Spyder pants for years I bought a new jacket and pants last season. A couple of things about the older gear. My SunIce jacket served me well for many years. A couple of nits to pick with it. One of the outer pocket zippers broke so I called SunIce about fixing it and they just sent me a new one (pretty darn good customer service). Eventually on the new jacket, holes developed in the inside armpit area where some of the insulation would pop out (took it to a tailor and they sewed it up) and the material around the zipper that makes that area waterproof peeled off. My biggest nit though is that it wasn't gore-tex and even though it's advertised as highly water resistant, it's not. On a wet day, it would get soggy and heavy. Still kept me warm, but definitely damp.

    As for the pants, they lasted even longer than the jacket. Biggest nits... same deal with the waterproofing. Soaked through on wet days. Secondary issues were the styling, kind of the bigger, baggier style and eventually the back hem of the pants got chewed up after wearing them apres without ski boots.

    Bottom line, I definitely got my money's worth out of both.

    Last season I bought a pair of KJUS pants (one year old so discounted). My take is the styling is great as is the functionality. Two nits, no crotch venting and even though more waterproof than the Spyder pants, still not waterproof.

    I was looking at the super expensive Arc'Teryx jackets, but ended up finding a very good looking previous season Eider jacket for a fraction of the cost. Love the look, love the functionality. But again, not waterproof. Skied at Sugarbush and MRG the first weekend of January in a snowstorm and by end middle of the day, my jacket weighed 15 pounds.

    I like the insulated pants/jacket. Not looking for a shell, but I'm curious if splurging for the Arc'Teryx (or similar) stuff is worth it. I see a ton of Arc'Teryx stuff on the mountain so they must be doing something right. Additionally, I bought the Atom LT jacket this season and am blown away by its water resistance and warmth (especially given how light it is).

    Long post...sorry.

  2. #2
    I have been wearing Flylow products for the past several years. I'd consider them midhigh end. I've typically been able to find off season deals on their jackets and pants in the $200-300 range marked down from $350-450. This is for their 20k rated waterproofing and breathability stuff. I like the fit and they have the pocket and venting features I require. I've found what I own to be very durable. They have some more value priced items in the 10k rated range. They also have some higher end stuff that lists in the $500 range.

    I don't know how Arc'teryx performs over time, but I do have to retreat the weatherproofing on my Flylow stuff after about every 30-40 days of skiing. I use wash in Nikwax and then spray them with Kiwi Campdry.

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  3. #3
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    I alternate between Mammut and Patagonia. And yes, I do have a gear problem.

    Both have been very durable and I get them on sale--from REI, a Mammut outlet in the area, Patagonia direct, or a local Patagonia outlet. Patagonia buys back old gear which I have used a lot recently. Both also make items that are not "throw away fashion" and are timeless.

    Even with a sale or discount I still pay somewhat of a premium, but the stuff lasts...some items I have been using for ten years or so now. Patagonia does free repairs if needed and I've used that. And even though some of their "newer" technologies have had flaws, they have taken things back and always work to "make it right."

    I have not sprung for Arc'teryx because of the pricepoint. That said, I know that folks love them and their stuff is well-designed. Even though I have a local Arc-teryx outlet 30 or so miles away, I still don't really consider them. But then again 10 years ago I did not really consider Mammut because of price either and now I have a lot of their stuff.

    One other thing that is interesting is that in the past I never really cared about Patagonia's political/advocacy activities and efforts. However, in the last few years, I have come to agree with them more and more and I see it as a plus for their "brand". I will leave the political comments at that.

    So yes, I do use some of these higher end brands. Some of the others you mentioned I don't use because of cost, fit, accessibility to purchase, etc. And I also use them for skiing AND other activities (namely hiking).
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  4. #4
    Scruffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thetrailboss View Post
    I alternate between Mammut and Patagonia. And yes, I do have a gear problem.

    Both have been very durable and I get them on sale--from REI, a Mammut outlet in the area, Patagonia direct, or a local Patagonia outlet. Patagonia buys back old gear which I have used a lot recently. Both also make items that are not "throw away fashion" and are timeless.

    Even with a sale or discount I still pay somewhat of a premium, but the stuff lasts...some items I have been using for ten years or so now. Patagonia does free repairs if needed and I've used that. And even though some of their "newer" technologies have had flaws, they have taken things back and always work to "make it right."

    I have not sprung for Arc'teryx because of the pricepoint. That said, I know that folks love them and their stuff is well-designed. Even though I have a local Arc-teryx outlet 30 or so miles away, I still don't really consider them. But then again 10 years ago I did not really consider Mammut because of price either and now I have a lot of their stuff.

    One other thing that is interesting is that in the past I never really cared about Patagonia's political/advocacy activities and efforts. However, in the last few years, I have come to agree with them more and more and I see it as a plus for their "brand". I will leave the political comments at that.

    So yes, I do use some of these higher end brands. Some of the others you mentioned I don't use because of cost, fit, accessibility to purchase, etc. And I also use them for skiing AND other activities (namely hiking).
    +1 Patagonia is top notch and they stand behind their stuff; Mammut too from what I've read, but I have no experience. Flylow is good, and also look a STIO, they are designed and headquartered Jackson Hole. One of the old Cloudveil owners opened up STIO after selling off Cloudveil. STIO - good quality stuff and a nice price, and they stand behind their products.

    Keep in mind, you need to balance waterproofnees with breathability. A good balance for skiing in a storm might be 20K/20K or 30K/20K if you plan on rain. Too much waterproofness and you sacrifice breathability, and that will make you wet from sweat and condensation. There's a ton of info out there on this subject, but also keep in mind that all those great outdoor clothing companies listed above make a full range of waterproofness vs breathability, you need to do your homework and buy for the activity you plan on and how much you sweat.

    Shells are much more versatile than insulated and easier to manage your heat/moisture with tech wear layering. That said, I do own a slightly insulated ski jacket that I'll wear if I know I'm not going to ski hard and don't want a wear a mid-layer.

  5. #5
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scruffy View Post
    +1 Patagonia is top notch and they stand behind their stuff; Mammut too from what I've read, but I have no experience. Flylow is good, and also look a STIO, they are designed and headquartered Jackson Hole. One of the old Cloudveil owners opened up STIO after selling off Cloudveil. STIO - good quality stuff and a nice price, and they stand behind their products.

    Keep in mind, you need to balance waterproofnees with breathability. A good balance for skiing in a storm might be 20K/20K or 30K/20K if you plan on rain. Too much waterproofness and you sacrifice breathability, and that will make you wet from sweat and condensation. There's a ton of info out there on this subject, but also keep in mind that all those great outdoor clothing companies listed above make a full range of waterproofness vs breathability, you need to do your homework and buy for the activity you plan on and how much you sweat.

    Shells are much more versatile than insulated and easier to manage your heat/moisture with tech wear layering. That said, I do own a slightly insulated ski jacket that I'll wear if I know I'm not going to ski hard and don't want a wear a mid-layer.
    I have a Flylow jacket and love it.
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  6. #6
    Edd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thetrailboss View Post
    I have a Flylow jacket and love it.
    Me too.

  7. #7
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Arc'teryx & other high end gear - Worth it?

    Food for thought: https://youtu.be/rNuCjWF79Po


    https://youtu.be/wY0BwvuiV1g

    https://youtu.be/QidRJZ7yrPI


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  8. #8
    Smellytele's Avatar
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    I search around and buy what I find on sale. Never wait until I absolutely need one. Buy left overs from previous years in the summer months. Have a marmot now that I got for around 115. Had a Northface previously that I got for under 100. Although I did get a patagucci but got that for 50% off through a friend 15 years ago. Still use it when I know there is no chance of rain or anything wet.


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  9. #9
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    https://www.steepandcheap.com/rc/win...C_PDM165141_M1


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  10. #10
    Both Patagonia and Arcteryx also sell used gear. REI used is a great source too. I replaced my bibs this year. I got some OR Hemispheres used, unworn, from REI for about 1/3 of retail. Which really mitigated the pain when they turned out to be crap in this case.


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