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The alpha dog of technical rain shells.

Unsurprising fact of the day: mountain storms come out of nowhere and move really quickly. What was a mellow bluebird day can suddenly turn into a serious alpine experience, and you won't be able to stay dry unless you can move as fast as the storm. Weighing in at just 10.8oz, the Arc'teryx Alpha SL Men's Jacket is a tough and compact rain shell that'll keep you one step ahead of the storm. As part of Arc'teryx's Alpha collection (the SL stands for superlight), this shell is designed to be clipped onto your harness or backpack, so you're always prepared on long climbs and alpine expeditions. Made of lightweight nylon and waterproofed with a Gore-Tex PacLite membrane, the SL sports a trim fit with e3D ergonomic and articulated construction to keep you sending during the storm, and provides clean sightlines to your harness so you can grab the right protection without hassle.

To keep carrying simple, the SL packs into its own pocket and clips to your harness via a webbing loop, keeping it out of the way but close at hand should the weather turn. If it gets really nasty, the StormHood covers your helmet and adjusts with a one-handed cinch, and a WaterTight zipper stops sneaky moisture from finding its way into your jacket. Maybe best of all, the removable HemLock foam insert sits around the hem of the SL, keeping it from slipping up underneath your harness and leaving exposed skin. If that's not thoughtful design, nothing is.

  • Waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex PacLite membrane
  • Trim fit with e3D ergonomic and articulated construction
  • Helmet-compatible StormHood
  • HemLock insert prevents jacket from sliding up under harness
  • WaterTigh front zipper
  • Harness-compatible pocket

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Here's what others have to say...


Superlight, bomber rain jacket!

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit:True to size

This has been my rain jacket for over eight years. It has been all over with me backpacking, hiking, and peak bagging the mountains here in Utah and Wyoming. It is completely waterproof, super light, and packs into its own hood and fits in a stretchy pocket on my UL backpack. The chest pocket will keep anything you store in there warm and dry. The hood, and waist have cinch cords so you can lock in your warmth, and the cuffs will Velcro closed to your wrist size. The microfleece soft fabric around the neck and near the zipper garage is soft and does not rub on your chin or neck. I have also used this for spring touring on the splitboard and it was great and kept me warm and dry. Not to mention, it is a great wind break for those strong alpine winds which you get high alpine backpacking. Every singe one of my friends has replaced their rain jacket over the last eight years, I am still wearing mine. So you get what you pay for. I would highly recommend this jacket to anyone looking for a completely waterproof rain shell.

Superlight, bomber rain jacket!

Does anyone have any feedback as far as its breathability? I'm an alpine distance runner and have been looking for a minimalist shell that will keep me dry but I won't sweat like a dog inside of. Would love to hear someone's thoughts

Goretex Active Shell fabric breaths much better than the paclite.

The Alpha FL has it.

The minimalist jackets work great for that "just in case" vs the "its going to pour" scenarios.

I bounce between a OR Helium 2 and an Axiom. The Active shell keeps me dry when I know its going to get wet but still breaths enough to not get clamy. Hope that helps


Best lightweight, technical rain shell

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times
  • Fit:True to size
  • Height: 6'0"
    Weight: 165 lbs
    Size Purchased: Medium

This is not intended to compete with the lousy North Face rain shell that you see 100s of on any given day in the city. It's intended to be the most waterproof yet most breathable and lightweight piece, the three most valuable features for active outdoor use (climbing/hiking/etc.). Chest pocket is huge and I stopped noticing the lack of hand pockets after a couple uses: it's great for everyday use as well and you can pack it down to fit in a small briefcase. Quality is unmatched as usual for Arc'teryx products, and blue smoke color looks great.


Not worth it for the price tag.

  • Familiarity:I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit:Runs small
  • Height: 5'8"
    Weight: 150 lbs
    Size Purchased: small

I bought this jacket and returned it because i didnt like the fit. I bought a small and the cut around the waist felt weird and too high and the sleeves were too long. The construction did feel high quality, but the features were lacking for being over $200. There is no hand pockets or pit zips which i thought was kind of lame. I'll be sticking to marmot for better overall value.

The lack of hand pockets or pit zips is the point of the jacket. Simplicity. Its not like you didnt know that it didnt have either of those when you bought it.

Shame on you for spending over $200 on a jacket without caring to learn what features were clearly explained in the listing or what the intended purpose was behind the design.

Did you read the first sentence bud? If the jacket would have fit me properly, i would have kept it, regardless of other features. I was explaining that for an overall value, when you spend that kind of money on a rain coat, it would be nice to have more features. But that's just my opinion. If you don't like my review than go write your own.


Always warm and dry

  • Familiarity:I've used it several times
  • Fit:True to size
  • Height: 6'2"
    Weight: 175 lbs
    Size Purchased: Medium

This jacket has seen it all - rain, snow, hail, sleet, wind - and I've always left warm and dry. There are some parts on the outside that seem to wet through, but it's always dry on the inside. Does an amazing job of keeping the wind out. Breathability is good - I've worked up quite a sweat on the inside and it always dries quickly.

Fit is perfect for my tall, lanky frame, with a good slim fit and long arms & length. Room for one or two light mid-layers underneath, but would go a size up if more insulation was needed.

Overall a fantastic jacket!


Still dry

  • Familiarity:I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit:True to size
  • Height: 5'9"
    Weight: 145 lbs
    Size Purchased: Medium

I've only used this jacket a couple times. Haven't used it in a torrential downpour yet, so can't speak to that level. But so far, it has worked very well for me. I've used it in anything from a light sprinkle to steady rainfall, Haven't gotten wet yet. Couldn't be happier on that front.

Aesthetically, it looks AMAZING. Typical of Arc'teryx, the color is a winner (one of my favorite things about them). I got it in Wheatgrass and it is beautiful. Of course it also fits well. While wearing it you'll look and feel nice and trim (as opposed to some more boxy jackets).
I'm 5'9 and the medium fits me well. Not too snug-a little room for a mid layer if need be. I probably could have gotten a small, but I do prefer a little bit of room.

I can't recommend this jacket (and any Arc'teryx product) enough.

Note: I apologize for bad formatting, not sure why line breaks aren't showing.


Rain and more rain !

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit:True to size
  • Height: 6'3"
    Weight: 195 lbs
    Size Purchased: xl

I just bought this jacket thinking its spring and I might get a rain day skiing. This past Saturday was a torrential downpour at Butternut and I skied the whole day staying dry thanks to this Shell. I now need one for my son. Awesome fit and quality.


surprisingly soft, totally waterproof

  • Familiarity:I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit:True to size

I mean what can I say about arc'teryx that hasn't been said a thousand times already. This jacket is made with the highest quality construction, is super light, super waterproof -- and doesn't feel hard, stiff, or rough to the skin.

and lastly, I gotta say arcteryx makes just about the most critically sealed zippers and seams I have ever seen.


Bomber Minimalist Alpine Shell

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit:True to size

I've had this jacket for about six months now and I've used if for cycle commuting around town, ski touring, and ice climbing as well. Lightweight, minimalist, and bomber construction lend this jacket true credibility. I've been very impressed with it's waterproofing and the inherent wind-resistance that comes with it being a Hardshell jacket. As usual a high-standard, high-caliber piece from Arcteryx.

Bomber Minimalist Alpine Shell

What is the center back length of a medium?