Adirondacks, Rainier, New York City
Is this too big for me? I am 5'8" and 125lbs. I am not worried about volume, mainly the back system. Thanks. Also looking at the Osprey Aether 80 and the Arcteryx Bora 80.
This jacket is my bread and butter. It has so many uses in different climates and is truly all around.
I am 5'8" 125lbs. and wear a Mens small.
For low exertion hikes, I wear a thin crew base underneath. This works great for long hours in the city too especially when the coffee shop blasts the ac nonstop over my head.
With a midweight base underneath the Venta keeps my temps stable down to -5C, provided I'm on the move and have the drawstring pulled. The tight wrist is great for keeping the wind out provided you are of average build; for my thin wrists I get about an inch of opening so this doesn't work out very well but I'm sure for most of you it's snug, if not constricting.
The jacket doesn't pack down much and I can't tell where it actually stretches enough to notice while worn.
I do appreciate the different material thicknesses at various spots but the effect seems more for thermal effect rather than stretch. The whole jacket does stretch, ranging from 1-2cm of expansion. The stretch ends abruptly so the impression on use is that the jacket is static and the stretch only manifests with tight fit and wide motions.
Overall cut is smart. The jacket has surprising room underneath for both a base and insulating layer but is still fashionably acceptable on my rather skinny frame.
Either the Atom LT or the First Ascent Microtherm down shirt fits under this without much change in shape. I personally can't stand so much insulation so I usually wear the Venta AR with just a baselayer and adjust the weight and material of that instead.
For me, any temperature or activity level that the Venta + heavy base cannot handle, I replace the Venta with a First Ascent Downlight sweater or Atom SV instead of layering due to breathability issues.
An Alpha SL pullover goes over this for those rare times when I don't want my hat totally saturated from heavy snowfall or rain. I personally wouldn't recommend having both on at once for very long unless idle.
The DWR is ok, though not as durable as a hardshell for reasons I cannot deduce. The area where I put my watch over the sleeve as well as underneath both sleeves seem to have areas where water will not bead well, areas where I guess the rubber watch strap and other things rub against.
I have washed once and treated with Grangers XT but the sleeves remain a trouble spot, even more so than the shoulder where the pack straps rub. This is just nitpicking because the total area of soaking is probably less than one square inch, and I do wear this very often and rub against tables (probably oils and other contaminants on the table)
On the whole, this jacket in my opinion provides good value for the amount of use it gets and the deceptively high protection it provides in situations I couldn't have imagined possible upon casual inspection of the garment.
Will the small size still be next-to-skin if I'm 5'8 and 125lbs? It doesn't seem like it from what I gather.
The photos don't look very tight at all so this is a concern for me- I don't like loose fit.
I read a review below by wordsofglass and he says the small has baggy arms for him and he is a bit larger than I am.
Any other suggestions for Merino baselayer appreciated, especially with long sleeves that cover some of the hand. It would be nice not to have to resort to Womens's size.
Made in Canada.
First of all, this is my first shell that has been through both warm and cold seasons and I have to say the fit and features are top notch. Having dabbled with an Alpha SL (pullover), I can say this shell feels truly durable while the SL is more akin to a thin bag over you. The SL on the other hand, is something I carry with me everywhere- especially in the city, while this is saved for backcountry pursuits.
The cut on this shell, while roomier, still fits me well, even with one base layer. I am 5'8" and 125lbs. and wear a small on Arcteryx size.
Having a Rho merino base, Atom SV hoody and this shell on top, all in mens small size, I can feel that Arc'teryx truly sized each layer exactly right. A First Ascent Downlight in small also fits perfectly as insulating layer under this shell- the cut is wonderful with either piece- just enough room for the insulation to loft yet the whole system remains trim.
On a warm and rainy day with a thin Phase baselayer underneath, I honestly couldn't experience much of the breathable aspect even with the pit zips wide open and a quarter of the top unzipped. I guess the humidity of the surrounding air has a lot to do with the performance- which makes sense.
On sub-zero climbs with moderate exertion, I could feel the hot air leaving the shell, albeit pretty slowly. Can't tell if the moisture is leaving through the openings or if it's actually permeating through the membrane, but the system works and I never felt saturated with heat.
Adjustments are quite intuitive and the hood sizes correctly with either a helmet, big knit hat, or no hat. I didn't even notice that each front pocket has an adjustment drawcord on the inside.
Not a drop of rain or whiff of wind has reached my core. The thing looks new, even as I roll it up into its own hood or fold it down tight often and it gets wrinkles all over. Haven't even washed it yet but the DWR is still strong even where shoulder and hip straps are.
Overall I do not regret spending on such an expensive shell that frankly sees way less use than my softshells or any other piece of clothing for that matter. I know it's always there and think of it more as reliable protection than a mere garment- and for that, any price is worth it.