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Dennis R.

Dennis R.

Dennis R.'s Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Climbing

Dennis R.

Dennis R.wrote a review of on October 26, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 200 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

I purchased the Gamma LT to replace 2 aging softshell jackets - an ancient Gamma SV and a Patagonia Super Guide. I've now used the LT a few times and have some initial impressions.

Fit. I'm a solid Large in Patagonia tops, but thanks to the Arc'teryx size break (Large ends at 43" chest) jacket fit is always questionable - Large tends to be a snug fit, but I swim in XL. My Gamma SV is a Large and is a snug fit, not really allowing even a second layer beneath it. A nice athletic cut though, and great sleeve length. Based on my Arc'teryx experience I ordered an XL Gamma LT, and it too is oversized. Unlike the Gamma SV, the new jacket has a squarer cut and room for layering (good), but is also rather baggy (not so good). The body is way long and so are the sleeves. I plan to use the jacket for traveling and around-town use, so body length isn't that bothersome. The sleeve length IS, and I'll have to figure out what to do about that. In an ironic twist, even these excessively long sleeves leave my wrists exposed when I reach overhead because the fit isn't snug to the wrist and there's no way to adjust the fit.

Features. The LT has two large chest pockets and a pocket at the left bicep, all exterior. The old SV has two large exterior chest pockets and an internal pocket. The SV chest pockets are especially high and rotated forward. These actually work with a harness or pack hip belt, where the LT's pockets are more likely to get caught underneath. That is also the problem with the pockets on the Patagonia jacket. However, I still like the Patagonia jacket's pocket arrangement - two exterior side pockets and an exterior vertical pocket at the left breast, plus an internal chest pocket. The Gamma LT doesn't seem to have enough pockets for my purpose, thought the chest pockets are HUGE. They're also made of a mesh, so partly open pockets can serve as vents.

Otherwise, the bottom hem drawcord on the LT is probably the easiest to adjust of the 3 jackets. The LT has a dropped tail, more so then either of the other jackets. The LT's collar, when zipped up is a good height and fit, and it's lined with a soft micro fleece for comfort. The main zipper for the Gamma LT is a sturdy toothed zipper. Runs well, doesn't snag. The characteristic Arc'teryx rubbery draft flap is a bit smaller than that on my Gamma SV, and so doesn't get in the way as much.

Fabric. I like stretch-woven softshell jackets for travel and around-town use because stretch-woven fabrics are so versatile: sturdy, breathable, wind- and water-resistant, food-resistant, and stretchy. I dislike softshell jackets for actual outdoors use because they tend to be both heavy and bulky; unless I'm sure I'll be wearing the jacket all the time I don't want it along. That's certainly true for the Gamma SV's Powershield fabric, and mostly true for the stretch-woven used in the Super Guide. The Gamma LT's fabric, called Burly Double Weave, is a bit different: smooth on the outside, subtly barred on the inside, and lighter than the fabric on either of the other jackets. Also softer. Unlike the other two jackets, which never got used for climbing, skiing, etc. I WOULD use the Gamma LT for those things - if the fit was better. Wind resistance is on par with the other jackets. Breathability seems good. Haven't had enough moisture to say anything about water resistance.

Overall, this is a nice jacket. My main problem with it is really about where I fit in the Arc'teryx sizing scheme. The product fit is true to that described in the bird's sizing charts; I just don't fit well into that sizing. Materials and features seem to work pretty well.

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Dennis R.

Dennis R.wrote a review of on May 19, 2013

4 5

Just back from a week backpacking in the Black Range (southern NM), used the 75. I'm usually wary of packs with this much suspension adjustment; usually the carry gets sacrificed. The Volt adjusts in minutes w/o tools - not just back length but also HIPBELT pad length - and once adjusted the pack carried up to 48 lb pretty comfortably. I was impressed, especially for a pack that weighs less than 4 lb on my scale.
Some features are less than optimized. Compression doesn't work very well, and I'd like more strap length so I can stow my foam pad behind them. And the pack never got that "glued to my back" feeling; too much random movement for use on technical terrain. The hipbelt pockets are useful stash for food, sunblock, compass, altimeter, etc, but once the pack is on it's really hard to close the pocket zips one-handed. Top lid can't be easily removed, but it does float and it is HUGE. Lots of stash there. Mesh pockets on back and sides are handy for need-quick gear. Oh, and the hipbelt straps are too long - I mean like FEET too long. Who needs this much hipbelt?

Bottom line: a lot of little things could have been done better, and that's unfortunate. For a 4 lb pack designed to fit a wide range of people in a single size (and <<$200) this pack has remarkable carry. It doesn't dig, slip, or drag; it's just kind of there on your back. The little things bug me because the main pack function - hauling your stuff - is almost unnoticeable. For a trail pack it's definitely worth a look.

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Dennis R.

Dennis R.wrote a review of on March 24, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Confession: the pack never made it out the door. Just loaded it up, walked it around a bit in the house, and discovered the fatal flaw.

I actually like the design. The packbag cut is carefully designed to keep the load close to the back. The adjustment system is clever and seems to work. I can't tell yet whether the velcro will hold against a 40 lb load, but I'm betting it will. The "wire" frame looks flimsy, but my wife has the Viva 50 and says it floats 35 lb just fine. There's a large mesh pocket on the back and a pocket on each side. Very usable and very nice. Straps are well-cut, nicely padded, and the hipbelt has a pocket each side. Nice for snacks, compass, camera, etc.There's also a clever system for temp stowing of trekking poles. I used similar system on my Talon 33, and can be quite useful for stretches where you need your hands but don't want to fully stow the poles. Overall, nicely done.

Little annoyances. I don't think a pack this size needs a sleeping bag compartment or opening. Osprey might argue the shelf adds structural support inside the packbag - a fair point. but the opening is too small for me to load my 20 deg down bag, so seems too small to me. Top lid floats for overloading (good) but doesn't detach from the pack (bad). And there are too many (my opinion) strap snubbers and other widgets on the pack, but that's just me. Fact is the pack is pretty light for its volume (< 4 lb), and if you're annoyed by the features there's always the razor blade and butane lighter approach...

OK, the fatal flaw: I thought it was the hipbelt length - too short for my hips. However, the Osprey guys have come up with a clever way to adjust the length of the hipbelt pads, so no worries. No, the fatal flaw is that the pack is just too small for my planned loads. If it fits you and your loads the Volt 60 is a very nice pack. I'm trying the Volt 75 next...

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Dennis R.

Dennis R.wrote a review of on March 24, 2013

4 5

What's not to like? Fit is good - close but not confining. This is an improvement over the R1 I bought a few years ago, which fit like a condom. I'm 6'1", 200 lb, wearing a Large. Thickness is near optimal for a midlayer. Fleece manages to pack away pretty nicely. Dries quickly. Sleeve length is good for someone like me with ape-ish arms. Useful chest pocket. Good torso length. Excellent collar fit; very comfortable.

Nice layer over a light base for winter climbing, snowshoeing. Nice to have in the pack as an extra layer in case I didn't guess the temperatures correctly.

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