Ito Jakuchu

Ito Jakuchu

Kansai, Japan

Ito Jakuchu's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Running
Climbing

Ito Jakuchu

Ito Jakuchu wrote a review of on April 6, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I had a fleece that I had to return due to excessive pilling and to their credit Arc'teryx offered to replace the fleece with another item of my choice. I hadn't expected this (as I thought they would just send me a replacement fleece) but I'm extremely happy they send me the Atom SV .

I can't imagine using this as a mid layer, but as an outer jacket it is fantastic. The fit is great with superb cuffs, dropped hem, and an incredibly comfortable hood. The hood adjustments really make this thing bomber when it gets seriously cold or when there is a high wind chill factor.

I am 184cm, 72Kg (6.1/160) and the Medium fits me great. The Atom SV is sized so that you can layer it over some mid layers, which for me at this size it does great. I bought a Medium Atom LT because I liked the SV so much and it fits perfectly under it. A thick fleece or thin down sweater will also easily work. If you want to layer over a thicker down jacket you might want to get a bigger size in order not to compress the thicker down baffles as much.

If you need a synthetic insulator piece with a super comfortable hood, great cuffs and overall fit, this piece is absolutely fantastic and you can't go wrong with it.

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Ito Jakuchu

Ito Jakuchu wrote a review of on April 5, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

This is a great, almost perfect, mid layer for very cold temps, or a good outer jacket during spring/fall. I come from using a minimal down sweater almost daily except during the height of summer. In Spring or Fall this jacket works great as an outer jacket. The breathing side panels do make a difference compared to the down sweater I was wearing, the Atom being less clammy feeling. Together with the less 'sticky' outer fabric this just makes me that little bit more comfortable.

Had some mild rain and DWR works great for now. Main reason for synthetic for me is it will be easier to wear under a shell and not worry about it getting compressed or wet as much as with a ultra light high fill power down shirt.

I'm 184cm and 72Kg (6.1/160) and I'm often in between a Medium and Large due to broad shoulders. Got a Medium and it fits great. If you want to layer a lot under it, or you like a looser fit, you would probably like a Large.

I have a Atom SV (also Medium) and the two are sized to be worn together (the LT with the tighter fit, the SV looser) so no need to adjust sizing if you are thinking about going that route.

The hood is not as bad for me as for some other people. I've been in stormy winds twice and although the hood wasn't shut tight and let in air, it did stay securely on my head. I feel a cinch cord in a newer model would be well worth the weight though and really make the Atom LT 100% perfect for me. The hood on the Atom SV is perfectly adjustable with the cinch cords on the sides and in the back.

The remarks about the cuffs are not exaggerated. It's a sign of good design when you get something you never knew you needed. Arc'teryx is expensive but their attention to detail, their fabrics, and their cut (the fit) is the best there is.

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Ito Jakuchu

Ito Jakuchu wrote a review of on January 3, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I love these. Fit is everything and if you have a narrow or perhaps also normal foot, these fit really really well. Heel stays solidly in place, but toes have enough wiggle room. I bought these in my normal hiking shoes/boots size and they are a good length.

Construction of the upper is very tough, no stitching getting loose and nothing holds on to the material so much as with other boots/trainers.

I do wish they came in a non-GTX version as well, as they will get soaked in continuous steady downpours during the raining season. I have not yet owned another shoe or boot that didn't though.

Mid-sole is a good balance between some cushioning and solidity which give you a very secure feel when scrambling over rocks. There is a bit of a rock plate I think but I do get a bit tired feet. This is usually after more than 40Km [25Miles] though.

The outer sole has good grip, and the rubber seems to last quite a lot longer than similar boots I have with Vibram under them. Was kind of amazed by the difference in durability.

Overall I have never felt so 'one' with a shoe. The fit and thickness of the sole is exactly right and it is a pleasure to climb up steep terrain, or run down it.

In short, if these fit you (and I recommend trying some different sizes and shoes on), I doubt you will be disappointed.

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Ito Jakuchu

Ito Jakuchu wrote a review of on January 1, 2014

5 5

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

I did what you should never do - bought these a couple of hours before a climb into pretty difficult conditions. I'm really glad I did though.

We climbed up into knee to hip high fresh powder snow. Breaking trail and kicking steps was not a problem. Due to the worse than expected conditions we never made it to the peak but my feet were never a concern. I had solid footing and could manoeuvre well, and the S6K's never gave me any blisters or painful spots around the ankles or shins.

I have narrow feet. They have a tight locking heel and a little bit wider toe box that I think works well for narrow to normal feet. I think if you have wide feet these will not work for you.

I hopefully get to test these more this winter but my initial impression is that I'm very very glad I bought these. Light, and comfortable, but solid boots with a full shank that take any crampons if needed.

Update - climbing a mix of stomped down/icy snow and fresh powder yesterday confirmed my previous impressions.

I had packed but left my crampons and was debating climbing up as the trail started steep and icy. The hard sole, front crampon well and relatively sharp side edge of the Verto S6K, allowed me to kick hard enough to get just that little edge I needed. Performed very well and although it was a long hard climb, these were really comfortable till the end.

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Ito Jakuchu

Ito Jakuchu wrote a review of on October 5, 2013

3 5

I have a lot of Patagonia Capilene shirts in several thickness and I was looking forward to Capiline 2 using Polartec's Power Dry fabric. I think it is a great fabric and have it in several garments.
This Cap 2 shirt I noticed immediately starts to pile around the shoulders though. I have never had this happen with my other Power Dry garments, nor with the seemingly way more fragile open weave of the old Capiline 2 shirts.

I guess there is the chance I might have a bad sample but I would say buyer beware. I have seen other thin Power Dry shirts (from Millet, Outdoor Research) that I will now consider.

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Ito Jakuchu

Ito Jakuchu wrote a review of on October 5, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm a big fan of Outdoor Research, a lot of their gear works well and is well thought out.
For me these gaiters did't work so well and I think there are better alternatives out there, here are my impressions.

I wear 46 (US 11.5) and got these in a large. I could put these on no problem (removing shoes first of course). The top of the ankle 'sock' has a small elastic drawstring. I have quite thin ankles with very low bodyfat and the elastic is already tight. When I would wear these with mid high shoes or boots, the top part would go higher on my calf muscle and be too tight on its loosest setting. For an elastic cord with a drawlock on it the widest setting is simply too tight, especially for people with average or higher body fat levels.

These gaiters are made from very solid materials, with nice reflective accents that I always like to see on gear.
My problem with this soft shell material is that I think it's a middle of the road solution that works ok for a lot of conditions, but not great for any of them. It holds out debris of course, but if you need something waterproof this isn't it, the gaiter is too short for that, the fabric is not waterproof and dries slow. If you need waterproof/snow protection go with a GTX or eVent gaiter that comes up to your knees.
If on the other hand you just need small, light, breathable gaiters than there are others that do that better. Dirty Girl Gaiters for example are lighter, dry quicker and breath better than these - and they are cheaper too.

So, I would think through what conditions you want your gaiters for and make a choice: Either go with heavier, longer but fully waterproof gaiters, or go with even lighter, more breathable and faster drying gaiters.

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Ito Jakuchu

Ito Jakuchu wrote a review of on October 5, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have been using these light pair of mids in GTX in the rainy and typhoon season in Japan and this has provided me some good experiences/feedback.

The fit is great, I would say these are a normal/average width. Although I have narrow feet and these are a bit on the wide side for me, these are very comfortable and I only ever get minor blisters when I have to trek 6+ hours with soaking wet feet (yeah, see below for that).

Cushion is there but not overly squishy, just right, and the grip of the outer sole works really well for me. Previously I had trekked a lot with trail runners without a rock plate and this would leave my feet bruised after longer day treks (40~50Km). The TPU plate in the forefoot really helps with this, my feet feel well protected.

The upper of the shoe has a very simple design. There are not a lot of lines and stitches - usually points of failure or blisters - which I think looks good and performs well.

On Goretex - trekking twice a week during the rainy season in Japan my experience has been that when there is sustained rain my socks will start to feel wet after two hours. Then they will be soaked and sogging in 2,5 hours. I've had this happen quite consistently while hiking in continuous rain. The rain I'm talking about varies from normal sustained to intense sustained rain, sometimes was a bit less, sometimes a bit more. But my shoes never stayed dry for more than 2~2,5 hours.
I think there might still be cases where GTX could be good. In mild snow trails where you are not constantly subjected to lots of snow or water the GTX Mids were warmer and stayed dry enough (but I have limited snow experience).

I wish they would make these in a non GTX version, one that might dry out or drain quicker while walking. This would make for a better option in all but full winter season for me.

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Ito Jakuchu

Ito Jakuchu wrote a review of on March 24, 2013

5 5

Will update this review after long term use. For now I just have to say Westcomb makes high quality gear, with great attention to detail.
Regardless of breathability, which might or might not work depending on your output and climate, it is great to have proper pitzips with this fabric. Personally in humid summer weather or cold biting winters where I speed hike in the mountains, I prefer the ventilation over anything else. One of the lighter weight if not lightest NeoShells with pitzips out there. Napoleon pockets great and good length. Not super trim cut, between athletic and more relaxed. Highly recommended.

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