Jake

Jake

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Jake

Jake wrote an answer about on January 3, 2012

The Gamma MX is definitely more breathable (I have the old polartec version); however, you do sacrifice some of the windproofness (and waterproofness) that the Venta offers. As far as using the MX as a midlayer, I have found that my MX under my Alpha SV is great for sealing out weather; however, the MX does not offer much insulation for keeping you warm. I would objectively rate it the equivalent warming power as about a 100wt fleece. It does layer well due to the short cut of the garment.

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Jake

Jake wrote an answer about on March 29, 2011

It sounds like you are comparing 3 different animals here. If you are looking for a replacement for your TNF Mountain Jacket (which is probably made of Gore-tex), I would suggest looking at the Arc'Teryx Alpha, Beta, or Theta series. I believe the Venta line incorporates Windstopper which is great for stopping the wind, but is slightly stiffer and does not breathe quite as well as the Gamma MX, which is made with the Polartec Powershield membrane (slightly less wind resistance = slightly more breathable). I have the Gamma MX and love it! Gamma is also stretchier than the Venta line. But I would NOT use the Gamma or Venta as my only outdoor shell... Gore-tex is much more protective!

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Jake

Jake wrote a review of on February 24, 2011

5 5

This jacket, like most Arc products, definitely stands at the head of the pack in terms of conditions-specific gear. Below are some thoughts I have regarding this jacket. For sizing purposes, I am 6'1", 150lbs, and wear a Medium in this jacket. The front hem falls about 1.5 inches below my beltline and the rear hem hits about mid-butt. I'm a skinny dude, and there is plenty of room to layer under, even with the nice trim cut of the jacket. The sleeves fall to about mid-palm.

I'll start with the cons of this jacket:
1. Noisy! This jacket is seriously crinkly. If you ever want to be quiet and spy on anyone, leave the Alpha SV at home! Also, with the hood up, it is difficult to hear things going on around you due to the crinkly nature of the fabric.

2. Expensive! Seriously expensive. Even on sale it is more expensive than most shells I have seen.

3. Pulls are a little difficult to work, particularly with gloves on. I have not yet been able to locate and effectively pull the drawstring pullcords located in the pockets with gloves on. Maybe with more practice...

4. This jacket is clearly made with specific mountaineering activities in mind. As such, if you are an urban dweller looking for an around-town jacket, there are a few things that will drive you crazy, including: (a) location of external pockets (too high/centrally located to put hands in), and (b) size of hood (particularly when hood is down and you are sitting on train or in car and the brim rubs the back of your head).

Now to the Pros:

1. Overall feeling of invincibility and quality! This jacket simply feels "heavy duty". I feel like I could slide down a mountain made of sandpaper and cheesegraters and this would not be ripped.

2. Amazing detail/craftmanship! The stitching is perfect, the seam-sealing is perfect.

3. Hemlock (a piece of foam tubing about 4 inches long located on the right and left side hips) is nice for keeping the jacket from riding up, particularly because this jacket is not very long.

4. Zippers are completely watertight (I have pooled water on the main zip and none has leaked through). They do require a little extra "umph" to pull, but it is worth it for the water protection. Also, the pit zips are nice and long!

5. So light (and packable)! No extra flaps, stitching, pockets, lining, etc. Very minimalist = very light = very comfortable.

6. Arm pocket fits a cellie tellie no problem! (but the zipper is tough to work 1-handed).

7. Everything is extrememly adjustable. The hood can be sinched down in 4 different ways, I believe. And there is a hem drawstring and a torso drawstring to seal out the weather. The cuffs are easy to adust also with the elastic.

8. I'm just gonna say it... it is nice to be one of the few not sporting a TNF jacket now adays... there, I said it!

Overall I am very satisfied with the performance and styling of this jacket! I am excited to use it for many years to come!

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Jake

Jake wrote an answer about on February 23, 2011

I would recommend the Gamma MX, as it is the most versatile of the 3 you have mentioned and seems to have the broadest temperature range. The Hyllus is great as a mid-layer and is very warm, but really lacks the stand-alone protection. The Tau is a great choice, but also very warm (it is equiv to ~ 200wt fleece), so you would really be sweating in it while hiking hard. The Gamma MX is the most weather resistant of the 3 while still offering good warmth to weight ratio without being "too hot" due to great breathability. It is also nice and stretchy and just "feels good" with the stretch woven cuffs. Another important thing to note: the Gamma MX has a drawstring hem to seal weather out and warmth in, and the Tau does not. Goodluck!

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Jake

Jake wrote an answer about on February 10, 2011

I have a Medium Alpha SV and wear it layered with a Large Gamma MX. I am 6'1" and 150lbs. The main reason I went with the Large Gamma MX was the length (I didn't want my belly button showing when reaching!). They layer nicely without restricting movement and/or bunching.

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