So, you took the old baggy-cut Arcteryx Stingray pants and removed the insulation? And you're calling them the Sabre pants? Ok, that's fine...
Seriously, maybe it's the fact that I spend so much time in my Theta mountaineering bibs that all the other Arcteryx bottoms feel like they're cut for 14yo snowboarders - which was me, 20 years ago. But these are cut so baggy through the legs that I feel like they're going to flap in the wind behind me! They're the right waist and length, but other than that they feel like they're 3 sizes too big.
And the ankle openings are so big they cover my entire snowboard boot - and all but the toe of my AT ski boots. I'm going to give them another try, but they got so much powder up the leg last time that I swapped out at lunch for some other pants!
Beyond that, the side zips, pockets, belt, and fabric weight are dead on. The lack of insulation is perfect for me, I run hot and like to pick my own level of insulation anyway. I just want to take these in to a tailor and get about 4 inches out of the leg diameter.
Disclosure: I occasionally receive and test GoreTex products through the Gore-sponsored MountainTechs and HuntingTechs programs. This was one of those items, but that didn't affect my review.
Love this hat for under my climbing helmet in the winter. I have a really large hat size, so it's a bit tight , but that allows me to fit it under my helmet without a lot of extra bulk. Keeps the wind out and my head warm. The ear flaps are nice, and can be tucked up when you don't need them. Doesn't pill up either. Full disclosure, I've been part of the Gore MountainTechs program since 2007, but I picked this hat up on my own.
When Asics discontinued the Trabuco GTX a few years ago, I was left looking for a replacement for a long-time favorite trail runner. This is it, no doubt. I love the built-in gaiter and the weight is good for a solid shoe. I haven't destroyed them yet, despite my best efforts on the scree and the muck of the Cascades. I'll buy another pair when I need to replace these. Full Disclosure, I've participated in the Gore MountainTechs project since 2007, but I had to buy these myself. I'd do it again, too...
These are my daily wear shoes for the winter here in Oregon. Waterproof and when paired with shell pants, they keep me dry biking to work. I like the fit and the support, though they could be a little lighter. I'm impressed with the wear as well, since I spend a large amount of my time on rough floors in our shop. Full Disclosure, I got these through participation in the Gore MountainTechs project, but I'd be willing to buy a second pair when they finally wear out.
I love these little gloves for anything in dry conditions. I didn't find them to be baggy or drafty, as others have mentioned. Of course, I tried them on before I bought them, so I found the sizes that fit me best. The Windstopper does its job, keeping the wind out of the glove. As long as you stay dry, you stay warm. I use these gloves under a shell frequently, so they work great for me. And the leather palm is awesome compared to the rubber grips on a lot of gloves.
Full disclosure, I have been participating in the Gore MountainTechs program since 2007, though I did not receive these gloves from Gore.
Yes, it's expensive. So is buying two lesser quality "drysuits" in the span of 3 months. How do I know? Because I did just that...
I use my drysuit for work in large wave tanks at a coastal engineering test facility where the water temps are in the 40deg range. I got tired of wearing a thick wetsuit and being in and out of the water all day long and staying damp for hours. After two drysuits in the $700 price range failed (zippers leaked after a month each), I convinced my boss to step up to this suit instead.
No leaks, a year later and nearly daily use. Gaskets are tight but don't even drip. Fit is close, but not too constructing after wearing a wetsuit. Zippers are tight at first and loosen up a little with use and slide easier - but they're still waterproof.
Suggestion, find good, heavy fleece tights and pullovers for underneath. No inherent insulation in the suit, so you'll need some if you'll be in the water at all.
Full disclosure, I've been participating in the Gore MountainTechs program since 2007 but did not receive this item through Gore.
So, like a lot of Arcteryx gear, this jacket seems to have taken a direct aim at fixing the problem of a minority of users. Namely, the offset top of the main zipper which some people don't like having right in front of their face when the weather is wet/cold. I can see the idea, and I appreciate it. When I was a kid in the Midwest, I got the constant chafing of a crappy zipper under the nose when skiing.
But I think solving the zipper issue created other issues with this jacket. The collar seems strangely stiff on one side if you have it zipped but don't have the hood up. If you leave it open, the flap is longer on one side and tends to flap more. And, though the offset zipper helps with "zipper stacking", it defeats any attempt to vent with a 1/4zip underlayer.
So, though I've used this one a few times, I helped it find a new home with a friend who LOVES it for the zipper. If he reviews it, he'll give it a 4-5 star rating.
I like the fit (a little looser than my mountaineering gear) and the feel (a lot softer and quieter than my Acteryx bibs) of these pants very much, but I have trouble keeping snow out of the back if I get in deep or fluffy stuff. They have an internal belt, but there's a little lip that seems to scoop snow up and allow it to either slide in or melt in place. They're good for days when it's a little cold (they have some insulation) and I'm not out in the backcountry but staying in bounds.
Full Disclosure, I've been participating in the Gore MountainTechs program since 2007 and have received similar pants in the past. Didn't affect my review of these pants though...)
This is the jacket that I wear the most, though I have several other options. It fits well, has appropriate pockets for everyday use, and is comfortable enough over lots of different under layers. I wear it through most of the PNW winter, with everything from freezing fog to pouring rain, and have been very happy with it.
That said, I have a different shell that I use for mountaineering. This one has too much micro fleece in the body and neck which wicks up water during all day activities.
Can't say anything for the RECCO reflector, I very seldom ski at resorts with this technology available. Lots of people ask what it is and how it works, though...
Full Disclosure, I've been participating in the Gore MountainTechs program since 2007 and have received several similar jackets for testing.
This vest has become an indispensable part of my gear in the past 5 years. I take it for all kinds of stuff, not just outdoors trips. It's in my bag for business trips, it's been on vacations, it's my go-to first layer for SAR training and missions.
It's light, it's warm, and it fits me perfectly. It packs down tiny in my pack when I'm not wearing it. The Windstopper laminate is great and really keeps the chill off, much more than any other vest I've ever had. Zippers are solid and feel like they're going to last, even after 5 years of heavy use. I like the tall collar, it stays out of the way when unzipped but protects against wind and light rain when it's up.
Only gripe: No inside pocket. Minor, I know, but it would be nice for things like a phone or keys to be a bit more protected.
Disclaimer: I'm reviewing this product having received it through participation in the Gore MountainTechs program, but I'd be saying the same thing if I paid full retail price for it.
There is NOTHING I hate more on a climb/hike/ski than wet socks and stuff in my shoes. NOTHING.
So, these are some of my favorite pieces of gear. I use them for everything. They're waterproof and burly, they keep everything out, and they fit every piece of footwear I own (other than Chacos and flipflops). They stay put, they don't creep up the back and let snow sneak in while post-holing, and somehow I haven't snagged them with a crampon point yet.
They just WORK.
(BTW, this is my second pair. The first were stolen from my luggage, but I received the second pair through my participation in the Gore MountainTechs product testing program. Doesn't change the fact that I love them, just made it easier to pick up a new set when mine went missing.)
I've had my Theta AR for about 2 months now. I ordered a large and it fits just about perfect. I'm 5'11", 200lbs, 42 chest, 32 waist. It's been great for the late spring, Pacific Northwest creeping damp. I've been reasonably dry through rain and wet snow, even while hiking with a heavy pack. Certainly no drips through the seams. The tunnel-style neck is nice too. Yep. It's expensive. But it's the best jacket I have in the closet right now.
Full disclosure: I have been participating in Gore's MountainTechs product testing program since 2007. Doesn't change my opinion of it, just means the lawyers want me to say that. :)
This is, by far, one of my favorite jackets. I take it on nearly every trip, all four seasons in Oregon. It's decently water resistant, warm for the weight and loft, close-cut enough that I can climb without it being in the way, and takes a beating without damage. It's almost completely windproof as well, the only draft being along the hem where the elastic cord has worn out.
My only real gripe is the tiny internal wrist cuffs. I get that they're supposed to be tight-ish for keeping ice and snow out for climbing, but they're so small that I can hardly get my hands through - and forget about pulling your sleeve up to check your watch! I wish they were a little bit softer on the elastic or maybe adjustable.
My review of this product is in no way influenced by the fact that I'm in the Gore MountainTechs product testing program. I'd say the same if I weren't...
This is, without doubt, the best pair of bibs I have ever tried. I used to not be a fan of bibs as they seemed to be a bit... constricting. The Theta SV bibs don't ride up like many of the others I've worn in the past, they stretch just enough to stay in place and move with me. I've spent days in them on winter backcountry trips, abused them during SAR exercises and missions, and generally mistreated them for at least 4 years. They're still waterproof, the zippers still work, and they still feel great.
My only gripe is the tiny chest pockets seem to catch condensing water vapor from sweat. DON'T use them as an iPhone pocket unless it's in a plastic bag, even though they seem the perfect fit.
(Full Disclosure: I have been involved in the Gore MountainTechs program since 2007 and have received these bibs for testing as a part of that program.)
I've had my Alpha SV for about 3 years now. I ordered a large and it fits just about perfect. (5'11", 200lbs, 42" chest, 32" waist - only know that because I've been in too many weddings recently).
It's been my go-to jacket for living in the Pacific Northwest, with heavy snow, driving rain, and creeping damp. I've been totally dry (except those days where there's no humidity gradient from inside to outside the jacket) and my other layers have been well-protected from the weather.
No drips, no wear marks, no seams splitting, no holes. Cut is close enough to be unobtrusive, but doesn't constrict movement.
I'm not convinced on the "crossover" pockets though. They're fine for stashing stuff while climbing, but they're awkward when I wear this jacket for other uses (like going to work or around town). I finally just accepted that limitation and use a different jacket when I'm doing non-technical things.
Yep. It's expensive. Everything that's nice and lasts seems to be.
(Full disclosure: Though I purchased this jacket, I have been participating in Gore's MountainTechs product testing program since 2007 and have received other Gore-Tex products through participation there.)