Ryan Swank

Ryan Swank

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Ryan's Passions

Mountain Biking
Alpine Skiing

Ryan's Bio

Ryan Swank

Ryan Swank wrote a review of on January 26, 2012

4 5

I was very excited to try this jacket on and get based on researching different jackets. I had considered the Arcteryx Stingray and Theta, Mountain Hardwear Snowtastic/pocolypse as well as a few others.
I also thought it would be cool (albeit obnoxious) to wear this for warming up at Alyeska before a heli trip in AK.

First of all, the craftmanship of the Alyeska is superb, the attention to detail is incredible. Pockets where you need them, great zippers and the ability to connect to Mammut pants is a nice touch. The sleeve 'gaiters' are awesome and should be standard on ski shells. While I wouldn't call this an insulated jacket, it does have a nice layer of fleece that is a bit more substantial than the Arcteryx Stingray.
The jacket also looks great which while taking a back seat to fit, performance and features is still important when considering shelling out this kind of cash. I really like the constrasting colors of the zippers.

One negative is I'm not too hot on the partial zipper. I get the concept that it supposedly allows better flexibility with a helmet but 99% of the time I won't be wearing one and it seemed a bit of a gimmick. Didn't try it with one though so can't say.
The reason I ultimately didn't end up getting this is the fit wasn't right for me.
I'm 5' 11" 180lbs and always find trouble finding gear that has long enough sleeves, is not too tight in the shoulders and is not overly bulky and "poofy" across the chest. The Alagna in a Medium fit very nice so was hoping the Alyeska would be similar. Unfortunately not, the Alyeska was way too tight across the shoulders and under the armpits whilst the Large felt great but was way too bulky across the chest - even with a Patagonia down sweater on.
I ended up getting the Stingray in Medium and really am happy. It's 80% of the jacket for $200 less and the fit is incredible.

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Ryan Swank

Ryan Swank wrote a review of on January 20, 2012

5 5

I just got one and love it. The Strato is definitely heavier than the Covert (1 layer vs. double) and is very warm.
I prefer the Covert for all day lounging. The cuffs on this are great.
I'm 5'11" 180lbs. and the Medium fits perfectly.
I can't say enough about the great fit I've experienced with Arcteryx - at least this and the Covert (I'll see soon about the Stingray). The sleeve length is a little longer than the Covert and I appreciate this under a shell as my arms stay covered all the way to the wrists during activity (which the nicely designed cuffs also help with).
I really like the honeycomb like pattern on this.
All in all a great fleece, not sure it's worth $200 but it's definitely another high quality item from Arcteryx.
By the way, I noticed this is NOT made in China but is made in El Salvador which I hope is the start of a new trend to bring manufacturing back to our hemisphere.

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Ryan Swank

Ryan Swank wrote a review of on January 20, 2012

5 5

I am sad to read the recent review of another long time owner of the covert who has reported it's not as good as it used to be.
Both of mine were made in Canada so maybe something has happened to the quality in China but I hope that it was just an anomaly.

I fell in love with this sweater the first time I tried it on at Bivouac in Ann Arbor. I got one shortly after and the nagging feeling of "I spent how much for a fleece?" quickly went away after I realized I wore it damn near every day. My wife ended up getting me another one since she knew I loved it so much and it started to show its age and use. While it resists pilling it does pill after several months of regular use. Careful use of the electric fuzz buster takes care of this and makes it look good as new. My zipper broke after 4 years and Arcteryx replaced it free (just shipping) so kudos to them.
I love the small shoulder pocket which I call the "dollar pocket" because I always keep a single folded up in there.

FIT:
I'm 5'11" 180 and the medium fits like a second skin.
Not too tight and not loose by any means. Perfect arm length and great articulation. I live in mine (have 2 black and an olive like green).

PERFORMANCE:
Wicks well, breathes great, has zero wind resistance (to be fair, it isn't claimed to be).
You can wear it next to skin as it's very soft and the seams are away from pivot points but I prefer a baselayer (T-shirt most of the time b/c I live in this thing - ha).

COMPARED TO:
Arcteryx Strato, just got one and love it. The Straot is definitely heavier than the Covert (1 layer vs. double).
I prefer the Covert for all day lounging. The cuffs are different, Covert is standard style elasticized cuffs.
The other main difference is the "weave" pattern, the Covert looks more like ribbed merino whereas the Strato has a honeycomb like pattern.

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Ryan Swank

Ryan Swank wrote an answer about on January 20, 2012

Go with the Large.
I'm 5'11" 180 and the medium fits like a second skin.
Not too tight and not loose by any means. Perfect arm length and great articulation. I live in mine (have 2 black and an olive like green).

Plus 1 on the Strato recommendation, just got one and love it. It's a little heavy for all day lounging but is a great midlayer.

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Ryan Swank

Ryan Swank wrote a review of on January 19, 2012

3 5

I got this as a cold weather counterpart to my Mountain Hardwear Alchemy (which I absolutely love and can't recommend more highly - both collar and waist cinch) but is not very warm.
I thought this might be just what I wanted when I didn't feel like donning my down sweater.
The medium was a great fit (I'm 5'11" 180) and love the fact that this didn't exhibit the typical Patagonia chest poof. Initially I was concerned with lack of hem cinch as others have pointed out but was pleased to see that the fit was nicely snug for me. I had even noticed that there was an open channel all the way from zipper to zipper in the fabric where you could put your own cinch in the hem.
The deal breaker for me, however, was the large cuffs and lack of any elasticity whatsoever. I could almost already feel the cold wind shooting straight up my arms even though I was inside.
If the cuffs were "stretch-knit" like the excellent Arcteryx Strato http://www.backcountry.com/arcteryx-strato-fleece-jacket-mens.html then I would have kept this.

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Ryan Swank

Ryan Swank wrote an answer about on January 13, 2011

I'm 5' 10.5 and weigh 170 w/ somewhat broad shoulders.
If the arms were longer I would have gone with a small but had to go w/ a medium for sleeve length.
If I had been able to try on the MH Nitrous I may have gotten that b/c of it's athletic fit.
This is a great jacket but really way too much material in the chest to be used as a midlayer IMO. I may look at the possibilities of getting 3 inches on each side of the zipper removed.

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