I've read certain places that the Gore softshell is just proshell with a fleece backer and softer outer fabric...don't know if it's true though.
Last ski season I ran across the Sabre SV in the greenlight color. It fit and I should have purchased it then but I didn't. Flash forward to this year and I finally bit the bullet and ordered the jacket in Tungsten. I'm a large in virtually everything Arcteryx but this was just huge. Overall the construction was nice and professionally done. The hood easily envelopes a ski helmet. The powder skirt always being there is annoying to me, but that's more of a personal issue I think. The fleecy inside is a nice touch as well.
The jacked looked cool but the fit did not work for me. I'm a large in virtually everything Arcteryx but this was just huge. It was too baggy in the torso and the sleeves were too long. I understand it's cut for layering and a relaxed look but coupled with the powder skirt being permanently attached and the fleece backer that limits this jacket to snow activities and nothing more I decided to return it. I did opt for the Theta SV, which is cut large but doesn't have a powder skirt and can be used in all seasons.
The Alpha should be softer. The Theta is conceivably more durable.
I have been doing a lot of research on super lightweight down jackets and narrowed things down to two options; the Patagonia Ultralight down jacket and the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer. I ordered both and my impressions favor the MHW in almost every discernible way.
The MHW is lighter (the large weighed 7.6 ounces on my digital scale), the fabric is softer to the touch, the down lofts higher because it's higher quality down (850 versus 800 fill), and, as a result, it's a warmer jacket. Additionally, the Ghost Whisperer packs down into its own pocket and doesn't require a stuff sack (the Patagonia comes with a stuff sack).
Now, a comment on fit. The cut of the MHW is fuller than the Patagonia for sure. I wouldn't really say the Patagonia is a "slim" fit as the website indicates but it is fitted somewhat. I don't think the MHW is an athletic fit as this website indicates. Frankly, I would call it "relaxed" in terms of fit but it still fits fine under my shell (as an aside, docking this jacket to 2 stars, like one of the reviews below, because it fits "large" is silly as it gives zero actual information on the actual merits of the jacket). I wear a large is virtually everything and that's what I purchased in the Ghost Whisperer. I have plenty of room for layers and honestly, if I didn't eat for a week, I could probably wear a medium. But I'm happy with the large.
In short, I returned the Patagonia. That was hard for me b/c I really like their stuff and I had sort of lost respect for MHW after they were purchased by Columbia. However, the Ghost Whisperer is simply superior to the Patagonia in every way to me. I'm very impressed and it really opens my eyes to MHW products again.
I wanted to like this jacket. It was light. I liked the color (Paprika). It was on sale. It was warm. I didn't find the snaps to be tight like others.
However, the cuffs are the fatal flaw for me. They are ridiculously tight to the point where I can't ignore it. I tried a large size and it fit perfectly in the body except for the cuffs. It was nearly cutting off my circulation. Because I was unsure of sizing I also ordered an XL. The cuffs on the XL felt no different. I've never considered myself to have large wrists, if that's even a thing, so be wary of the cuffs. If they were different, I'd probably be keeping the jacket. Oh well...
Go with the large. I'm about that size and the large had plenty of room.
I've used capilene off and on for the past 8-10 years and I feel like things have really improved over that time. The present iteration is very nice and to me, fits a little looser than it used. Perhaps I'm just small. Who knows. I feel like the piece wicks very well, dries quickly, is warm, and regulates temperature quite well. I had been using wool baselayers exclusively the past couple years but I may reevaluate things. The Capilene 3 is half the price of a nice wool piece. Good option.
If you want to use this as a piece layer over everything else I would opt for the larger size. It's exactly what I want to do with this jacket and I plan on sizing up.
thanks for the response man...good info
I've always wanted a jacket like the Fitz roy but it has zero practicality in North Carolina. I've had the down sweater once but it wasn't quite warm enough in the real cold. This may be the solution.
It's so much lighter than a pump filter, takes up virtually no room in my pack, and filters water quickly. I suppose if you were looking for a reason to complain it's sometimes difficult to completely fill the water bags prior to filtering. I use a dip and pull method to fill it up.
How much longer is this jacket really than the Alpha SV? The specs say the center back length on the Theta is 0.7 inches longer. Is that all we're talking about here?
1. Would you pick this or the Sabre for skiing (resort skiing only at the moment)?
2. What about for winter backpacking?
3. Which would you pick if you could only have one?
The new Alpha comes with the new N80p-X Pro Shell fabric (whatever that is). This year's Theta has N150p fabric and the Beta has a combo of fabrics but not the N80p. I believe the new Sidewinder and the new Sabre jacket have the N80p fabric as well.
I've used this jacket for the past 2 winters as my insulted ski jacket and have been pleased. It's windproof and very warm. It kept me toasty on a January ski trip in Jackson Hole for reference. I have been hesitant to really test its waterproofness since it's not marketed as being waterproofed but the DWR seems to work well in the light rain/snow I've had it in.
So I'm a bit confused on the difference between this and the normal Patagonia down sweater. The specs both list 800 fill down and a very similar weight. I thought "hi-loft" implied more down (fill weight), which would make it warmer. Is this correct?
Thanks for the info. I guess I was more concerned with whether it would be warm enough for Jackson Hole in January. You seem to imply it would be!
Was thinking about getting this to use under my shell for skiing in Jackson Hole in January but have a question. Coming from North Carolina I don't have huge experience with that level of cold. Coupled with a smartwool midweight or possibly a patagonia R1, will this be enough for out there? Thanks.
probably wouldn't recommend Scarpa at all for wide feet (unless you run across a wide size, which I'm not certain they even make)
Sorry never been in tropical conditions, I assumed you meant rainy but wanted to make sure. I've never seen any rust on mine at all (and I've left them in the rain overnight several times) but I never got any rust on any other trekking poles I've had either. I think these are the best primarily because they're more stable than others. As to grips, I prefer foam over cork. When wet foam may well absorb some water but I've considered my grips slick at all; I feel like cork might feel a bit slick (and hard plastic definitely will). I live in the southeast where 90 degree humid days are the reality in the summer and I think the grips still work great despite sweaty hands.
Seriously not trying to be a gear snob but $800 for anything made by Kelty is ridiculous. Get a top of the line Osprey for half that....or a Gregory...or hire a Sherpa for a trip. Like someone else suggested, it does resemble a garbage bag, albeit with "nice" embroidery.
based on your chest measurements I would definitely lean towards the XL or even a 2XL