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cattrack

cattrack wrote a review of on December 29, 2011

5 5

I us this as a layer for skiing. As other reviews will attest, this jacket is super light, and remarkably warm for its weight. My go to 1st layer (under a shell jacket) for skiing is an Arcteryx Atom LT jacket, which has a full zip + Powerstretch panels for ventilation, and so can be used over a wider range of temperatures. For myself, the optimal temperature range for wearing only the Patagonia Down Shirt (over a base layer) is around 15 - 25 degrees F. It works great in combination with the Arcteryx Atom when temperatures are lower and I'm not sweating a ton. Other things I love about this are: it's so small when compressed I have a hard time telling it's in my backpack; it's fairly windproof; it fits well and never catches on my jacket or other layers; the zipper goes fairly far down so one can get good (if not full) ventilation. Probably my favorite thing about it is that is so comfortable and light that I can't feel that it is on me. (The warmth tells me something must be there.)

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cattrack

cattrack wrote a review of on December 23, 2011

5 5

This is my go to layer for skiing on any day below 40 degrees F. I can understand the criticisms of some of the other reviewers here, but because of the way I use this jacket (which might differ a bit from them) it works perfectly for me and I give it 5 stars.
I wear this under a shell jacket and it has finally solved my layering problems for the first layer. My problem when skiing is I tend to be either too hot or too cold, and sometimes both if that makes any sense. My base layer also needs to be multipurpose so that I have options when adding another layer. So I need a layer that gives moderate insulation but breathes very well. This is where the Atom really shines. I can have it zipped open when I'm too warm, and then it feels like nothing is on me. The side panels are fantastic. When it's cooler and the Atom is zipped, it gives great insulation and is the only layer I need down to about 20 degrees F (depending on wind and sun conditions). But the real surprise is what happens when it's colder. My second layer is a Patagonia Down Shirt. When it's not too cold, the down shirt is over the Atom jacket. This way the combo breathes more and gives less insulation. When it gets even colder, I reverse the order and wear the down shirt under the Atom. This way I get more insulation and it breathes a bit less. With all the possible zipper adjustments of both layers, it's easy to handle anything down to about 5 degrees F (again depending on wind and sun). When it gets mega cold I add a Patagonia down sweater. Due to its light weight and packability, it's easy for me to stuff the Atom in my backpack, even with a lot of other gear there. Another nice feature is the pockets, which work quite well for me. When the outside pockets are zipped open, one gets extra breathability. I use the inside, chest level pocket to keep my cell phone from freezing up. If it gets to minus ten F with heavy winds, I can move my cell phone and put a body warmer in the chest level pocket.


Where I differ from other reviewers is perhaps how I wear my Atom jacket. It is true that wind can blow in the sleeves, but this never happens to me because the Atom is under my shell. It is also true that wind will blow up from the bottom of the Atom because there is no waist cinch. But if it is warm then this is an advantage, and when it gets colder I always tuck my layers into my ski pants, hence no wind problem. (My core tends to easily get very cold.) Yes, it looks lame tucked in, but hey, it's underneath my shell so nobody sees it. Perhaps Arcteryx might want to reconsider the length of the Atom, which I think is a couple of inches too short. But because of the way I use it, it's not a problem for me.

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cattrack

cattrack wrote a review of on December 23, 2011

4 5

These pants replaced my old Arcteryx Scorpions (great pants), which had survived more than 150 days before the lower legs turned to tatters. I will compare the Sabre to its approximate predecessor, the Scorpion. Many of my feelings are already reported in other reviews here, e.g.: belt (lame, but not a problem - I use my own leather belt which works great); cuffs (unlike the Scorpion there is no cinch or closure button, which is a minus); Recco reflector, which both the Sabre and Scorpion have, is a must for me; thin felt liner is excellent (a bit less fuzzy than the Scorpion) and adds a surprising amount of insulation given its thinness. On a frigid 8 degree F, cloudy day I tried out the pants with only very thin long underwear. Though I should have had an extra medium layer, to my surprise I survived pretty well. Both pants breath very well, with a slight nod to the Sabre.

As usual with Arcteyx, the construction seems to be top notch. (Time will tell.) I didn't find these pants too baggy as some others did, in fact I really liked the fit. I'm a 34 inch length and the Sabre's length seemed the right size. The Kevlar patch is much better than the Scorpion, which had nothing! (Even so, the patch seems a bit small to me.) For the Scorpion, I had to use boot gaiters to protect the cuff area. I have never had ski pants that, like the Sabre, have holes in the tops of the gaiters. Will this ever lead to snow going up in the pant legs if I tumble at Mach 2 in 3 feet of snow? (I don't know.) Because I'm unsure how well the gaiter works on the Sabre, I'll be keeping my boot gaiters in my backpack for a while. (And they also help out on super cold days.) My other complaint is the pockets. When skiing they keep my stuff in a very comfortable position. But when riding the chair I found the lower pockets contents tend to slide off to the side so I ended up sitting on them. (The Scorpion had great pockets, but there were only two of them, on the thigh.) My solution is to put most of my stuff in the two upper pockets. It seems to me that the design of the pockets could be improved, but perhaps others don't have this problem.

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cattrack

cattrack wrote a review of on December 21, 2011

5 5

This jacket replaces my Arcteryx Stinger jacket, which had more than 120 days and much abuse (still very functional). I wanted a similar style and bought the Vertical, which I just took out for a weekend of skiing. I'll compare this jacket to the Stinger and also comment on new features. The short verdict: Arcteryx just killed it. Their new jacket had everything I wanted and was even better than the formidable Stinger. As has been true for all my Arcteryx purchases, the construction is bomber. The new jacket has much improved front pockets (all four of them), which hold more and look much better when doing so. (No "Michelin Man" effect.) The zipper design is also greatly improved and much less prone to accidental opening. The powder skirt on my old jacket was too loose, but this one has two settings and is nice and snug. When I measured the two jackets I could not see much difference in the length. But the first thing I noticed is that the Vertical did not have a tendency to ride up, as the Stinger did. Overall the Vertical's fit seemed better, in fact flawless for me. The collar is nice and high which greatly helps those like me with cold necks. (Seems similar to the Stinger collar, which is great in deep stuff.) Clearly the Vertical slays it in the white room.

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