Jakewrote a review of Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket - Men's on February 24, 2011
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!