Don’t choke on your Clif Bar: The $900 Alpha IS jacket justifies its price with an unusual blend of warmth, durability, and waterproofing. A two-layer Gore-Tex shell made with 40-denier, nylon face fabric provides blizzard-proof protection and bushwhack-proof construction, while 92 grams of synthetic insulation add an ideal layer of warmth—enough to keep you toasty without swamping out when you work hard. Our Alaska testers never overheated during ice climbs in 30°F temps, even without pit zips. However, the non-stretchy shell material doesn’t grant a huge range of motion.
Wrist gaiters slip easily under glove cuffs, and the side pockets sit high above a harness. Small hood toggles are tricky to grasp, but a big release button loosens easily.
“When a snowstorm rolled in during a ski tour in Norway, I stayed dry inside and out while wearing this jacket, since my sweat had fewer layers to push through,” one tester says. arcteryx.com