ARC’TERYX AL­PHA IS

Backpacker - - NEWS - $899; 1 lb. 6 oz. (m’s M); m’s S-XL, w’s XS-L; arc­teryx.com

OUR TAKE Don’t choke on your Clif Bar: This $900 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.

THE DE­TAILS 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.

TRAIL CRED “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.

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