Arc’Teryx Alpha LT Jacket

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Manufacturer Description

Exceptionally lightweight, durable and fully waterproof jacket for all alpinist sports; ideal for use with a climbing harness. Our lightest 3-layer GORE-TEX Pro Shell. The Alpha LT is the tool of choice for the fast and light alpine crowd. Tough GORE-TEX Pro Shell serves up full weather protection and is further enhanced by our technical features. Lightweight and supple, this alpine focused jacket features an improved Storm Hood and the harness HemLock feature keeps the jacket hem from rising above a climbing harness.

Features

  • Main fabric – 320N GORE-TEX Pro Shell 3L
  • DWR finish (Durable Water Repellent) helps bead water from fabric surface
  • Micro-seam allowance (1.6 mm) reduces bulk and weight
  • Fully seam-sealed with Tiny GORE seam tape (13 mm)
  • Laminated high-strength hanger loop
  • One-hand adjustable drawcords
  • Generous cut for easy layering
  • Anatomical shaping for fit and comfort
  • Gender specific patterning
  • Articulated elbows
  • No-lift gusseted underarms
  • Helmet compatible Storm Hood
  • Laminated brim
  • Glove-friendly hood adjusters
  • Laminated chin guard
  • Internal chest pocket with laminated zip
  • Two high, crossover hand pockets with laminated zippers
  • WaterTight external zippers
  • Molded zipper garages
  • Pit zippers for easy venting
  • Corded zipper-pulls reduce noise and are easy to grab
  • WaterTight Vislon front zip
  • Laminated die-cut Velcro cuff adjusters reduce bulk, and won’t catch or tear off
  • Drop back hem
  • Laminated hem
  • Harness HemLock inserts keep jacket in position under harness
  • Embroidered logo
  • Non-chafing label
  • Measured size medium
    • Weight – 357 g (12.6 oz)
    • Pit to Pit – 64 cm (25.2 in)
    • Center back – 79 cm (31.1 in)
    • Sleeve Length – 89.5 cm (35.2 in)
  • Retails for $500

YMMV Review

The Arc’Teryx Alpha LT has been my go to shell for some time now. I have always been a big fan of Arc’Teryx clothing due to their trimmer fit and superior construction practices. If you look at an Arc’Teryx garment, you can see the attention to detail. Every Arc’Teryx product is engineered to meet the needs of the most demanding athlete. Activity-specific patterning ensures complete freedom of movement, and each product is critically scrutinized and detailed for the intended end use.

Front View

Testing

I have used this shell for a variety of activities. I used it around town, snowshoeing, hiking, and mountain climbing. The Alpha LT has been the go to shell.

Design ★★★★☆

  • Appearance (10%) – 4.5

  • Construction (25%) – 5

  • Features (15%) – 4.5

  • Materials (10%) – 4.5

  • Packability (10%) – 4

  • Pockets (10%) – 3

  • Sustainability (10%) – 2

  • Weight (10%) – 4

    Back View

The Alpha LT Jacket is a lightweight bomber shell jacket. It is made with Gore-Tex 3 Layer Pro Shell fabric to save weight but still get the performance benefits of Gore-Tex Pro Shell. The 320N Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric used is the lightest weight Pro Shell fabric Arc’Teryx uses. It is a high tenacity nylon face fabric with a flat filament warp yarn and false twist textured fill yarn, backed with a micro-grid woven backer. This fabric is lightweight, durable, and has excellent water repellency. The fabric has a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) finish. For more information about Waterproof/Breathable Jackets and Gore-Tex, click on the banner below.

Arc’Teryx works closely with textile manufacturers to select and aid in the development of the highest performing and most durable materials available in order to maximize the performance properties of their products. This is obvious when you look at any portion of the jacket. The jacket is lightweight and feature loaded even at its svelte weight. The Pro Shell a fabric is stitched together with a higher stitch count than its competitors, and many of the added features are laminated to the fabric rather than stitched. These construction techniques make for a cleaner, a lighter, and more durable jackets. On the inside Arc’Teryx uses their tiny seam tape to create a watertight jacket. Tiny tape is less bulky and further reduces the weight of the jacket.

Inside Pocket

There are three pockets on the jacket. Two chest level pockets which are high enough to be out of the way of a backpack hip belt and one interior pocket. The outer pockets and front zipper use a watertight zipper which is highly water resistant. Essentially, water can get through, but it is unlikely in most conditions. One thing that Arc’Teryx has always been good at is making a hood. The hood on the Alpha LT is attached but has several adjustment points to change the volume, whether you have a helmet on or not. At the wrist cuff, there are laminated Velcro closures to adjust the cuff size. At the bottom of the jacket, there is an internal adjustable drawcord to cinch up the bottom of the jacket to block wind or snow from coming up from below.

Arc’Teryx has even though of the little things to make this jacket over the top awesome. The back logo is laminated on with a hanging loop for both strength and no chafing. At the bottom hem on each side, there is what Arc’Teryx calls HemLock inserts. These are foam pieces, which will keep the jacket from pulling up out of your harness if you are climbing. You can rest assured that if you put your harness over your jacket, it will stay there. Finally, they have put pull cords through their zippers not only for ease in grabbing them but also for noise reduction. You can tell by these smaller details that this jacket is carefully thought out.

Immaculate Seam Taping

The Alpha LT jacket is unfortunately not made of sustainable materials. Arc’Teryx believes that their jackets are made to last much longer than their competition; therefore, saving the customer from needed a new jacket further down the road. Officially here is the statement on their site: “Arc’Teryx believes in integrity and responsibility. Due to the present state of textile technology and our unwillingness to sacrifice technical performance, the majority of Arc’Teryx products are made with materials derived from non-renewable resources. We have not yet found acceptable renewable alternatives that don’t substantially affect our product’s performance or durability.” Hopefully, we are not too far away from developing some textiles that perform just as good and are also from sustainable or recycled recourses.

Fit ★★★★☆

  • Adjustability (15%) – 4

  • Arm Length (20%) – 4.5

  • Comfort Next to Skin (15%) – 2.5

  • Ease of Movement (20%) – 4

  • Hood (10%) – 3.5

  • Torso Sizing (20%) – 4.5

    Water Tight Chest Pocket Zipper

The Alpha LT Jacket is made with Arc’Teryx XPD with e3D (ergonomic 3-Dimensional patterning) anatomical patterning.  This Expedition Fit is cut roomier than their Athletic fit and is suitable for winter/extreme conditions. XPD garments are cut larger to accommodate multiple layers without binding or restricting movement. I am normally a medium in most manufacturers, and that is what I got in this jacket as well. I have always been a fan of Arc’Teryx fit as they seem to fit a trim guy like me well. The arms are a bit longer than other brands I have tested and the torso is normally a little smaller.

The Alpha LT Jacket hits me just right. There is enough room underneath to fit extra layers but when just having a baselayer on it is not to loose. I can easily fit a down jacket under this shell if needed. The arms are nice and long and with the gusseted construction they stay down around my wrists even when lifting and using my arms. Around the wrist, there are lots of adjustability with the laminated Velcro adjusters.

Performance ★★★★☆

  • Breathability (20%) – 3

  • Versatility (30%) – 4

  • Warmth (10%) – 2.5

  • Water Resistance (20%) – 5

  • Wind Resistance (20%) – 5

    Hood with Multiple Adjustments

Arc’Teryx has made the Alpha LT Jacket for their Ascent Line. The jacket was primarily made for alpine climbing and backcountry skiing, but I have found it is useful for many other activities. The 3-layer Gore-Tex is durable and lightweight while still being completely waterproof. The jacket totally blocks wind and rain making it a great option for demanding conditions. While the Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric does not breathe very well, the pit-zippers allow for ample venting when you get warm inside. The Alpha LT jacket is just a shell jacket so it should not be expected to provide any insulating warmth. Since it does block the rain and wind it will keep you warmer than without.

The Alpha LT jacket has not once leaked in all my uses. The water-resistant zippers have also performed flawlessly and not let any water in through there either. All the zippers have worked without any issues. The adjustable cuffs at the wrist and adjustable hem have also worked flawlessly. With Arc’Teryx you know you are going to get a well-designed jacket.

Bottom Hem with Adjuster

Overall ★★★★☆

Overall, the Alpha LT Jacket is only a slight compromise between durability and function. The lighter fabric is slightly less durable, but it is nice and lightweight. The build quality and weather blocking properties are far superior to many of its competitors. While the Gore-Tex Pro Shell does not breathe very well during intense activities, the pit-zips help increase the airflow. I primarily use this jacket for hiking, climbing, and backcountry skiing, which makes it an ideal jacket. I am always a fan of the Arc’Teryx fit, and this is no exception. While you may pay for this quality at the cash register ($500), you get a high-performance jacket that will last a long time. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Superior build quality

    Conquering Heroes
  • Completely waterproof and windproof
  • Great fit for tell skinny guys like me
  • Pit-Zips

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Gore-Tex Pro Shell does not breath very well during high intensity activities

Adventures

About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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