“With my Mack and my Merry’s I’m ready to hike!”
A silly phrase I coined 2 ½ years ago as I went on some of my first real hikes wearing what was, at the time, my hiking uniform; a North Face DWR Rain mack and a pair of Merrell Siren Song Mid Sport hikers (my “Merry’s”). You can see me sporting these very items in the picture above.
The items have changed but the phrase still applies.
I now own an Arc’teryx Alpha LT Goretex jacket (and a pair of La Sportiva Evo Nepal Mountaineering boots, but we will save those for another post) which has come to be one of my favorite pieces of gear. Weighing in under 12 ounces, it’s so lightweight that I pack it on every trip, summer or winter.
Here are some of the features that I have come to appreciate since owning this jacket and using it in the mountains:
– Provides full on weather protection. It keeps out moisture whether it’s rain or snow and works double duty as a windproof barrier for those, more often than not, windy summit days. I have used this jacket in conditions ranging from full on winter snow storm, summit camping, lashing rains of the NWP and dry blustery days. It’s the most essential piece of my layering system.
-What’s with the location of the pockets? That’s what I first thought when I put it on, fresh off the hanger, in the warmth and comfort of my living room. But, get out on a glacier or on rock, put on a harness, backpack and all the other gak that goes along with this type of awesomeness, and you soon realize that the strategically placed reach-across pockets are the best thing that just happened to you. The easy access pockets make for great storage of your mobile phone, extra slings or any other items you need to keep handy but out of the way.
– Helmet Compatible Hood. I can’t speak for everyone but unless you are feeling some serious frigid temperatures, I personally don’t like to wear a toque under my helmet as I tend to overheat pretty quickly and it’s a real hassle to have to take off your helmet and toque whenever you get too warm. Which is why I love this hood. It fits right over my climbing helmet with room to spare and cinches in at just the right spots for a nice snug fit (which by the way is great for when you’re not wearing your helmet as these adjustable cinch points on the hood keep it from blowing off in the wind). It keeps the brunt of the chill and wind off my head and is super easy to remove if I start to overheat.
-Lightweight. Now I know I already mentioned this but this jacket is surprisingly light for all the protection it offers. It also packs right into it’s own hood so the packability of this jacket is great.
Overall I have to say I love this jacket. I’m impressed with how efficient and streamlined it is every time I wear it. It is definitely on the pricier side of the Gore-Tex products out there, so it’s really up to you if you feel it’s worth the money. But personally for me this jacket keeps me warm, dry and comfortable in some of the most uncomfortable situations I put myself in, so to me that is worth the extra pennies!