Arc’teryx Sabre Men’s Jacket 1lb 7oz, $525; arcteryx.com
The Good: Great fit and flawless water tight construction.
The Bad: Big money but you get what you pay for.
The Ugly: The hood is designed a little too well, you almost have to be wearing a helmet for it to fit well.
I have to admit over the years my lust for jackets has put a dent in my pocket book. I always feel the need to try out new shells in the quest for THE ONE. Over time I think I have become spoiled as jacket construction has evolved, but Arc’teryx has always been ahead of the game when it comes to durability, weatherproofing, and comfort.
This jacket stood out to me as it was the familiar in appearance and fit but with a little more of a snowboard flair. This is a jacket for those who are looking for a little more substance in their shell. At a mere 1lb 7oz this jacket is not for those looking to pinch grams in the backcountry but it is still super light compared to the majority of its competitors. On a recent mid winter summit of Mt. Rose the Sabre was a perfect blend of comfort and light weight as it shed the freezing rain with no struggle. It was the wettest journey I have had in a while and at over 10,000 feet rain is just a degree away from being ice. The N80p-X GORE-TEX® shell material shed the rain so fast that it didn’t even have time to build up and ice over and the soft to the touch flannel lining added a bit of extra warmth. I am in love with these new soft-style shells, warm but breathable, and the Sabre’s is the best version yet. It keeps all of the unwanted weather out but lets me still feel loose and unrestricted while busting out the ever-elusive 540 in the terrain park. After 20 days in the park and about a hundred falls on rails and boxes the Sabre shows no sign of wear or abrasions, amazing considering the weight of the material. I have also used this jacket as a day to day shell in the cold Nevada weather.
The only complaint I have (and let’s be clear it is very small) is the hood size. I am a little small for a medium but the hood is huge, even with a helmet on. No matter how I use the cornucopia of adjustments, it still either falls forward over my eyes or bulges out near my temples, causing a funnel of cold air to channel wet snow down my back. I always wear a helmet, but sitting in camp the hood is so big I can pull it over my face.
Which will be great when I need a makeshift bivy.