Arcteryx Alpha SL jacket for men is super light, hence SL in the name, and yet completely waterproof and breathable rain jacket suitable for the hardest outdoor activities like rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, and alpinism.
This is a Gore-Tex jacket with 40 denier ripstop fabric and PackLite membrane, and with only 305 g (10.8 oz) average weight. There exist versions for both men and women, with essentially the same features.
Best price and place to buy
- The best place regarding the price and shipping conditions is usually Amazon.com.
What makes Arcteryx Alpha SL jacket so good
The word Alpha denotes the series focused on climbing and alpinism. This implies that it is designed to be compatible with a harness, and the features include:
- the appropriate length,
- the position of the pocket such that it can be used when you have harness or hip belt on,
- helmet compatible hood,
- drop hem,
- hemlock inserts which help prevent the jacket from riding up under a harness,
- high durability-to-weight ratio,
- lightweight materials,
- minimalist design,
- extreme packability in the included stuff sack.
In the specifications below you will see N40r, which means 40 denier nylon ripstop. So this is not a hard shell material, and this is the reason I include this jacket in the list of rain jackets for men. More about various types of breathable materials you can read in my another text.
SL series should not be mixed with Arcteryx Alpha FL jackets which are the top class regarding the durability and other features (like Gore-Tex PRO membrane). You can see more in this text. So SL series is a minimalist jacket mostly aimed at emergency use when needed against elements, and not for everyday wear and tear.
This is a 2 layer jacket with PackLite membrane. The jacket has one single chest pocket. I am sure this is justified in view of the purpose and design of this jacket, but this is far from what I love to have in a jacket. One drawcord with a toggle is on the hem. On the cuffs, you have velcro tabs, no elastic.
The hood is very functional, helmet compatible, fully adjustable, with three adjustment points. One toggle and drawcord is on each side of the face, and one on the back. The brim is simply perfect.
Zippers are waterproof and without external storm flaps.
Here is a very short promotion video by Arcteryx:
Pros and cons
The jacket has received a number of reviews by Amazon customers with the average 4.4/5. See my rating below.
Rating breakdown of the Arcteryx Alpha SL jacket for men
Comparison with other brands
See where Arcteryx Alpha SL jacket for men stands when compared with some other top brands with similar features and purpose.
|Roll away hood||yes||yes||no|
|Internal mesh liner||no||no||no|
|Pit zips||yes||yes, very long||no|
|Stows into its pocket||yes||yes||no, but there is stuff sack|
|Material||nylon ripstop||polyester||nylon ripstop|
Obviously, Arcteryx is indeed the lightest but this is on the account of features. So I would say that I am not so impressed with its weight alone. If the weight is a factor for you, then Marmot Essence with 179 g is a far better option.
In the moment of writing this text, the prices for the models given in the table were, respectively: $69, 161, 240. So my ranking is motivated by the features and prices at the moment of writing the text. The prices change all the time so please follow the links in the table. You might rank them differently.
List of technical specifications and features
- Weight: 305 g (10.8 oz).
- N40r GORE-TEX fabric, with PacLite membrane.
- Compressible and packable.
- DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish.
- Micro-seam allowance (1.6 mm) for reduced weight.
- Fully seam-sealed, narrow GORE seam tape.
- One-hand adjustable drawcords.
- Anatomical shaping for fit and comfort.
- Chest pocket with WaterTight zip.
- Gender specific patterning.
- Articulated patterning for unrestricted mobility.
- Articulated elbows.
- No-lift gusseted underarms.
- Helmet compatible StormHood.
- Laminated chin guard.
- WaterTight external zippers.
- Zipper garages to protect zipper closure.
- Micro corded zipper pulls.
- WaterTight full-length front zip.
- Laminated die-cut Velcro cuff adjusters.
- Adjustable elastic waist.
- Drop back hem.
- Harness HemLock inserts keep the jacket in position under harness.
- Includes stuff sack with webbing loop.
To conclude this text about Arcteryx Alpha SL jacket for men and women, this is a kit designed for a very specific purpose, and as such it is really great. This is a very reliable tool which will keep you safe from elements. But if you decide to buy it, bear in mind its true purpose and the lack of many features which you might love to have in a jacket which you would use in daily life. Note that this jacket is included in my Arcteryx jackets list, so please have a look.
You might want to check also this new 2017 Marmot Magus jacket for men, which is a bit lighter than the Alpha SL jacket and with similar features. Check also this Marmot Spire with a 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric, or the Outdoor Research Optimizer which is a hard shell Gore-Tex.
As already pointed out in the title, there exists Arcteryx Alpha SL jacket for women as well, with the same features.
Thank you for reading, I shall be happy to have some comment from you, there is a comment box below. Have a nice day.