The tactical industry has brought on a crowd of folks that tend to go for “trendy” products.  Yes, tactical stuff has gotten trendy.  I consider Arc’teryx to be a brand that falls into the line of stuff that these people consider “trendy” and want to buy whether they need it or not.  I always looked at the Arc’teryx LEAF line as stuff that was nice gear, but just not feasible for the price.  I would look at it, even try it on…but never pull the trigger on buying it.  The cost was always too high for me.  Then I got the opportunity to get some gear with a pretty good discount.  I couldn’t pass this up, because it was a pretty substantial discount.

The pieces of gear I’ve ended up with on deals are the Atom Hoody jacket, the RHO ¼ zip, combat pants and Naga Hoody.  The first pieces of gear I recieved were the jacket and the pants.  From there, I just hunted for sales and ended up with more.  Why did I get more of this expensive stuff?  Well that’s why I’m writing this article.

One of the first things I noticed when I got my jacket was how light and thin it was.  Despite this, when I tried it on in my house I couldn’t wear it very long.  It still wasn’t  very cold outside, and inside wearing this jacket was a bit much.  I live in North Carolina, and I keep it unzipped most of the time.  This thing is super warm.  Also, as I closely inspected it I noticed the quality.  All of the sewing, the zippers, the adjustments, pockets…everything is on point.  As with all of the Arc’teryx gear I have, this stuff is obviously quality.  The combat pants seem like they’ll last a lifetime, as well as the other stuff I have.  In short, I was very impressed with the gear I received.

So what about the cost, is it really worth it?  In my 38 years on earth I’ve always been known as someone who was frugal, but I like quality stuff.  I agree with all of the nay-sayers that believe Arc’teryx is over-priced.  I can see how you would think that.  Granted, this stuff isn’t going to fit into everyone’s budget.  Nor should it.  Not everyone needs this level of build for some cold weather gear.  I often take the route of, “you get what you pay for”.  I’ve been burned going the cheap route too many times, so I tend to spend the extra dollar for good gear these days.  There are some things out there that are over-priced and not necessarily worth the tag, but I would not put Arc’teryx in that category.

I can’t speak for their packs or other gear since I don’t have any, but I’ve mostly heard only good things about any product they make.  I’m not saying Arc’teryx is what you need to buy for cold weather gear, it may not be what you need.  I am going to say that you won’t be disappointed.  You know your budget and what fits you, but if Arc’teryx fits your budget then I would encourage you to pull the trigger on it.  Start small and get a top or soft shell jacket, then go from there if you like it.  Be careful though, once you get started it’ll be like potato chips, you can’t have just one.

-Chad Ray

TD Blog Contributor