Nestled in the mountains of British Columbia, the Arc'teryx's home base is where their clothing is designed and manufactured. This location is less than 60 minutes from being in the backcountry. That means designing a bombproof jacket in the morning and taking a lunch break to test it out in some of the world's most hardcore and unforgiving environments. With one of the world's largest temperate rainforests, as well as several unclimbed peaks in the vicinity, creating purposeful clothing and gear pieces for tackling these environments is one of Arc'teryx's core philosophies.
It takes more than living in the mountains to create some of the most durable and functional clothing and gear in the world. Arc'teryx's design center and ArcOne, their manufacturing center, are state of the art facilities where designers can go from playing in the mountains to playing with design and manufacturing. Consisting of hundreds of employees across different divisions and with diverse expertise, designers can collaborate with new materials and technologies to create innovative products. With extreme attention to detail and partnering with other innovative companies such as Gore-Tex and Polartec, Arcteryx can take industry-leading materials and create innovative industry-leading products. Did you know that it takes over 190 distinct operations and around 4.5 hours to make one Alpha SV jacket? That's just for one product. Many of Arc'teryx's products take several hours and hundreds of operations to manufacture. One AR-395A climbing harness takes almost 2 hours to create, undergoing over 150 procedures, while one Nomin Pack from their Veilance collection takes nearly 5.5 hours and 126 operations, and one Cold Wx Parka takes almost 13.5 hours and 325 operations. I can keep this up all day. The moral of the story is; there's no cutting corners or compromising when it comes to being an industry leader.
Not only does Arc'teryx create some of the best clothing and gear in the world, but they continue to be one of the best while simultaneously focusing on sustainability and their environmental impact. The idea is that if they create a jacket or backpack that is durable enough to last for many years, then you will not have to replace it as often. With durability comes sustainability, which removes the need to acquire new gear every season. Even if something goes awry with one of your Arc pieces, Arc'teryx's commitment to repair and durability help extend any piece's life. If you are looking to further assist in sustaining their environmental impact, Arc'teryx also has a used gear program. This provides an opportunity for second-hand pieces to find a new home and not end up in a landfill but instead in someone else's closet. Talk about full-circle. Arc'teryx also focuses on its environmental impact in the design and manufacturing stages. Working with approved suppliers and monitoring metrics such as energy use, waste, and water pollution, Arc has minimized their environmental impact. In 2013, Arc started a partnership with Bluesign, where they committed to using 50% less water, 30% less energy, and 15% fewer chemicals to create their materials and products. By 2017, they had also made strides in responsibly sourcing down and using 100% organic cotton in all of their t-shirts.
If it hasn't become completely clear, this is what you should be picking up here: Arc'teryx is really good at crafting apparel, gear, and outerwear. A never-ending dedication to perfection has Arc'teryx going the extra mile (or kilometer, since they're a Canadian company) to make a good jacket great. You will find that the little extras- like no-lift gusseted underarms and articulated elbows- make the most significant difference in a first-class technical jacket. Jackets aren't the only thing Arc knows how to do well; climbers of all stripes appreciate the comfort and durability of an Arc'teryx climbing harness. Little known fact: the first product manufactured by Arc'teryx was a harness, and it was a massive hit in the climbing world. Serious backpackers also trust Arc'teryx packs for their durability and comfort. These lightweight technical daypacks hold your necessities for a day hike or a climb without restricting your movement or weighing you down. For a serious multi-day hike, you're going to need a serious multi-day pack, an area where Arc'teryx packs excel. Comfortable, lightweight, and water-resistant, the award-winning Arc'teryx packs have features galore and space enough for expedition size loads.
With such technical pieces come technical terminology as well. Since Arc'teryx's product lines are so specific for their respective activities, various products will have different classifications, so let's break it down. We got Alpinism/ Climbing, Essentials, Hiking, Lifestyle, Ski/ Snowboarding, Trail Running.
As you could probably guess, each collection will consist of materials and features specifically for that activity. For their climbing collection, you may see pieces designed for more efficient moving, gusseted armpits for a greater range of motion, and better protection from alpine environments like scraping up on rock and ice. For trail running and hiking collections, you may see pieces more focused on moisture management, weight, freedom of movement, and durability for the miles of trail ahead. Lifestyle and Essential pieces will be focused more on being used across various activities and conditions and include features to enhance functionality and comfort.
Part of each collection is additional categories to truly tune-in each piece for a specific activity. This helps define particular product features and intended uses.
If you thought collections and identifiers were still too vague to pinpoint the perfect jacket or fleece for your next outing, Arc'teryx breaks down their products further into product families. Each product family groups similar products together based on design characteristics or materials.
Alpha - These products are designed for minimalist alpine/ climbing activities best suited to protect against alpine environments.
Beta - Best suited for all-around performance across many activities or conditions.
Gamma - Stretchy mid-outer layers are designed to be abrasion-resistant and breathable while still maintaining some weather resistance.
Sigma - Softshell alpine/ climbing pieces focused on range of motion while still being lightweight and minimalistic.
Zeta - Focused more on hiking or trail running, these pieces will have features such as hip-belt friendly pockets and lightweight packability.
Delta - These fleece mid-layers are best used as a warm layering piece that still lets maximum airflow, helping dump heat when needed.
Atom - Mid-layer jackets and pants with a fair amount of synthetic insulation and relatively weather resistant. These help trap in warmth and are a great layering piece above your base layer and fleece.
Proton - Midlayers packed with synthetic insulation; these pieces also offer higher abrasion and weather resistance from the Atom family.
Cerium - Jackets built with down insulation, these products focus on lightweight packability and have excellent warmth to weight ratio.
Thorium - Midlayers consisting of down insulation with slightly beefier outer materials for enhanced durability.
Fission - Looking for something warm and burly? These waterproof and windproof insulated pieces will serve great as an outer layer in cold and wet environments.
Rho - Baselayers designed to wick away moisture while still being stretchy, comfy, and temperature regulating
Phase - Base layers focused on moisture management and quick-drying. Best suited for high output activities where staying dry is a priority.
Satoro - These base layers are made with merino wool instead of synthetic materials. Wool is best known for its temperature regulating, anti-microbial (odor resistant) properties, and staying warm even when wet.
A2B - Best for getting from A to B. Get it? These products will look right at home in the city as they would on a quick hike. So whether you're running from one subway stop to the other or biking to work, these pieces will help keep you moving, wick away moisture, and not look out of place in the office.
Bora - Best suited for the mountains, these hiking products are built to be durable for the miles ahead.
Incendo - Lightweight, breathable, and minimalistic products focused around trail running and offer little protection from the elements.
Norvan - Optimized for long miles and rough terrain, these products focus on durability and performance.
Procline - Hardcore pieces for the alpinist or skier looking to get first tracks in the harshest conditions. They are built for high performance and unforgiving alpine environments.
If you thought collections and categories were still too vague to pinpoint the perfect jacket or fleece for your next outing, Arc'teryx breaks down their products further into product categories. Each This helps define particular product features and intended uses.
AR: All-Around - Your general all-purpose "can't go wrong" category—the jack of all trades, master of none. Best used for a variety of activities and conditions, these jackets, pants, bags, and tops will emphasize versatility.
FL: Fast and Light - Just as it sounds, these pieces are designed to be more light-weight for fast travel or big ascents. Built with minimalistic features, these pieces can consist of fewer bells and whistles to cut weight or increase packability.
IS: Insulated - Usually found in their ski/ snowboard collection, these pieces will feature some sort of insulation to increase warmth and protection.
LT: Lightweight - Like their FL pieces, these lightweight products are going to focus on uber-minimalistic designs, slim fits, and extreme weight savings while maintaining their classic Arc'teryx performance.
LD: Long Distance - Seen in their footwear collections, these shoes and boots are usually going to provide more comfort, support, and durability for longer hikes and trail runs.
MX: Mixed Weather - These products are generally focused on being able to withstand the craziest weather conditions. Extraordinarily durable and breathable, these jackets and pants are going to be best suited for changing conditions and hardcore usage.
SV: Severe Weather - Looking to get something to withstand hurricane-force winds? Falling cascades of ice? Unforgiving deluge for days? SV Jackets and pants are going to be your best bet. Built with the most durable materials and super sealed to keep warm and dry, these pieces can take a beating even with prolonged exposure to the worst conditions.
SL: Superlight - With an extreme emphasis on packability and weight, these are best suited for someone looking to cut weight and fit everything and more into their pack.
VT: Vertical - Seen in their footwear collections, these trail runners focus on exceptional grip and durability for scrambling up sharp rocks and other changing terrains.