While some consider the monsoon conditions of November to be soul crushing, there may be no time better time to get outdoors and find more rock climbing. However, it takes a hell of a lot of gumption and good rain gear to suit up for the weather and get after it. It may just be the case that the Arcteryx Alpha FL Jacket is the answer to your problems.
Arc’teryx Alpha FL Jacket
The ultra-light and ultra-streamlined Arcteryx Alpha FL Jacket offers high end alpine performance tailored to moving fast and light during unpredictable (read: wet!) conditions. Weighing 315 grams and made of GORE-TEX® Pro, this jacket can handle everything from wind to snow to rain and there is never a situation where you don’t have enough room to have it by your side. With it’s easy transitioned from your harness to you body, the Alpha FL Jacket is one item you may want to out into your arsenal.
During our six week field test, the Alpha FL held up in every condition we out it through and still came out looking new. From long walks in the rain to and from the crag to multi-pitching on big grain granite, the Alpha FL was able to handle a lot of wear and tear, even during grinding and uncomfortable belays. After climbing in the Alpha FL for multiple days, the jacket showed little to no wear on the jacket’s material. It’s outer material was also tough enough to resist snags when hiking through dense bush. Overall, this jacket is built tough and should live up to the standards of the outdoor climber.
With it’s sleek design, the Alpha FL really finds its stride in the outdoors. Easy to move and easy to pack, this jacket makes things pretty easy wherever you are going. With good transition from harness to body and back again, the Alpha FL is our go to jacket for any multi-pitch and only on blue bird warm days would I leave it on the ground.
The jacket has a number of features that are specific for climbing and wearing a harness. The upper body of the jacket had a lot of room to move, allowing for any climbing condition, while the body of the jacket was streamlined enough to be tucked into a climbing harness and stay there during the entire day out thanks to ‘hemlocked’ side buttons.
One of the best features of the harness is it’s ability to transition from your harness and back with little difficulty. During days out multi-pitching, it was comforting to know that the jacket was with me for any unusual weather I may encounter. The jacket was able to stuff into the fitting pouch so small that it never interfered with climbing and we could hardly tell it was even there.
Designed with climbers in mind, the Alpha Fl Jacket has a lot of room in the shoulders and upper body while fitting slim on the waste. The arms of the jacket are a good length for those with longer arms and during our field testing of the jacket, there was no moment where we felt hindered by movement when climbing. Despite being a tight fit in the waist, the jacket was able to take a medium sized under-layer without feeling like a ‘big guy in a little jacket’. When first testing out the jacket, we were initially worried that the jacket would be too small to keep tucked in on the harness but after multiple days outside, the jacket stayed in place and didn’t feel like it was pulling down on the shoulders during climbing.
However, if we had to complain about the Alpha FL, it would certainly being in the sizing of the jacket from small to medium to large. As an individual who is 6’1 – 175 lbs with a climber’s build, fitting a jacket can be difficult even in the best of times. Size small is obviously out of the question and usually I am looking for a good balance between medium and large. With regards to the Alpha FL, this is not the case. After first sampling a mediuam, I wanted to make sure that the medium was a good fit compared to the large. The medium was a good fit in the torso with a slightly shorter length than desired. However, when trying different sizes of the Alpha FL, I was shocked by the sizing difference from Medium to Large. The large left me swimming in a big jacket that was even too big for the largest under layer pushing me back down to the medium fit. For those who are tall and fit but not small, the jacket may not offer an optimal fit.
Overall, the Arcteryx Alpha FL provides a very light and reliable garment for any alpine or climbing application. With it’s ‘climbers build’ fit, the Alpha FL provides a wide range of movement in the body and shoulders while keeping tucked into your harness for extra warmth. Durable in the roughest of conditions, the Alpha FL quickly became our go-to jacket for hiking and multi-pitch excursions. It’s small packing aloud for an easy transition from the harness to the body and back again during inclement weather. Overall, if it is in your budget, we would highly recommend this jacket for anyone who wants to move fast and light during even the worst conditions outside.
Retail Price: 550.00 CAD ; Available at Arcteryx.com and Valhalla Pure in Squamish