Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Finally stopping that crazy suffering that is ice, climbing to concentrate on great ski tours!, .
Interest: Anything that can drag me to the mountains. Backpacking is #1, followed by climbing, dayhiking and camping with family.
Personally, I find ArcTeryx's product line a bit confusing and I'm not really sure which garments would work well for me, so I haven't really considered their products.
Then there is the price. Gore-Tex has worked VERY hard to ensure that people say they're wearing a "Gore-Tex" jacket, not an "Arcteryx jacket." This has been very successful, and it has hampered manufacturers effort to differentiate themselves. Patagonia was a hold-out, not wanting to have Gore dictate their designs, but I see that even they have given in to the Gore juggernaut. So, why is a Gore Pro-Shell jacket from ArcTeryx 2X the price of an MEC or OR jacket? Same fabric? Well, yes and no. There are differences, but enough to justify the large price gap? Personally, not for me.
There is fit. I have found MEC brand garments don't fit me well, and I'm not sure why. At 6'/155lbs I look like the typical climber, so I expected MEC designs to suit me, but they're baggy in the wrong spots. Maybe too "mass appeal" in their house brand? Maybe I need to fatten up? I tried on some Dead-bird stuff, and yes, it fit nicely. But, is it that critical so that I'd spend that much more? Actually, Outdoor Research fits me pretty well, so no, I have found much less expensive brands that fit me.
Longevity? I used to buy expensive German cars. I was a huge Mercedes fan, and owned a series of them. I drove big mileages for work, and having a car that would go 400-500K without repairs made economic sense. I paid more upfront, but in the long run, it was cheap driving. Is ArcTeryx like this? Do their garments cost more, but last long enough so that you save money in the long haul? Not having owned any of their clothes, I can't comment. Anyone help out here? I know the Patagonia clothes I've had have justified the premium (though I bought all of them at discounts) through good fit and long wearing.
Brand? I know a few folks that like having the logo. ACMG guides operating in the Rockies are/were (OR has made big inroads with them) plastered in ArcTeryx, and I knew a few people that wanted to look all boss like the guides. I couldn't care less, but some people do.
Craftsmanship? I closely examined a Dead-bird hardshell one day. The taping was perfect. Evey stitch was perfect and seams with smooth. Try an ArcTeryx hood. They are adjustable and can fit perfectly. It was clear that in terms of construction, a lot of care and quality had gone in. I think that's worth something, but to my pocketbook, not enough to warrant the premium. It might be for others.