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Should I be carrying more Dead Birds?
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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Return Policy on 02/21/2013 11:44:29 MST Print View

the reliability graphs from consumer reports which you quoted, speak for themselves

how much "special" handling do you need unless youre street racing =P

but if you want to play that game ... a car that consumer reports DOES recommend ... and will do the same job as a BEEE-MAHHH for all LEGAL purposes ...

the hyundai elantra ... and itll cost less in gas, maintainance, and save you money to get to the great outdoors

and kill less polar bears as a result ;)

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Return Policy on 02/21/2013 11:48:15 MST Print View

Yes, I had issues with stitching around both the wrist and around one of the shoulders of two different Rab jackets. The zippers snag for me as well. I also don't find the shoulder articulation as good in those jackets.

As far as fit, I consider athletic to mean wide shoulders and back, narrow waist. I agree it is a very personal thing.

And so is one's perception of quality. You may not see the quality to additional cost trade-off, but I do. Although as indicated before, I only buy Arcteryx on significant sale.

My 4c.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
RE Arcteryx on 02/21/2013 11:50:51 MST Print View

The only Arcteryx I own (because I do have other bills to pay) is a pair of Alpha SV gloves that ran me about $250. The reason I bought them is that I prefer gloves to mittens and had been seeking the "Holy Grail" of gloves for something that would keep me warm. One of my activities is snowmobiling (a common form of back country transportation and recreation in Alaska), and these gloves successfully kept my hands warm at -20F with the windchill incurred while riding a snowmobile. So on that note I'd say they were worth it.

Other than that, I can't afford it. I have seen some pretty good deals for Arcteryx on Steep and Cheap but even at 40% off it's bloody expensive stuff.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Durability on 02/21/2013 11:57:52 MST Print View

I feel you on the durability issue Max. Most brands assume that you are going to be hiking on a well groomed trail, not bushwacking through miles of deadfall and thorns or scrambling over abrasive rocks. It's just hard to know what is going to hold up and what is going to fail.

Don Morris
(hikermor) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Return Policy on 02/21/2013 12:02:43 MST Print View

I got one of their packs (back in the early days of the brand). I used it exclusively for field work and I used it often and hard, lugging around field gear and the occasional found artifact (Damn, but those golden idols are heavy!). When I retired, I left it in the office, reluctantly. Went of a quick field trip with my successor the other day, and he was still using the pack. It showed no appreciable wear.

I have also had good experiences with Patagonia products. As type this I am wearing a Pat fleece jacket that is over thirty years old. It has saved my butt on a lot of occasions and I will never throw it out. With regard to expensive brands, look carefully at the product and the usage you contemplate. Sometimes they are worth the money and sometimes not.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Today, I learned... on 02/21/2013 12:10:04 MST Print View

that Don Morris is Indiana Jones.

I've habitually put up with cold hands. My mittens are all bargain-busting cheap-o terrible. I know my gloves are cheap since on my last three trips, I spent a good 30 minutes or so total feeling the tips of my fingers for signs of frostbite.

During the summer I'll find a deal on true mountaineering mitts and invest. Who knows- they might be Arcteryx!

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
quality kit on 02/21/2013 12:12:34 MST Print View

I have a Kappa Parka, Atom Sv parka and Lt pants which I bought discounted, the quailty and refinement is better than New Rab gear (old stuff is fine) by a big margin and its just a small bit better than OR/Patagonia.

Sean Smith
getting bored with the bird on 02/21/2013 12:17:17 MST Print View

I've quite a bit of arcteryx gear dating back to around 2001. I've always bought it at 50% off or better mostly from steep and cheap.

The first jacket I ruined sliding down a face of ice they replaced no questions asked. Told me to just go to their site and pick the color and size and they'd send me it.

7 years later that jacket, the theta AR, finally delaminated on the bottom hem just like the link provided in this topic on the alpha SV. The same thing also happened at nearly the same time on a softshell I have.

I sent them both in last December and just yesterday got the email they are checking them out to repair and I'll receive another email in 10 to 15 business days when they might work on it.

I realize they are busy but I figure I may as well go buy something else as the product is essentially gone! So I did...

I bought a pair of alpha SL pants a few weeks ago on sale and used them twice before ripping a big hole in them on one leg. I'm not even going to bother mailing them in...just patch them up with goretex repair kit.

I still love the shells and the way they fit my skinny frame but the rest of their gear I've used has been inferior especially the softshell and fleeces...$200 retail for a cardigan fleece sweater????

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Other quality brands on 02/21/2013 12:17:58 MST Print View

Unless Arcteryx has EXACTLY what you want I'd look at other quality brands like OR, TNF (some items), LL Bean, REI (most items), Eddie Bauer First Ascent and my own fav, Cabela's.

And within these brands, of course, are the quality materials suppliers like Polartec, eVent and Gore-Tex.

If you are military or law enforcement (or know a friend who is) I think Arcteyx has discounts.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Name on 02/21/2013 12:19:55 MST Print View

I am just tired of the name Dead Bird.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Nothing special on 02/21/2013 12:28:50 MST Print View

Is it just me or am I the other one who doesn't think Arcteryx is nothing special. It's marketing, I went tried to walk into thier booth at OR 2012 and some worker guy stopped me and told me I needed an appointment. That put me off, do do still own a jacket of theirs, I own it because of the fit and style. It has nothing at all to do with the logo.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Phase on 02/21/2013 12:58:05 MST Print View

I was looking at the Phase AR Hoody. Might pick one up!

Tim Haynes

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Dead Birds vs. Westcomb on 02/21/2013 13:09:58 MST Print View

For what it's worth, I've got a couple of Arc'Teryx products: a wool baselayer and a pair of hiking/climbing shorts. I got them at 50+% off and they've worked well for the 3-4 years I've had them, but aren't noticeably superior to similar gear in the closet.

If you're willing to spend the money and are looking for outer layers, I'm partial to Westcomb -- a Canadian company that still manufactures in Canada -- it was founded in 2005 by guys who left Arc'Teryx, disappointed in where Arc'Teryx was going and created their own brand. As far as I can tell, Arc'Teryx used to be higher-quality than it is now, and maybe it once deserved a price premium. But it shifted to a lifestyle brand, which increased prices (and ad budget) and lowered quality.

I think of Westcomb as the "true" Arc'Teryx these days. And because it's not a lifestyle brand, the sales are often better when they clear out models between seasons. You can find previous-year-model Westcomb gear for 60-80% off if you are patient, and the stuff is awesome. I don't think any of it is the lightest gear out there, but the quality and durability have been impressive.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Westcomb on 02/21/2013 13:11:49 MST Print View

I've never even heard of Westcomb. Where's a good place to wait for sales?

Justin McCabe

Locale: Southern California
Re: Should I be carrying more Dead Birds? on 02/21/2013 13:20:03 MST Print View

Like others have commented, different lines of the same brand will have different quality. I do think once you get up in the $300 for a technical shell (either pant of jacket), the quality better be good, and usually is.

I also think it's important to define your needs for a piece of gear. Do you stick to trails or take more adventurous off-trail excursions?

I use the Alpha SL Pullover, it's made of Paclite. In short, I love it, and it has held up well to bouts with 12-ft high thorn bushes and other various brush. It has yet to wet out under prolonged rain (though it's inevitable at some point). I paid $200-ish for it.

So while I wouldn't drop 2 bills on a simple Dead Bird baselayer, I would for a shell.

Always a trade-off on your gear list depending on your wallet. Choose wisely.

Justin McCabe

Locale: Southern California
Re: Westcomb on 02/21/2013 13:29:24 MST Print View


I think Ryan just reviewed the Westcomb LT jacket near the end of January. That particular piece had mixed results.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Arc Zips on 02/21/2013 13:47:44 MST Print View

"The zippers are awesome, too, so I can't agree with the zipper critique yet. It's almost TOO easy to zip and unzip. Very smooth."
My complaint with Arcteryx zippers is that they're tossing on entry level zips on expensive coats where they should be using high performing zips. It amazes me they have the audacity to charge $850 for a coat while trying to save a few bucks off their cost with a mediocre zip.

As I mentioned I earlier, their $850 Micon jacket uses a water resistant (uretek) zipper (probably a YKK AquaGuard but RiRi, Tizip etc all make them). These zips are 'water resistant' because there is a small crack down the middle, which only grows wider with wear over time as the slider wears on the uretek coating. They're also prone to 'tenting' where the zipper develops a V shape over time which further widens this crack. Either way a pool of water quickly runs thru once the coat has seen decent use. With a lot of use, the waterproof coating can peel/flake right off. They're good for secondary zips like pockets that see a lot less use, but they're second rate for a main zip.
YKK Aquaguard

The proper zipper to use would be a quality waterproof zipper like the YKK AquaSeal or RiRi AquaZip. These zippers have teeth with rubber on the sides of the teeth, so when you do them up you get a complete seal. More importantly, they stay waterproof over time. They also have a lot less drag so they're easier to start and nicer to do up.
YKK seal

I think this zipper situation is a great microcosm of the whole Arcteryx situation. While Arc is finally putting quality zips on most of their coats (about half of them use these now), they've been dragging their feet on this for years. The Arcteryx of 10 years ago would have been the first one to incorporate something like this - realizing it's a competitive advantage to have superior technical performance. The Arcteryx of today waits until everyone else is doing it and the customer expects it before finally acting. The same attitude can be seen in many other areas from membranes to face fabrics.

"Eric, the Corolla and Civic are very durable but the quality sucks - hard plastic interiors..."
You're mixing quality with luxury. The interior of a Honda might not be made of mahogany, but functions great and lasts forever so its quality stuff. Lacking quality would be my friends 1990's Buick interior where nearly every piece broke or fell off.

Edited by dandydan on 02/21/2013 14:32:32 MST.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Should I be carrying more Dead Birds? on 02/21/2013 13:57:40 MST Print View

"The interior of a Honda might not be made of mahogany, but functions great and lasts forever so its quality stuff." Not my experience. The hard plastics scratch and crack over time. Our 2011 Pilot dash has worn like crap, not to mention the rattles and squeeks throughout the vehicle. This is the same issue plaguing a lot of Honda models right now, not to mention Toyota. Ironically, many of these models that have issues are either made in Canada or the US. I define quality not as luxury but as texture, fit and finish, and quality of material used. All of which should last over the long term.

For shits and giggles, go sit in a new Civic and then the new Buick (any model) and then report back.

Mike R
(redpoint) - F

Locale: British Columbia
depends what you want ... on 02/21/2013 14:11:04 MST Print View

Arc'teryx is very innovative and their products are well made, beautifully designed, and contain top-shelf materials. I live 10 minutes from their HQ and check-out their discounted gear frequently. Generally, I purchase either Arc'teryx or Patagonia. From my experiences, Arc'teryx makes the best Gore-Tex shell on the planet - I've tried a bunch of different brands. I also like their AC2 waterproof packs. They're heavy, but where I live waterproofness and extreme durability are paramount. Patagonia makes better base layers.

The good:

Great, innovative design and excellent materials. Fit is generally athletic and the cut is usually unsurpassed in the industry, feels like a tailored piece. Warranty is pretty good, though not as easy as Patagonia. Performance is excellent.

The bad:

While innovative, sometimes I think their gear is over designed and is therefore lacking or over-engineered. It's also bleeding-edge tech - sometimes. For example, I have a dually belay parka, which is a $550 [+ 12% tax here in Canada] jacket. It's a great piece, but the hood doesn't have any volume controls. So, it's fine with a helmet on, but when you're sitting around camp, you look like the grim reaper and it interferes with your headlamp and visibility. None of their soft shells and non-goretex insulated jackets have this control. Even Patagonia's minimalist Houdini jacket has a hood volume control. This is something I would expect in a $600+ jacket. I've owned two AC2 packs and while I love them, both have suffered from failures/breakage with the laminated parts. I just had a softshell replaced b/c all the laminated seams started to blow-out. Of course the prices are ridiculous. $300 for a pair of gloves! Seriously? They're nice gloves, but the next best thing in the marketplace is much warmer and 1/2 the price. A big chunk of Arc'teryx gear is made in China now and the prices don't reflect this. The more complicated items are made in Canada, but I'm sure this is changing.

So, in a nutshell, I wouldn't buy Arc'teryx b/c it's Arc'teryx. I'd only buy it if it's going to meet your needs better. I never pay MSRP for their stuff, I only buy at the factory sales.

Edited by redpoint on 02/21/2013 14:13:35 MST.

Dan D

Locale: Boston, MA
my 2c on 02/21/2013 14:17:46 MST Print View

My only piece of Arcteryx kit is a Theta AR goretex shell. Its 3 years old and made in China. I was bummed to see it wasn't Canadian made (apparently its luck of the draw) but its what they had at REI where i got it on sale.

Despite being made in China, the quality is there. Every stitch, every cut, is dead straight and looks perfect. Its really pretty impressive to look over in detail. Its in another league of detail quality compared to my RAB Latok bib shells. Is there a functional difference due to manufacturing? I doubt it.

I bought it for the fit. Just the right torso shape, just the right arm and torso length. The hood is also stellar and i love having it separate from the collar. Helmet or no helmet, the hood is perfect and never in the way.

I use it for snowboarding, fall/spring/summer raincoat, and for hiking, backpacking, "mountaineering", etc. As a snowboarder, I'm on my ass and crashing a lot. Being on the ice coasts, sliding down icey mountains on my back is nothing new. It's held up perfectly, literally looks like new. It's heavy for an everyday raincoat, but i'm always comfortable in it around town, etc.

My only flaw with it is that while wearing a backpack, my hip belt must have been rubbing on the waist cinch cord inside the coat. I noticed that on the high spot created by the cord inside and the outter nylon is wearing. Just this one tiny spot on one side. Its fine now, but if it gets worse i'll try to have Arcteryx repair/replace it with REI as my backup plan.

Edited by TXBDan on 02/21/2013 14:24:17 MST.