Arc’teryx Alpha SL Jacket – Men’s

We’ve read the reviews across the web for the Arc’teryx Alpha SL Jacket – Men’s and summarize the results below:

Universal Ranking

PeakScore: 86 (out of 100)
User Rating: 4.4 stars 
Expert Rating: 4 stars

Number of Ratings Reviewed: 82

Pros & Cons

Reasons to buy:

User Reviews

  • Very lightweight and easily packable.
  • Much lower cost than other Arc’teryx jackets, but offers similarly stellar protection from weather.
  • Sizes accurately for one or two thin layers underneath, but if you’re planning on wearing a heavy fleece or down jacket, size up one size and the fit will work as well.
  • Great protection from heavy precipitation (total downpours included) and wind.

Expert Reviews

  • Highly effective at protecting against wind and water while weighing in at only 10.8 ounces.
  • Zipper tracks to the side so that when closed, the zipper isn’t rubbing against the underside of your chin.
  • Sized to fit over a base layer and thin insulating layer, and the construction (especially in underarm and elbow areas) allows for great range of motion with layers on under the jacket.
  • Velcro cuffs effectively seal out water.
  • Hood is easily adjustable, remains secure in high wind, and offers full coverage.
  • Sleek design allows jacket to easily transition from hiking to skiing to climbing.
  • Hem design ensures that the bottom hem falls below a climbing harness and backpack hip belt.

Reasons NOT to buy:

User Reviews

  • Not very breathable and some users reported accumulation of condensation on the inside of the jacket during physical activity.
  • Some colors may not appear in person as they do in online photos.
  • Jacket lacks front hand pockets, which means less storage. (Although there is a zippered chest pocket.)
  • While the hood is adjustable and remains secure when in place, it is a bit large for day to day use because of its helmet-compatible design.

Expert Reviews

  • The Gore-Tex Paclite material is less breathable than Gore-Tex Pro used in the construction of other shells, and the jacket also lacks pit zips.
  • Because of the sacrifices made to maintain its light weight, the jacket isn’t as durable as other shell options.


The Arc’teryx Alpha SL Jacket for men might just be the ideal compromise of weight, performance, and versatility. Offering effective protection from wind and water with none of the frills of other heavier shells, this jacket performs well during whatever activity you decide to throw at it. While you won’t find front hand pockets or pit zips on this jacket, and while it might not last as long as some other shells on the market, what it lacks in these features it makes up for in its lightweight, packable design and its powerful protection from the elements, not to mention the reasonable price tag.


Note: User and expert rankings were reviewed across the web. Some expert reviews include these: 1, 2, 3.