Living in the Pacific Northwest and traveling to tons of far-flung remote places has taught me that wearing durable gear is critical, especially when it comes to rainproof and windproof wares. Which companies are the best? Would Canadian-based Arc’teryx jackets make the cut?

Andy and I have lived in Oregon for nearly 20 years. We’ve worn through multiple rain slickers and learned a lot during that time. When we’re looking for above-adequate clothing, we’re searching for the perfect piece of gear to complement our expeditions to the Arctic in the dead of winter, Iceland when torrential rains hit while tent camping, and so on.

Jackets need to last for years. For my husband, Andy Lilienthal, and me, Arc’teryx has, so far, proved that promise. If there were issues with the products we’ve purchased, they’ve stood behind them with a great warranty.

Here are a couple of their latest jackets we put to the test: men’s and women’s Alpha SV and Cerium Hoody jackets.


Alpha SV Jacket
Throughout the years, we’ve had multiple taped-seam slickers delaminate on us. So, we finally bought a few Arc’teryx GORE‑TEX shells to end the frustration. It’s the “buy once cry once” scenario. When we were approached to test the revised men’s and women’s Alpha SV GORE‑TEX jackets, we said yes to see if their technology improved since what we’ve bought a few years ago.

The 2024 Alcan 5000 Rally was coming up, and we needed good clothing for it due to the severe winds the Arctic would throw at us. We knew we could face heavy rain at the beginning of the competition, too. Andy and I needed a versatile piece that could be a go-it-alone slicker, or a shell that could be worn over a down jacket, providing shelter from the wind.


Arc’teryx Women’s Alpha SV Jacket

Photo: Andy Lilienthal

Arc’teryx Alpha SV Quick Stats

  • Breathable 3L GORE-TEX PRO: waterproof, windproof, and breathable
  • Face fabric is 100-denier made from 100% recycled materials.
  • Includes an embedded RECCO reflector for improved searchability in emergency situations.
  • Hood is helmet compatible and adjusts for full coverage and maximum visibility. It has articulated construction to help you move.
  • Weight: men’s 1 lb 1.1 oz, women’s 15.2 oz
  • Arc’teryx’s suggested activities: ice climbing, alpine climbing, mixed climbing, expeditions.

What Do I Think?
The Arc’teryx Women’s Alpha SV Jacket proved to be a waterproof and wind-repelling beast. No matter where I went, the Alpha SV kept me dry and comfortable. I ordered one size up so I could wear a puffy jacket or bulky clothing underneath it. That proved to be a great combination.

From huge sweaters to the revised Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody, every grouping I wore under it was a great fit, sheltering me from Arctic frostbite or Pacific Northwest wetness. I was able to move freely and still stay warm—a key need when traveling like we do.

The Odd-Pocket Scenario
The Alpha SV is a great all-around four-season jacket; however, I couldn’t get used to the upper-positioned front pockets. They aren’t in the normal, lower “hand-pocket” position. It was difficult to shove gloves, phones, or other necessities into them when it was -30º Fahrenheit. I kept trying to find the lower pocket’s positioning by force of habit.

Both men’s and women’s Alpha SVs are designed this way. The pockets themselves are large enough, but for us, they’re just not in the right spot. I wish the Alpha SV Jackets were created with two sets of front pockets. A traditionally placed set for those who need them for normal operation and a second upper pair for extra storage.

On the contrary, there are additional storage opportunities within the Alpha SV slicker. There is also a small, zippered arm pouch on the outside left sleeve. These help the odd-pocket scenario.

“The reason why there would be no normal ‘hand pockets’ is because the expectation is that the wearer of the jacket would simultaneously be wearing a rock-climbing harness,” said Kristin Bailie, a mountaineer and outdoor enthusiast living in Portland, Oregon. “The rock-climbing harness would fit up over your hips and block access to the lower pockets. The higher pockets allow access while still wearing a harness.”

Kristin started climbing after moving to Oregon 17 years ago. “After completing both the basic climbing and intermediate climbing courses with the Mazamas; I’ve climbed many of the peaks in the Cascade Mountain range and continue to climb with my husband, Matt, and two kids today.”

Andy’s Thoughts
“The Arc’teryx Men’s Alpha SV Jacket means business. Its fabric sheds water very well and it feels robust.” Andy said. “It is somewhat stiffer than less-expensive jackets made to a certain price point.”


Arc’teryx Men’s Alpha SV Jacket

Photo: Mercedes Lilienthal

He added that the lack of hand pockets on the front may not be for everyone. “Those pockets are up toward the chest. The good news is those pockets are big and can carry lots of items. The additional interior pockets are also welcome.”

The Alpha SV hood is enormous. “Of course, this is a climbing/mountaineering-style shell and can accommodate a helmet, hence the size,” Andy explained. “I have a smaller head, but I can still snug it down thanks to the two integrated pulls. Additionally, the sleeves are somewhat long and are definitely wide, which is great if you’re wearing big gloves for skiing or climbing.”

In short, the men’s and women’s Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jackets are solidly built and can withstand severe-weather abuse like strong Arctic winds or Pacific Northwest rain dumps. Both coats cinch down in different areas and include strong die-cut Velcro to adjust cuffs. The slickers have many storage opportunities, too. If you’re fine not having lower hand pockets, the Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jacket would serve overlanders and outdoor enthusiasts well for years to come.

Price each: $900.00


Arc’teryx Jackets: Cerium Hoody
Along with the men’s and women’s Alpha SV GORE‑TEX jackets, Andy and I spent two months reviewing the men’s and women’s Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody garments. They’re billed as a fitted fit and an alpine midlayer or a versatile standalone.


Arc’teryx Women’s Cerium Hoody

Photo: Andy Lilienthal

The Cerium Hoody’s outer layer is constructed from a moisture- and wind-resistant recycled nylon. The inner 20D plant-based Arato liner is bio-derived, reducing the need for petroleum. Both men’s and women’s Cerium Hoodys have responsibly sourced 850 fill European white goose down. Arc’teryx also includes Coreloft synthetic zones which target areas prone to moisture. Down Composite Mapping purposefully places synthetic insulation where moisture may build up.

The Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody down jacket is super lightweight, weighing just 10.2 oz for the women’s and 11.9 oz for the men’s iteration. They’re thin in feel, but very warm.


Arc’teryx Women’s Cerium Hoody

Photo: Andy Lilienthal

My Opinion
I was excited to try the new revised Arc’teryx Women’s Cerium Hoody as the Arc’teryx Thorium Down Hoody I bought several years earlier has been on many global excursions throughout the years and has served me well.

The women’s Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody is billed as a “fitted” fit and can be an alpine midlayer or a versatile standalone. Surprisingly, it fits me perfectly. It’s not too tight on the shoulders, across the chest, or in the hips. It arrived in the bright yellow Edziza color. It’s long enough to cover my backside and arms with room to spare. The hood is huge and it cinches tightly when I need to block out wind. It has two huge front pockets, a small internal security pocket, and comes with its own stuff sack—which comes in handy when traveling.

However, the zippers concern us a bit. They’re a thinner variant compared to the beefy zippers I have on my Thorium puffy. The first time I zipped this jacket, I thought the main zipper jumped out of its track. They’ve been fine but we keep a careful eye on them when zippering. We’d prefer Arc’teryx go back to a more robust zipper for less zipper worry, even if it adds a tiny bit of weight.


Arc’teryx Men’s Cerium Hoody

Photo: Mercedes Lilienthal

Andy’s Add-Ons
“The Cerium Hoody fits me just right,” Andy stated. “It’s also exceptionally warm for how lightweight it is. I wore this jacket during part of the Alcan 5000 Winter Rally in Canada and was impressed at its warmth.”

Andy likes how the Arc’teryx Men’s Cerium Hoody fits and looks. “It’s not too bulky and comes with its own stuff sack making it ideal for travel. Even in the summer, we go places where having a lighter-weight down jacket can be very good, and the fact this packs down nicely is a bonus.”

Don’t Pass on the Puffys
Down puffy jackets, like the Cerium Hoodys from Arc’teryx, are great to have for all types of climates. They keep you warm when the chill is in the air. They can keep you cool even when you’re running around town.


Arc’teryx Cerium Hoodys pack down nice and compactly.

Photo: Mercedes Lilienthal

Plus, they’re a great midlayer when you’re doing something more extreme, like ground-tent camping in Iceland in various remote areas. Other than the zippers, we give the men’s and women’s Arc’teryx Cerium Hoddy jackets two thumbs up.

Price each: $400.00


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