Arc'teryx Fission SV

 Fission SV

Arc'teryx's insulated waterproof line of jackets has intrigued me for a long time because very few companies offer such a plethora of them. The list includes: Fission SV, Fission SL, Fission AR, Kappa Hoody, and these are just from the Mountain Essentials line which don't include any of their dedicated insulated ski jackets from the Whiteline.

The Fission SV is the warmest insulated waterproof jacket from the Mountain Essentials and used to be the warmest waterproof jacket until Arc'teryx released the Macai jacket(review from the link) in their whiteline collection which uses 750 fill down and Coreloft.The 2013-2014 Fission SV uses Gore's new GORE-TEX Pro 3L membrane and uses two different deniers face-fabrics. 80 denier is used on the shoulders and arms while the rest of the jacket uses a 40 denier face fabric. Only until recently, was I able to get my hands and use the Fission SV.

The biggest surprise was the overall breathability of the jacket. I presumed that combining insulation and a hard-shell would make this jacket very susceptible to overheating. The new gore-tex Pro with Coreloft (Arc'teryx's propriety polyester insulation blend) does a very good of regulating one's core body temperature even without pit-zips; the jacket really shines in Seattle's cold damp winters. The jacket is warn, but breathes well enough in mildly cold conditions as a stand alone piece, but pairs very well with a light mid layer for conditions below 20 degrees F.

One of the small touches that I was impressed with was the fabric gasket that Arc'teryx places just above the tags to help seal out foul weather. You never notice it when you are wearing the jacket but it's the small attention to details that enhances the Fission SV.

Shoulder frabric gasket
The other small touch that I was impressed by was the adjustable hem of the jacket that continues to prevent any foul weather from entering into the jacket. I wish that Arc'teryx fully embellished this idea and made the hem fully wrap around to the front like a snow-skirt. This would full prevent any weather from seeping in and give the jacket a little more functionality for skiing.
discrete adjustable hem
Another detail that impressed me how cleanly Arc'teryx cut the hand pockets to the jacket. When the hand pockets are full zipped up the jacket encloses on them to hide the pockets from view.

Overall, there a lot of great things about the Fission SV that make it one of the best cold wet weather jacket's that I have used, but it is by no means perfect. One, the jacket retails for $650.00, which means it's a lot of money for one jacket. At that price it may be more versatile to buy a standard pro shell like the Beta AR or LT  and than match it with a Atom jacket for roughly the same price and little weight penalty. Two, for a little more money the Whiteline jackets provide not only a bomber insulated jackets but also include powder skirts and pit zips! 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Fission SV, but I keep thinking to myself where exactly does this jacket belong? It's too warm for almost any alpine climbing application and it's missing a powder skirt and pit zips like a proper ski jacket. The only conclusion I have come up with is that the Fission SV is a beautifully crafted, insulated wateproof, around-town jacket with a technical look and background. 

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