August 28, 2017
On previous trips I’ve taken, it was easy to get away with sub-par or low quality gear but during my trip to the Andes I learned the value of high quality. Arc’teryx is known for being of the highest quality in the outdoor industry, and for good reason. While a lot of other brands focus on style, comfort, or performance, it is difficult to find a brand that excels at all three.
Arc’teryx Beta SL Rain Jacket
Quite possibly the most important piece of clothing I was lucky enough to have on this trip. The Beta SL proved to be worth the extra ounces. Through rain, snow, freezing temperatures, and high winds, this jacket kept me warm and dry. I was surprised at how well it breathed while hiking with it up some steep passes because of my experiences with other shells that despite claiming to be highly breathable failed to be. Some of my favorite features of this shell include the StormHood with drawcords which prevented the hood from flying off in high winds. I’ve found some of the zippered hand pockets on other jackets to not be fully water proof, but on the Beta SL, I was able to store things like my phone and snacks and they remained dry!
Arc’teryx Incendo Hoody Jacket
The Incendo Hoody Jacket quickly became my favorite piece of clothing after hiking extensively with it in the high Andes. It is perfect for hiking in the cold early mornings, and it helps that it is water-resistant, for those early mornings walking through misty and foggy weather. It even held up great in mild rain. Highly breathable as well, I really enjoyed hiking with it as a layer for sun protection. Weighing in at 4.4 oz, it is an ultralight hikers dream. The only thing I would add that would complete this jacket are hand pockets. This jacket has been added to my ultralight backpacking kit!
Arc’teryx Palisade Hiking Pants
My favorite feature of these pants is how fast they dry. These are not rain pants, but they kept me nice and dry during a strong rain storm due to their water-resistant material. The fit on these pants is really comfortable; they are a slimmer fit than most other hiking pants I’ve used, which also makes them a bit more stylish to wear around town. The zippered side pockets are not bulging out like on most cargo pants, which means they are also smaller, a feature I like since I only used them to store my phone, wallet, and other small items I want to access quickly. The small side pockets also keeps things close to your legs, this prevents them from bouncing around when hiking fast or hiking downhill. All the pockets on these pants are zippered which is a feature I loved while traveling; you can keep all your items secure and keep them from falling out of your pockets while sitting down. The water-resistant material, however, does mean that they feel more shell-like, which reduces a bit of the comfort. After breaking them in and washing them they did seem to feel better. Ultimately, it is a small sacrifice to pay for the functionality these pants provide.
Arc’teryx Acrux SL Approach Shoe
My first impression of the Acrux SL approach shoes was that they seemed to be more fashionable than functional when I first took them out of the box. They are a very pretty shoe to look at and they are very stylish. But how do they perform at the crag? The rubber is as sticky as any other approach shoe I’ve tried. The first time I tried them was on the approach to the Stumbling Blocks area of Malibu Creek where you need to do a 5th class traverse over a pond and they performed well. The fit on these shoes is good if you have a more narrow foot, which I do not, so they fit me snug, which is good for climbing in them, but also slightly uncomfortable. Overall, a great approach shoe that exudes style.