I was lucky enough to get the Arc’teryx Argus jacket during the deep freeze that was last winter. I have been sitting on this review until now as the leaves begin to change colour, runners start adding layers, and Arc’teryx releases this jacket to the masses. We’re almost at that season, so here it is…
The metronomic crunching of the snow under each step had become background noise, and I was focused on a new sound. It was a faint tinkling sound like sand sprinkling onto glass. I realized it was icy snowflakes landing on the Lumin nylon sleeve of my Arc’teryx Argus jacket. I was grateful for the opportunity to be out here where it was quiet enough to hear these sounds, and to be comfortable enough on a freezing day to perceive them rather than suffering with cold body temperature.
My homebase for running endured a relatively tough winter last year. Cold temperatures, lots of snow and wind (could have) made for some miserable outdoor conditions, or what I called “need for really good gear” days. The Arc’teryx Argus jacket was definitely something that makes those tough days a little easier.
I ran in the Argus jacket in varying conditions – cold, cool, mild, windy, calm and it functioned well in all of them by changing up the base layer(s) beneath it. I have used a number of running jackets with a windstopper type fabric on the front (see my review of the Arc’teryx Trino jersey here) but the insulated front panels gave the Argus the ability to retain heat (while also repelling the chilling effect of the wind.) I used it in above 0 degrees Celsius temps with a single light layer underneath and it was great. I used it at -15 degrees Celsius with a heavy base layer underneath and it was great. This was an awesome jacket for winter, but I would also use it on cool fall and spring days.
The front of the torso and sleeves, and collar is insulated, while the back panels are not. The Polartec Alpha insulation was light enough that it didn’t feel at all bulky, and wasn’t so warm as to overheat my body once I was moving. The articulated sleeves, combined with the stretchy fabric on the rear panels of the jacket, allowed the jacket to move with my body. The cuffs were the perfect length complete with thumbholes for a perfect jacket-mitt interface.
I loved all the storage options on this jacket. The two zippered pockets on the front were excellent for stashing an ipod (with a headphone port on the right hand side) and nutrition. They were large enough to carry a phone, camera, or keys, and were nice and soft inside. On the back panel there were two more stuff pockets with no closure. These were a great spot to stuff something light like a gel pack, or my mitts if my hands got too warm. I also used these to warm up my hands on a cold snowshoe run where i forgot my mitts at home. The final great feature I liked with this jacket was the thumbhole sleeve extensions. These were really great on the cold days as they seal up the gap between jacket and mitt cuff. Again, on the day I went snowshoeing with no mitts, these did a good job keeping my hands semi-warm, at least better than nothing! Another thing I look for in a running jacket is visibility. The jacket I used was the chipotle colour. It was bright enough to be visible on low light days, and a few reflective details on the back and sleeves helped with deterring cars when running in the dark.
If you are susceptible to cold, but still love running, skiing, snowshoeing, or other physical activity outside, regardless of the weather, I would suggest the Argus makes it to the top of your wish list. This jacket has the right stuff to be considered great gear to counteract the effect of bad weather.