Finding a lightweight, trim fit, windproof, breathable, stretchy jacket can be a little tricky – you may even ask, “Does this even exist?” Well, Arc’teryx sent over one of their Darter jackets, made in both Men’s and Women’s cuts for us to test earlier this winter and I’m here to report my findings.
The Arc’teryx Darter jacket combines two fabrics to provide essential weather protection with maximized stretch and breathability. On the front and areas facing the most direct exposure to the elements, Kauss fabric sheds weather and protects you from the wind – perfect for trail running and cross country skiing on inclement weather days. Knauss is a tightly constructed double weave polyester that both blocks wind and precipitation and is super breathable and stretchy. The back panel of the jacket is made from a stretch knit Arc’teryx Suncore fabric, providing higher levels of stretch and breathability and superior next to skin performance and UV protection. The Darter jacket is made with an erganomic fit in mind, thus more fitted than most of my other light shell jackets, but because it is so stretchy I hardly noticed that it was tighter in some places that I was used to. Weighting in at a mere 280 grams, this jacket is extremely high performance and great for any endurance outdoor activities where extra weight can really get you down after miles on the trail.
The Darter has minimal yet essential stash pockets on the backside of the jacket, one with a zipper for keys/credit card/anything you really don’t want to lose and two stretchy pockets perfect for SNACKS and the jacket also has a few reflective safety elements for low light visibility.
Typical of Arc’teryx, you can tell that a lot of great minds were behind the design of this jacket. A lot of attention to detail went into creating an ergonomic articulation that was designed to move as the body. Arc’teryx says “By uniting this freedom of movement with technical performance fabrics and a minimalist design, the Darter Jacket delivers peak performance on cool weather runs, cross country ski tours, snowshoe runs and other race pace activities.” SO, to test this jacket I did just that. I’ve run, hiked and skied as fast as I can in as cold of temperatures as this jacket allows. With a few base layers underneath I’ve found that this jacket is good in to the high teens (Fahrenheit) if you are really moving and sweating. I think I prefer this as a cold weather running jacket because of the minimal pockets (I like a few more when I am skiing) but I did test it skiing a few times nonetheless on interval days and really enjoyed the freedom of movement it allowed in my upperbody and I skied up hills. The placement of the pockets on the back of the jacket is great for classic skiing and double-poling as there is nothing to get in the way of an efficient stride or pole strike. The zippered pocket on the back is an essential detail – as there would be nothing worse than losing keys mid adventure. I also love the bright colors this jacket comes in – Arc’teryx sent us a bright yellow that is great for low light visibility running on the roads.
At about $150 as always an Arc’teryx is an investment, but the technology their apparel provides is always on the cutting edge and worth the extra money. Be sure to check the links below for any updated pricing.
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Gretchen Powers is a Maine based freelance filmmaker and photographer. She specializes is branded content creation and outdoorsy weddings. When she’s not wielding a camera she loves xcskiing, hiking, knitting, drinking tea and exploring with her pup Ella. www.gpowersfilm.com