Ok – we’ve been wearing these on the hill for a full season now, so it’s time for a review: The Arcteryx Solo jacket is a high loft, lightweight synthetic duvet jacket – the kind of garment I always carry as an extra warm layer for when it gets cold (and I always get cold, so it gets used a lot!) This was a replacement for my trusty Rab Generator Jacket, so had a lot to live up to – but rapidly proved to be an ‘upgrade’ rather than merely a replacement.
For one thing, the Solo has a much better cut and it’s also much warmer too – key features include an excellent ergonomic cut around the arms and shoulders, two zippered hand warmer pockets, a fully baffled front zip, plus an internal stuff pocket so you can pack it up for stowing in a rucsac.
I’ve carried my Solo jacket every day through a full winters guiding in the Alps now, throwing it on over or under other layers as conditions dictate and it still looks as good as new. Off the hill it’s been used every cold morning and evening through the winter around resort or town too. How does this kind of jacket compare to Down though? Well, it’s similar in weight to a super light down jacket, but much more resistant to damp conditions and doesn’t suffer from all the cold spots you get with a lightweight stitch through down construction. Because it’s a synthetic, I also throw on straight over a shell if it turns really bad.
If there was one small change I’d make, it would be to put the stuff pocket on the outside rather than the inside – so it could be used as an extra chest pocket, which would be handy for storing a map and compass etc in poor weather. Apart from that, I wouldn’t change a thing.