Friday, January 20, 2017

Arc’Teryx: Norvan Jacket Review

Have you ever heard of this brand Arc’Teryx? If not, no worries. I myself never heard of them until I got serious into running, not sure why though they’ve been around for almost three decades now. Arc’Teryx is a Canadian outdoor clothing company that was founded in 1989 by Dave Lane and Jeremy Guard in North Vancouver, British Columbia. It was formerly known as Rock Solid and changed its name to Arc’Teryx in 1991. They have wide varieties of products for activities like running, climbing, hiking, trekking, skiing and snowboarding.

So what’s up with the name and logo? Well, they took it from the earliest known bird, the Archaeopteryx. It’s the first reptile to take bold evolutionary leap by developing feathers for flight. This is to reflect the company’s vision of creating disruptive “evolutionary” innovation within the outdoor industry…whoa that’s deep. I’m sure they can explain it further so I’ll just leave it like that😀.

It’s been raining like crazy here in Northern California for several weeks now and since I’ve been training for my first Ultra-Marathon (50K) this coming February I couldn’t let a bad weather ruin my run. I still do my workouts outside despite this horrible condition and I heavily depend on my gears to get things done…having the right gears is a must! When I found out that Arc’Teryx got some gears for running, I immediately contacted them and I was really stoked when they let me test one of their best-selling apparels…the Norvan Jacket. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

·      N20p 3L Gore-tex fabric
·      Gore C-knit backer technology

·   Fully taped seams
·   Slim fit
·   Venturi style underarm vents
·   Fitted hood with elasticized brim
·   Elasticized cuffs and hem
·   Internal laminated zippered pocket
·   Water tight front zipper

·      7.5 ounces (215 grams)

Fit and Functionality
The Norvan Jacket is one of the lightest jackets in the Arc’Teryx line up that weighs approximately 7.5 ounces only. I know that it might sounds a lot in comparison with some other running jackets that I have tested in the past, but those jackets are water resistant and are good for light precipitations only, a heavy down pour will surely get you soaking wet. The Norvan is a waterproof and windproof yet breathable jacket designed to tackle heavy down pour and guaranteed to leave you dry and comfy.

I requested a medium size and it fits me well especially in the arm pit and shoulder areas. The cut of this jacket is a “Trim Fit” (slim fitting) with lower volume to reduce the bulk and it provides a lot of freedom of movement which is essential for any outdoor activities.

We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words and it is more justifying than describing it in writing. I guess it's better that way, right?

The zipper seam is laminated to keep the moisture and water from getting in. Unlike the traditional zipper handle with a short metal, this jacket is equipped with a decent length of string that you can easily pull even when wearing a thick glove. It has a full zipper that has an internal flap preventing the cold air from coming in. At the very top, is a zipper garage that hides the zipper and protects your neck and chin from unwanted rubbing.

This jacket has only one decent size pocket that is located inside the left chest where you can store small items like gels, credit card and cash. This could also hold a small electronic device if you like listening to music while you run, and there is a port where you can route those wires. Since this pocket is small, your smartphone will not fit into it (not unless you still own those flip phones).

The cuffs are tapered and semi-elastic which you can easily pull up for forearm venting.

The inside Gore C-knit material in close up view.

For venting and breathability, the underarm has a venturi style vents that pulls the air thru for continuous venting. I found this very effective in regulating my core temperature without pulling down the zipper.

The hood (along with the brim) may not have a pull string around it but it is deep enough to hug the entirety of my head and protect my eyes from the pouring rain. Actually, pulling the zipper all the way up will give you the added security to keep the hood in place and prevent it from being blown away by a wind (not unless it’s a very strong wind hitting you straight on the face). One notable aspect of the hood is that it doesn’t interfere with my peripheral vision which makes me aware of my surroundings.

Similar with all the jackets I have tested, the hem portion is extended much longer than the front which kept my bun from getting wet and accidental splash from my feet while running. You may notice that it doesn’t have a draw cord around it to keep it tight around the hips and prevent the cold air in getting in, but the slim fitting cut around that area is good enough to keep the cold air out.

For safety standpoint, this jacket offers a 360 degree of reflectivity that will make you visible during low light conditions. The reflective materials are located along the arms, back and their logo in front.

I have tested the Norvan Jacket during my 12-mle trail run at Hidden Falls Regional Park. The condition that day was very ideal (for the sake of testing the jacket though): Rain, cold air, strong wind, and a very slippery/ muddy terrain. At first, I was a little bit skeptical about the breathability of the jacket because of its waterproofness and wind blocking ability. This is the area where some manufacturers couldn’t get that perfect blend. Well, I was really surprised that the Norvan Jacket hit that sweet spot (no pun intended). The inside Gore C-knit backing material and the venting ports of the jacket kept my core temperature at bay. Though I must say that my body was not completely dry because of my own sweat (not from the pouring rain) never did I bother to zip down to ventilate even when I was pushing a hard pace. The Gore C-knit material even provided a nice feel to the skin and never felt clammy.

I was even more impressed with how the jacket handled the rain and cold wind; the rain just slid down and never penetrated the Gore-tex material and my skin never felt that cold air at all. You will be surprise that the Gore-tex material used by Arc’Teryx is really light but durable enough to withstand tearing and ripping which is the first thing we need to consider especially on the trails where twigs and branches can rip our first layer of protection. I also love the fact that the Gore-tex material didn’t create a lot of noise especially when the materials started rubbing each other while I was running. It may sound miniscule detail but I really appreciate anything that could make my run pleasant.

Arc’Teryx put a good design in creating the hood as it provided me the protection I needed from pouring rain and not impeding my peripheral vision.

Overall, the performance of this jacket was really impressive. We know for a fact that running is not easy and I’ll take anything that will make my run “fun and bearable”. One thing that you don’t want to happen during a race or even on training is to fix any discomfort that may come from your gears or apparels. I’m glad that I didn’t experience any of those from the Norvan Jacket. I definitely see myself wearing this a lot and this will always be my go to jacket when the weather is not cooperating.

My Verdict
There is no question that this gear is a stellar apparel that any runners or outdoor enthusiasts must have. I am very pleased with its performance and wished that I’ve known this product long time ago. It’s an excellent choice to have with you when Mother Nature seems to be on the gray side. The breathability and waterproofness of this jacket is something you’ll surely appreciate especially when going for a long distance or just enjoying the “me” time with nature.

With all the goods that I have mentioned, now it’s time to take the downside. Ok, this might raise some eyebrows, the Norvan Jacket sells for $349 which I found to be extremely high, it will definitely put a big dent in your wallet and probably a small talk with your better half. To be honest, this could be one of the most expensive jackets anybody could have. Is it worth the price? Well, that’s up for you to decide and how you push this gear to the limit. But one thing I can guarantee you is that you’ll get what you pay for…it’s a pure performance jacket that will never leave you hanging. If you are that type of person who spends most of the time being outside (regardless of the weather condition) then this is a must have gear. Why spend some money on cheap and inferior products which won’t provide protection and durability? Well, you get my point. Arc’Teryx is committed to deliver pure craftsmanship and performance so you can bring out the best in you and leave you completely satisfied at the end your activity. You can purchase it directly on their website or at retail stores near you.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post below.

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