If you are weighing up whether to buy a new ski jacket and can’t make a decision then our Arcteryx Sabre AR Jacket review will give you all the information you need for this model. You can’t just wear any old jacket for skiing and there are certain things you need to look out for.
This includes durability, adequate warmth due to the climate you will be in, weather resistance as well as how good it looks too.
We’re going to go over everything you need to consider, how the Arcteryx Sabre AR Jacket performs when out on the slopes and finally if it is worth the money.
Jackets that are tailor-made for skiing have different features than normal everyday winter clothing. They are also a bit different than jackets you would normally wear when going hiking or other outdoor pursuits. So, what are the main features you should look out for with a ski jacket?
The temperature out on the slopes is pretty cold. While being warm isn’t the only thing you consider it is pretty important. When buying a ski jacket, padded jackets tend to be warmer than shell jackets. This is because padded clothing has more insulation so will retain heat better overall.
The thing with buying a jacket for skiing is that you don’t want to be too warm. As it is a fairly strenuous activity, even if it is cold when you first go out you’ll warm up fairly quickly. Really you want a jacket that does keep you warm but doesn’t mean you overheat hence why our next point is important too.
With many ski jackets, you’ll find vents usually under the arm that allow hot air to escape and cool air to come in. They won’t be massive because that will get rid of all the heat retention but will allow for a decent level of ventilation.
Having this is vital because it allows the jacket to breathe. It can be very easy to overheat when taking part in outdoor activities such as skiing as this brings its own problems. A good ski jacket will not only provide warmth but will also have adequate ventilation as well.
Skiing, hiking, climbing, or hunting can be arduous at the best of times but in the rain or in wet conditions can make the experience a lot harder.
This is why waterproofing is important. Usually how well a jacket copes with water and rain is measured in something called a hydrostatic head rating. It needs to be at least 1500 mm to be considered ‘water-resistant’ and this means it can withstand 1500 mm of water before it will start to penetrate the material.
How waterproof you need your ski jacket to be will depend on the kind of conditions you ski in and also how often you hit the slopes too. For those of you who are infrequent skiers but tend to be out all day anything from 3000 mm to 10,000 mm is good whereas avid and regular skiers may want to look a bit higher.
Comfort is another big factor to think about before you go out and purchase a ski jacket.
Being out all day in cold and often wet conditions can be difficult at the best of times and with an uncomfortable jacket on this is going to be much worse. As skiing is a very physical activity, you’ll want your jacket to have a good range of movement.
This means you can twist, turn and move your arms without restriction while also ensuring that the jacket is comfortable to have on when you’re not in motion either.
The last thing to look out for with a ski jacket and the final criteria we’re going to judge the Arcteryx Sabre AR Jacket with later on is how it looks.
It might not be as vital as how comfortable, weather resistance, warm and breathable the jacket is but looking good is important too. This ties in with the comfort because an ill-fitting jacket and one that is uncomfortable probably isn’t going to win any style awards when you wear it.
If aesthetics and how you look is essential to you, then consider how the design and fit of the jacket match with your other skiing attire.
Now that you have a better idea of what features are important when buying a ski jacket, how does the Arcteryx Sabre AR function when out on the slopes?
One thing to say right at the start of this Arcteryx Sabre AR Jacket review is that it isn’t the warmest jacket out there.
In terms of the warmth scale, it will be found closer to the bottom than the top. This is because it is a shell jacket and while it does have a fleece lining, it is pretty thin. You will get some heat retention with the Arcteryx Sabre AR Jacket but not a lot. The main fabric is N80p-X GORE-TEX while it has a light flannel backer for insulation.
So, to combat this you need to think about what else to wear with the jacket in order to retain heat better. While we are looking at this primarily from a ski jacket standpoint, many people often buy jackets for several activities. This includes skiing, hiking, and hunting.
We wouldn’t recommend the Arcteryx Sabre AR Jacket for hiking because you’ll get too warm too quickly. Whereas for skiing it probably isn’t warm enough on its own, for hiking it’s a bit too warm for anything other than short exercise.
The hood and the collar are actually very good because when zipped up it will cover your whole face and heat but leaves a nice amount of room for a helmet or a hat.
While warmth isn’t a strong point of the Arcteryx Sabre AR Jacket, ventilation certainly is.
There are long pit zips on this jacket that have a wide opening and don’t have any mesh either so there is a very good rate of airflow when you have this on. Moisture and sweat will be able to escape while cool air can come in to create a fairly consistent body temperature.
You can easily operate the zips as well so, unlike some other ski jackets, you won’t need help for this when you have gloves on. Overall the ventilation on the Arcteryx Sabre AR Jacket is very good and you’ll notice the difference between this and a budget model.
Again, we don’t think this offers enough breathability for hiking, and the fleece lining – even though it is thin – will cause you to warm up too quickly on a hike but for skiing it is ideal.
Similar to ventilation, the Arcteryx Sabre AR Jacket is perfect for cold, wet and otherwise brutal weather.
Its weather resistance is among the best you can get. It features a 3 layer Gore-tex waterproof design and it also has waterproof zippers, sealed seams as well as a DWR coating. The fact that this is quite a long jacket helps too as it has a powder skirt and its length aides with weather resistance without inhibiting movement or comfort.
In fact, we’ve never come across any problem with the Arcteryx Sabre AR when it comes to keeping water out or dealing with the harsh snowy conditions. You would kind of expect this for the price but at the same time it is amazing how well it performs.
The longish nature of the jacket doesn’t detach from how comfortable it is and it won’t restrict your movement either.
Overall we found the jacket comfortable to wear. It is a great addition to a long day out on the slopes and won’t weigh you down or cause any problems with twisting or turning. In fact you hardly even notice that you are wearing it which is a hallmark sign of a great ski jacket.
There is fleece around the top collar and neck area for additional comfort and for a shell jacket it is one of the most comfortable around.
If you are worried about looking out of place on the slopes or being noticed for all the wrong reasons then don’t be. The Arcteryx Sabre AR Jacket is stylish without standing out too much.
It provides a well-tailored and snug fit too so it isn’t particularly baggy but also isn’t too tight either. In reality, the overall style and look are spot on and we’d rank it among the best ski jackets out there for aesthetics.
Coming in slightly cheaper than the Arcteryx Sabre AR, the Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft is an all-round great jacket for skiing and handling harsh and cold weather.
Across every criterion – warmth, ventilation, waterproof and weather resistance, comfort, and style – it performs admirably and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a jacket as good as this one. It is made from 2-layer stretch polyester with LifaLoft synthetic insulation to help with heat retention.
If you are in the market for a more budget ski jacket then this isn’t it because while it is a bit more inexpensive than the Arcteryx, it is still quite pricey. Overall though it is a fantastic ski jacket that provides everything you need for long days in the snow.
We have looked at several North Face jackets in the past and there is a reason that they always score highly regardless of what you throw at them.
The North Face Inlux Insulated Jacket is a good choice. It is slightly more expensive than the Interchange but is an ideal purchase as a skiing jacket. A bit cheaper than both the Arcteryx Sabre AR as well as the Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft, if you have a little bit of money to spend over the budget category then this is a firm choice.
It has good insulation and you’ll find that it stands up to rain, hail, and snow very well. There is a Durable Water-Repellent (DWR) finish to this jacket and if you are a fan of the North Face style of clothing, it doesn’t detract from this.
Not only does the North Face Inlux Insulated Jacket provide a good comfort level, range of movement, and fit but you get good warmth, ventilation, and weather resistance into the bargain as well.
Just on its own, no. This is primarily a ski jacket and for this purpose, it doesn’t offer great warmth so you’ll need an additional layer(s) to complement it. The Arcteryx Sabre AR isn’t the coldest ski jacket but it isn’t the warmest either.
We wouldn’t recommend it mainly down to the fact that for activities like hiking this jacket will probably be too warm. While it does lack warmth retention in cold conditions for sports such as skiing, you’ll want to look elsewhere at specific hiking jackets.
The Arcteryx Sabre AR weighs around 1 lb. 8.8 oz for a medium size. It isn’t bulky or heavy so it is a perfect weight and size for skiing and it offers a good range of movement without dragging you down.
Yes. The Arcteryx Sabre AR is a waterproof and weather-resistant jacket and it is one of the best we have come across. It features a 3 layer Gore-tex waterproof design and it also has waterproof zippers, sealed seams as well as a DWR coating. The length and powder skirt also help with keeping out the elements.
You’ll find two large external pockets as well as a pocket on the upper sleeve. There is also an internal pocket at the chest however it is a mesh pocket so perhaps not ideal for keeping a valuable item like your phone in. There also isn’t an external chest pocket in this jacket either.
So, what do we think of the Arcteryx Sabre AR overall?
We do need to bring up the fact that its lack of warmth does let the jacket down somewhat. It is in a tricky situation because on its own it probably isn’t warm enough for skiing however it’s too warm for other activities such as hiking.
To be honest, it isn’t a dealbreaker for us because you can just wear additional layers to keep warm. The fact that it performs really well against all the other criteria we have set means its lack of warmth isn’t that big of an issue. The ventilation and weather resistance with the Arcteryx Sabre AR is fantastic while it is a very comfortable jacket to wear too.
You’ll look and feel great out on the slopes with this jacket because it has a stylish but understated design which you’ll forget that you even have it on. As far as shell jackets go, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better one.
It is a bit expensive and you’ll find cheaper jackets out there although they probably won’t perform the same. If you don’t mind paying out a bit more money than perhaps you normally would for a ski jacket then opt for the Arcteryx Sabre AR.
From backpacking to cycling in the mountains, Jodie can help you stay in shape and pick the best outdoor gear, clothing, and footwear. She is a full-time blogger and is our go-to source for backpacking gear reviews, outdoor skills advice and information, destinations for backpacking, camping, and hiking, and a lot more.