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Arc’teryx Fissile Jacket

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Arc'teryx Fissile Jacket for Blister Gear Review.

Arc’teryx Fissile Jacket

Arc’teryx Fissile Jacket

Size Tested: Medium

Front Zipper Length: 79.5 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight (size Medium): ~970 grams

Fit: “Relaxed Fit” (more on this below)

Materials:

Membrane: N70P Gore-Tex  (3-layer)
Insulation: 750 fill European goose down with strategic panels of Coreloft 4 (40 g/m²) insulation

Stated Features:

  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Insulated
  • Down Composite Mapping strategically places Coreloft™ synthetic insulation in areas where moisture may build up and down in areas for maximum warmth
  • Down Contour LT™ is compressible while adding thermal value
  • Gusseted underarms
  • Articulated fit for better dexterity
  • Laminated brim
  • Adjustable hood drawcords
  • Insulated, helmet compatible StormHood™
  • WaterTight™ Vislon front zip
  • Pit zippers with PowderGuard™ mesh backing, for easy venting
  • Die-cut Velcro® cuff adjusters reduce bulk, and won’t catch or tear off
  • Adjustable hem drawcord
  • Recco® reflector
  • Slide ‘n Loc™ snap closures on powder skirt enable jacket to be fastened to specific ski pants to prevent snow entry

Pockets:

  • Sleeve pocket with WaterTight zipper
  • Two hand pockets with WaterTight™ zippers
  • Internal chest pocket with zipper
  • Two internal mesh dump pockets
  • Note: Our WaterTight™ zippers are highly water resistant, but not waterproof. We do not recommend keeping items in your pockets that may be damaged by moisture.

MSRP: $899

Reviewer: 5’10″, 175-180 lbs

Days Tested: 20+

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley

For those of you wondering what the absolute warmest ski & snowboard jacket is that’s made by Arc’teryx, the answer is the Fissile.

The Fissile is the outerwear equivalent of a fortress, designed to protect you from severe storms and / or brutally low temps. It’s an extremely comfortable, fully-featured resort jacket that’s totally storm proof, with a smart, functional feature set.

SIA Coverage 2016 Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth in the Arc’teryx Fissile, Taos’ West Basin. (photo by Cy Whitling)

And given all that, at a weight of ~970 grams (size Medium), this jacket doesn’t feel heavy or overly bulky—just comfortable.

I’ve been wearing the Fissile on the coldest ski days at Taos the past three seasons (and again today, where temps are currently -21° F), and the Fissile has exceeded my expectations. How?

Not just by being truly storm-proof and providing exceptional warmth (that in itself isn’t too hard to achieve), but by offering those things while also remaining comfortable in less-than-brutal temperatures and conditions. While it’s designed to keep you warm in very cold temps, the Fissile doesn’t become unbearably hot when those temps climb higher.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Arc'teryx Fissile jacket for Blister Gear Review.

Jonathan Ellsworth in the Arc’teryx Fissile Jacket, Taos. (photo by Cy Whitling)

In the first week of February last year, Taos was hit by a big storm that brought very cold temperatures and a lot of deep, dry pow. In the mornings, temperatures hung around 0 degrees F, and gusts on the ridge plunged the effective temperatures even lower.

I wore only a midweight baselayer below the Fissile, and I was perfectly comfortable—not just on those super cold mornings, but even when hiking up to Highline Ridge and West Basin in the afternoon once the temperatures began to warm up a bit. The Fissile’s mesh-backed pit-zips did a good job of dumping heat, and I never felt too cold riding early-morning chairlifts or too hot when hiking out to Juarez (above 10,000 ft) in the afternoon sun, with temps climbing into the upper 30s.

To be clear, there is no way that I would tour in the Fissile, but that ought to go without saying, right?

Sizing

I can comfortably fit a size Large Patagonia Nano Air or a size Large Arc’teryx Procline Hybrid Hoody beneath the size Medium Fissile. Having said that, I personally can’t imagine going skiing with a baselayer and a midlayer like these beneath the Fissile. But if you were going to be out in brutally cold temps and stationary for longer periods of time (camping, belaying a partner, etc), layering might be useful, and at 5’10, ~180 lbs, a Medium Fissile allows me to do that, while not feeling too big at all (to me, at least) with only a baselayer beneath it.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Arc'teryx Fissile jacket for Blister Gear Review.

Jonathan Ellsworth in the Arc’teryx Fissile Jacket, Taos. (photo by Cy Whitling)

(Note: if you are interested in a lighter, more packable, and still-quite-warm jacket for backcountry use rather than a heavier, fully-featured, less packable, inbounds-oriented Fissile, then check out the Arc’teryx Stikine jacket.)

Features

I’ll keep this section short since you can see the stated features at the top of the review, but I’ll just say here that all of the features have worked flawlessly so far. The zippers don’t catch or stick, the pit zips are easy to use, and the mesh-backing on those zips have never become caught up in the pit zippers.

The jacket has two big internal mesh pockets that are great for stashing a beanie, extra goggle lens, etc., and there is one smaller internal pocket that zippers shut that easily holds smaller valuables, like a wallet, car keys, phone, credit card. In sum: flawless.

Bottom Line

If you are willing to pay a premium for guaranteed warmth, weather protection, comfort, and better-than-expected breathability, then the Fissile is your jacket. If you run very cold—or just absolutely hate to be cold—the Fissile is basically perfect. It’s also durable enough that I suspect you’ll be breaking it out on the coldest days for many seasons to come.

2 Comments

  1. Josh January 31, 2017 Reply

    I seem to be having down leaking out if my fissile jacket and was wondering if thats normal. Leaking as in ill wear my jacket with a black hoodie all day and at the end of the day, ill see a bunch of down on my hoodie. I can see it coming out through the seams too. Its only a month old and it seems to be losing loft already. Any ideas? Is this normal?

    • KB March 13, 2017 Reply

      Quills and feathers will poke their way through the lightweight nylon interior of the jacket. Totally normal. You’re just noticing it more because you’re wearing black. You would have to lose a lot of down before it would compromise the warmth of the jacket, and I mean a lot.

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