Arc’teryx have always been pretty good at taking a product that’s already a classic and making it even better. The Rush Jacket is a perfect example. The revised winter 2017 / 2018 Rush Jacket is a monster of a big mountain shell and even better than its very able predecessor.
Arc’teryx Rush Jacket Review | The Basics
Weight → 590g
Fabric → N80p-X 3 layer Gore-Tex Pro
Fit → e3D Regular Fit
RRP → £570
Arc’teryx Rush Jacket Review | Materials & Construction
The Rush Jacket is made entirely from N80p-X Gore-Tex Pro fabric. The 80 denier face fabric is smooth and soft and, although many other brands use 80 denier Gore-Tex Pro, the ‘X’ in the name denotes that this face fabric is a little more durable and hydrophobic than the norm. The fabric strikes a good balance between feeling durable but not too stiff or heavy.
Although I’ll only be able to comment on long-term durability in the future, I’m pretty confident in the N80p-X textile as it’s the same fabric as Arc’teryx use to construct the Stinger Pants. I’ve been wearing a pair for 5 years and they’re still looking good so my expectations are high.
So far the Rush has proved to be both waterproof and windproof, as you’d expect. Often, the big question with waterproof fabrics is often how breathable they are. A recent day out splitboarding was a really good test for the fabric – it was windy and cold with frequent wet snow showers low down increasing to a full on blizzard up top. The kind of conditions where your hood is up most of the time and you’re glad to have a proper mountain shell. I was carrying a pack and working hard kicking steps in snow and skinning up fairly steep slopes.
Unsurprisingly I managed to overcome the fabric’s breathability levels and some moisture was evident on the inside of the shell. However, it soon dissipated and once I stopped it dried up pretty quickly. I’d say that’s about as much as you can expect from a bombproof fully waterproof and breathable fabric in that kind of situation.
You might be able to get better breathability levels in some air permeable waterproof fabrics like Polartec Neoshell, or by using softshell panels on a jacket to increase airflow, but only at the expense of weather protection and durability. Since the Rush is intended as an all round freeride / backcountry shell, rather than a touring specific product, the combination of protection and breathabiliity offered by the fabric is probably about as good as it gets.
Construction wise the Rush is what you’d expect from a high-end Arc’teryx shell; super clean and solid with extensive use of weight saving techniques like skinny seam tape and lamination.
Arc’teryx Rush Jacket Review | Features
The features and components used on the Rush all mirror the fabric in that they feel solid and reliable but not too heavy or clunky.The jacket’s feature set strikes a nice balance between just enough, but not too much. It’s a pretty clean and fairly minimal shell really.
There are 5 pockets in all; a pass pocket on the left arm, two big outer hand pockets, an inner drop pocket and a small inner security pocket. The hand pockets are big enough for storing skins if required and are easy enough to access with a pack on. I love the inner drop pocket. It’s made of a stretch mesh and is great for stuffing gloves in, a beanie or even a small flask.
The hood is awesome; easily big enough to fit over a helmet or hat. It locks down nicely with two rear adjusters and two front ones. The front adjustment cords feature Cohaesive embedded cord locks which are super easy to use, even when wearing gloves. They feel solid and durable and sit flat inside the fabric.
The centre front zipper is a chunky YKK Vislon that feels great to use and is proven to be durable and less likely to freeze up than regular coated zippers. The two outer hand pockets have Arc’teryx exclusive RS zipper sliders. These sliders don’t need a garage to make them weatherproof and thus keep the outside of the jacket cleaner. The jacket has pit zips which I don’t tend to use so much – still, they’re there if needed. The internal snow skirt is basic and effective and there are a couple of attachment points to connect the skirt to Arc’teryx pants for those really deep days.
Arc’teryx Rush Jacket Review | Fit
Both longer and a little roomier than its previous incarnation, the Rush Jacket now fits like a contemporary freeride jacket should. There’s plenty of room for layering underneath and on cold days it’s been really nice to wear my Cerium LT Hoody as a midlayer.
It doesn’t feel too roomy with just a lightweight midlayer though – this is where Arc’teryx have got the fit just spot on. It’s important that a shell like the Rush can be used with a variety of layers. On really cold days riding the lifts you might have a down or synthetic insulated jacket underneath, on a damp day touring in spring perhaps just a baselayer. For me, the Rush works in both scenarios.
Arc’teryx Rush Jacket Review | Verdict
First up, it’s probably worth mentioning the price. The Rush Jacket is pretty expensive. There are shells out there with a higher price tag, but it’s certainly not cheap. That said, you get a lot of jacket for your money. Because of the fabric and construction methods used, it should outlast most other shells of a similar weight. Break the cost down over multiple winter season’s worth of use and it doesn’t seem too bad.
Unless something better comes along I’m pretty sure this will be my default resort and splitboarding shell for years to come. On benign days in the backcountry I might choose to take a lighter and more packable jacket. Most days though I suspect the Rush will be either in my pack, or on my back. At just under 600g there are of course lighter jackets around but the Rush definitely offers a lot for that weight. The streamlined construction and 3 layer fabric also mean it packs down pretty well too.
So, a big thumbs up for the Arc’teryx Rush Jacket. It’s a beautifully designed, premium shell that’s both durable and protective yet also light and packable. It’s a great option for the freerider who wants one jacket to wear all winter, whether at the resort or in the backcountry.
// I’ll update this review with more thoughts later this spring //
Disclaimer – I aim to be open and honest when writing gear reviews. On this occasion, Arc’teryx gave me a sample jacket for review. My views and opinions are independent whether I’m reviewing an item that has been loaned or given to me, or a product I purchased myself.