There are some things should be considered before getting an Arc'teryx. While these things are widely known by the Dead Bird enthusiasts, most of it is verbal.
To my knowledge, there's no one well organized write up out there that takes this verbal information and puts it on paper. Which is my purpose with this post.
By the way, as you read further...
Keep in mind that all you're getting is a new jacket. Don't be like me and treat this process as if you're getting married. It really doesn't have to be that complicated.
1- If it's your first ever Arc, then you're probably better off getting one of the flagship products
Arc'teryx is centered less around fashion and more around technicality and performance. This leads to a very wide variety of products in their catalogue with some of them offering quite niche uses.
Take ski & snowboard jackets, for example. Arc'teryx classifies them under 3 different departments: Freeride, touring and resort. Most other companies don't go the extra mile for stuff like this.
Or take climbing, as an another example. Even if you niche down to something like "mountain climbing during chilly summer mornings" then you'd STILL have 3+ options, such as Atom SL, Proton FL, Nuclei FL, etc...
These options would correspond to different needs, differing from one another in aspects like wind resistance, breathability, packability, durability and fit.
You get the picture. In short, the abundance of the number of choices end up paralyzing you.
So what can you do? How do you decide without having to research for hours?
But as you do so, keep in mind that below products are Arc'teryx's flagship pieces. You're probably better off with them considering this is your first ever Arc.
- Synthetic insulated
- Down insulated
- Base layers
Now that your choices are narrowed down, it's easier to make up your mind.
2- New season gear is released every year on February and August
But they never release the new/revised products entirely at once. It's mostly a slow process that almost always takes (at least) a few weeks to roll out completely.
My recommendation would be to wait until these months are over and then get the new products to be safe. Since the ends of these months are cross seasons, chances are, you don't need your jacket immediately and you have a few weeks to wait it out.
3- Colors you see on arcteryx.com are displayed brighter than they actually are
In reality, they're more muted.
In terms of fashion and looks standpoint, this is actually a pro if you aren't Kanye West. Still, most Arc'teryx users tend to use them in at least somewhat extreme sports like backcountry skiing, mountain climbing and trekking.
This brings us to the question of security. Some users rightfully argue this as being unsafe, as the rescue squads would have a harder time recognizing your not-so-bright-and-colorful jacket.
While this argument definitely has its place and should absolutely be considered, do keep in mind that most Arc'teryx ski jackets are equipped with Recco reflectors - a transmitter that allows the rescue crews to locate your whereabouts in such case.
Just make sure to consider what you're planning to do with your jacket, do read its specs and then act accordingly.
So yeah, a muted color might not necessarily be a deal breaker.
4- Most Arc'teryx products aren't discontinued permanently, but only temporarily
Arc'teryx is almost never satisfied with how far they come with their technology and catalogue. They're always on the lookout for further improvements (which is one of the primary reasons why they're at the top of performance focused tech wear).
This causes them to discontinue/reintroduce/revise their products extremely often. Sometimes these temporary discontinuations only take 6 months like it did for Beta LT and Dually Belay in the past. Other times it takes years like it did for Nuclei FL.
It's not impossible to find previous models, either. I'd recommend you to check out following pages:
This, however, also has its downsides.
Which brings me to my last point.
5- A revision doesn't always equal to a better product
The products Arc'teryx manufacture are real deal. They're nothing but R&D products. We all know how Windows XP and Windows 7 outperformed their successors.
Same goes for Arc'teryx.
I've seen too much Arc'teryx products that went south with the revisions. Maybe close to a quarter of all revisions? And I'm NOT exaggerating that.
One of the most infamous examples of this is Beta LT. Together with Proton LT and Nuclei FL, it was my long time favorite. Fast forward to Fall 2020 revision and they literally almost butchered it.
There had been some improvements along the way up to now, but the absolute unit of that pre-2020 version is still being missed.
Let me tell you that it isn't often for Arc'teryx to mess up the revisions this much. Even when the revisions fail to live up to our expectations or we end up liking the previous versions for the better, the new versions are mostly still A class.