As most of you already know, I've been sharing helpful guides to all kinds of Arc'teryx jackets for the last couple of years now (find full post list at the bottom).
CAUTION: Fission SV is NOT designed for high output use (lacks breathability). If you're not OK with this, then STOP READING THIS POST RIGHT HERE and go see my guide to Arc'teryx Jackets to find out the right jacket for your own needs.
Despite its minor flaws (loose collar configuration & rough zipper flow), Fission SV would still worth getting. Because no other jacket can be even nearly as warm, windproof and waterproof at the same time. In other words, it mostly has no alternatives to it out there.
Yes, these flaws can be annoying. But I don't think they're a deal-breaker (at least not for me).
In Arc'teryx's line-up, the Fission SV is the warmest synthetic insulated jacket, and the second warmest synthetic insulated piece (coming right after this Arc'teryx parka).
In most cases, Fission SV can be a great option for stationary use in quite cold (think below 10 deg F's (-12 deg C's)) AND wet AND windy conditions.
The loose collar configuration might let in a little bit too much cold for you. Shift these temperature ratings accordingly if that's you.
This degree of warmth is really great, but isn't something we aren't used to. There are equally warm and even warmer jackets out there. Hell, this bad boy *slaps jacket* from the LEAF neighborhood keeps you warm out at degrees as low as -40 deg F / -40 deg C!
Find below the lowest temperatures you can wear each jacket without feeling uncomfortably cold.
These are only approximate values assuming:
- you only have a shirt under and no shell over,
- during daily use (strolls, power walks etc at most - no high output activities),
- with enough wind to cause an umbrella to twist in your hand,
- and when it's dry out.
°F / °C
Arc'teryx LEAF Cold WX Parka SVX (Men's)
Arc'teryx Ceres SV (Men's)
Arc'teryx Dually Belay Parka (Men's)
Arc'teryx Thorsen Parka (Men's)
Arc'teryx Centrale (Women's)
Arc'teryx Therme Parka (Men's)
Arc'teryx Camosun Parka (Men's)
Arc'teryx Patera Parka (Women's)
Arc'teryx Kappa (Men's)
Arc'teryx Magnus Coat (Men's)
Read more about this chart here in my Insulated Outerwear Temperature Ratings Guide.
Also see: Ultimate Arc'teryx Spreadsheet
If you think you run warmer or colder than the average person, then shift temperature ranges accordingly.
Also check out my ultimate guide to Arc'teryx Jackets.
You don't need me to tell you that this is crazy.
So, as you see, the warmth capability isn't really what makes the Fission SV special and irreplaceable.
So let's move on to take a look at other things.
As you might have realized, the Fission SV is advertised as "fully waterproof" by Arc'teryx.
Now this isn't wrong.
Combination of N80p-X GORE-TEX 2L face fabric and a DWR coating repels the water perfectly well. It prevents the water from getting soaked into the fabric, too.
DWR is a coating.
It's basically sprayed on to the surface of these jackets as a finish. It stands for Durable Water Repellent - which means that water will be repelled under wet conditions instead of soaking into the fabric.
DWR also decreases dry time.
It's a good thing these jackets are coated in DWR, but pay attention to the fact that DWR is a coating - meaning that it will wear off over time.
Which is why you might want to invest in a DWR spray such as this one for after treatment.
As you see, there's a strong correlation between FP x FW and temperature ratings, but not more than, say, 80%. I explained why this happens here in this post of mine.
The job it does in this department is actually even better than the Fission SV's warmer synthetic insulated alternative Dually Belay (hence the higher price tag).
Hell, I can even say that it'd be very, very, difficult (or maybe impossible?) to find a more waterproofing outerwear than the Fission SV.
Having said that... Just a heads up:
Waterproofing is NOT black and white. There is no fully "waterproof" textile out there, and won't be in the near future.
Some clothing materials are more waterproof than the others, and vice versa. Given the right amount of time and intensity, all clothing materials will soak water in.
The advantages and superiority put forward in the waterproofing department for the Fission SV goes the same for windproofing as well.
It offers incredible windproofing capabilities.
Poor breathability is actually a result of this very intention.
When you intend to make a jacket fully windproof, you inevitably end up having to sacrifice breathability in return.
Now having mentioned all these facts around waterproofing and windproofing...
We still didn't find an answer to our question as to why the Fission SV has no alternatives (because although the Fission SV is top notch in these areas, there are jackets with comparable capabilities out there).
Offering warmth & weather protection at the same time
This is the answer we're looking for here.
This, actually, can only be achieved with synthetic insulated jackets (since down mostly tend to lose its insulating capability under damp conditions).
Offering warmth & weather protection at the same time is what makes the Fission SV so special.
I've yet to find a jacket that offers the same (or nearly as much) amount of warmth, waterproofing and windproofing as the Fission SV.
Actually, please do reach out to me and let me know if you do come across one.
Like I said, the zippers might feel fiddly for some of you. They don't slide as easy as some smooth, non-technical jackets.
Additionally, it's a little bit difficult to insert the main zipper into the bottom slider. Can be annoying, but I don't think it's a deal-breaker - at least not for me.
Lastly, here's the product video: