The hood is helmet compatible and has three points of adjustment. Although the hood felt bulky at first, with some tinkering of the adjustments, I was able to wear it comfortably with or without a helmet. When worn over my Black Diamond Vector helmet, minimal peripheral vision is lost, and overall the fit is protective and snug without significantly inhibiting my range of motion.
The hood’s performance is equally effective when using ski helmets like the Salomon Hacker and MTN Charge, although with these larger helmets you cannot take the hood off without unzipping. The one area where the hood could be improved is the adjustment toggles, which are small and harder to use with gloves when compared to the new Cohesive embedded cord locks found on some newer jackets on the market.
The Alpha FL has been my go-to hardshell for over two years now, and has seen a lot of abuse. This has included alpine climbing, ski touring, daily bike commuting, and everything in between. I was wary of the Alpha FL’s 40-denier non-ripstop fabric, but the jacket has yet to puncture or tear. Even the shoulders, where backpack straps and ice tools can often cause damage, show no obvious abrasion. For a piece that is designed for the “Fast and Light” system, it has proven to be surprisingly durable.
The Arc’teryx Alpha FL is a climbing-oriented shell that works well beyond its stated use. The trim fit and ample articulation suit a variety of activities, and the Gore Pro fabric provides reliable waterproofing. The minimal featureset is not for everyone, especially if you prefer to store a lot of stuff in your jacket. You should also look elsewhere if you prioritize breathability over weather resistance. But if you’re looking for a reliably waterproof shell with a slim alpine fit and you do not need too many features, the Arc’teryx Alpha FL is a great option.