Arc’teryx Rush Jacket
Size tested: Large
Color: Utility Green
- 6’, 190 lbs.
- Typically wear a size Large
- New Gore-Tex Pro 3L waterproof/breathable fabric
- Pit zippers
- Vislon front zipper
- Drop back hem
- Internal mesh pocket
- Sleeve pocket
- Internal chest pocket
- Two hand pockets
- Non-removable powder skirt
- Honshu & Hokkaido, Japan
- Kodiak Island, Alyeska Resort, Chugach, Talkeetna, & Neacola Mountains, Alaska
- Jackson Hole, Teton Pass, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Days Tested: 40+
Growing up in Alaska, I spent every possible moment out playing in the mountains, and the importance of good outerwear was impressed upon me early on. (In fact, when I was in 7th grade, I did a class presentation on differences between Ultrex and Gore-Tex.)
Since then I’ve spent months in waterproof/breathable waders as a fly fishing guide, I’ve whitewater kayaked in waterproof/breathable paddlewear on 5 different continents, and now I’m fortunate enough to ski more than I do almost anything else, in resort and in the backcountry. Given that, I’ve worn quite a bit of outerwear and I’ve very much begun to appreciate the attributes that make a difference in harsh conditions.
Arc’teryx describes the Rush as a “waterproof, breathable and durable jacket designed for big mountain adventures and on/off piste skiing and riding.” I go on a lot of big mountain adventures and do a lot of on- and off-pisted skiing, so I wanted to see how well the Rush jacket measured up against some other jackets in its class that I’ve used, like the Mountain Equipment Firefox, Norrona Lofoten Active Shell, Salomon Shadow GTX, and 2012-2013 Patagonia Powslayer.
I was immediately impressed by the fit of the Rush. It is loose enough that I can easily wear a mid-weight down puffy under it, but it still feels great with only a light merino baselayer. It is about as close to a perfect fitting jacket as I’ve ever owned; there’s enough fabric where needed to allow for proper range of motion and layering, yet there doesn’t seem to be any extra material or bagginess in the jacket’s cut.
The jacket’s sleeves and hem are a good length for me. I could probably use a ½ inch more length on the sleeves and an inch or so on the rear hem line for a touch more coverage, but in general the length is totally adequate for my build.
Many modern ski shells like the Salomon Shadow and my 12/13 Patagonia Pow Slayer jacket have a bit of a looser/baggier fit than the Rush. I don’t mind this for skiing (when you’re likely to be layering underneath the shell often), but the Rush’s slightly slimmer fit helps make it the best year-round hardshell I’ve ever used.
Waterproof / Breathable Membrane & Face Fabric
Gore-Tex revamped its high-end Pro Shell material this past season and the Rush Jacket features this new material. Gore claims that the membrane is up to 36% more breathable than the older Gore-Tex Pro Shell. (For an in-depth look at the differences between Gore-Tex Pro Shell and the new Gore-Tex Pro, see Sam Shaheen’s review of the Mountain Equipment Centurion and Tupilak jackets.)
Arc’teryx uses two different face fabrics on the Rush. The shoulders are covered with a heavier, more durable 80 denier fabric, while face fabric on the lower torso and sleeves are made using a lighter, more packable 40 denier material.
Below I’ll break down my experiences with the Rush and, where applicable, comment on how I think Gore’s latest pro-shell compares to their Active shell laminate.
In Alaska, it’s pretty rare for me to skin with a shell on because I’m usually ski touring in relatively nice weather. I’ll only wear a shell on the way up if it’s super windy or very snowy, and the latter is often the case in Japan.
Over the past two years, I routinely found myself skinning all day in the midst of pounding snow storms while in Japan, taking laps in tight trees and protected slopes while the snow stacks up. This was a great opportunity for me to gauge the breathability of the new Gore Pro, and I can say that it is significantly better than the older Pro Shell used in my 12/13 Patagonia Powslayer jacket (which is consistent with Sam’s findings in his review of the Mountain Equipment Tupilak jacket).
I stayed noticeably cooler and drier skinning all day in heavy snowfall in the Rush than I would have in my Powslayer. And many of the storms I skied in in Honshu, Japan were not producing very dry snow, but conditions much wetter and more humid, more like the storms I’m used to in the PNW.
During much of the season back in Alaska, I frequently alternated between jackets made with Gore Active Shell (the Norrona Lofoten Active Shell and Mountain Equipment Firefox) and I did notice they they felt a little cooler / more breathable than the Pro while I was skinning. However, Active Shell is a lighter, potentially less durable material than the Gore Pro, and the Rush jacket has held up very well. Speaking of which..