Man climbs couloir in Arcteryx Sabre Jacket and Stinger Bib Pant

Review: Arc’teryx Sabre Jacket & Stinger Bib Pants

In this review we look at the ultimate backcountry freeride combo: the Arc’teryx Sabre jacket & Stinger Bib pants.

The shred season may be winding down for some, and the March pow might be getting a little moist, but there’s still a good couple months of serious skiing left as the epic spring stability sets in. It’s a good time to look back at the gear that did us well this season as we start to think about longer spring missions, and how pow-y next season will inevitably be.

There are those brands out there in every sport that represent the core elite, and the people sporting their gear clearly mean business. In the world of backcountry skiing, for outerwear, that brand is Arc’teryx. And in my home base of Revelstoke, British Columbia, where a ski-touring-fashion-show frenzy greets you the moment you walk into any café in the morning, your cachet goes through the roof if you’re sporting this homegrown Canadian brand.

Man skis in Arcteryx Sabre Jacket and Stinger Bib Pant

The author shreds hard and looks good in the Arc’teryx Sabre Jacket and Stinger Bib Pant. All skiing photos by Christina Lustenberger.

The Arc’teryx Sabre jacket falls under the brand’s “big mountain” or “relaxed fit” line — it’s loose fitting, and uses solid monochromatic colour schemes that pop in a stylish and utilitarian way. Arc’teryx is well past the ubiquitous maroon shells that looked like they were made for a robot that ice climbs. Times have changed in the North Vancouver design lab. I got a medium Sabre jacket, and was actually stunned at how big it fit. It’s very, very generous, and could easily be considered a large. But I’ve since gotten used to it and it actually works quite well, you can fit a lot of layers underneath, which has been handy during this cold season. The hood and collar combo is also very ample, which is great when layering, but does leave the neck a bit cold otherwise. The sleeves are very long, but the Velcro cuffs haven’t shown the slightest sign of wearing out over four months of heavy use, so they still serve just fine to choke up comfortably to my length and seal me in. It’s also nice you can easily fit a gauntlet glove under there.

As far as the Arc’teryx Sabre goes, it isn’t a light jacket. It’s a very robust three-layer shell that uses a slightly insulating fuzzy GORE-TEX with a brushed lining. As a result, it’s not as packable as a lot of jackets, and maintains a sort of tough crumply feel that doesn’t soften much over time. This is good, because it means it’s tough. But you need to be choosing this jacket for that reason. It is also warm, and shields you from the elements, but also breathes well and has ample venting (including hidden pit zips you can undo one-handed). It’s perhaps slightly unfortunate the powder skirt isn’t removable, but this is to help with pack-ability, and you can always just leave it undone. The powder skirt also plays a big roll in sealing in heat under the larger and otherwise airier fit. It also works as good storage for skins or gloves when taking breaks, but there are two ample pockets that’ll easily fit skins, or anything else you need. There’s also a few smaller zip pockets for stowing your pass or credit card, and an open goggle pocket inside the coat (that I’ve thus far never used, but, hey, it’s there).

Back to the Arc’teryx Stinger bib pants: functionally, my only real gripe is they need a connector for the shoulder straps. I found without a pack on they wanted to wander wildly. The side vents could potentially stand to drop a little lower along the outer leg, too, but this is splitting hairs. The coolest feature, though, by far, is the dumper flap. Yes, you can poop outside in them without having to take your jacket or shoulder straps off. And there’s also a two-way zipper on the fly, so you don’t have to mess around with the bib to pee, either. It makes excreting a breeze!

Now, if you also hate transceiver harnesses, you’re in luck, because Arc’teryx put two pockets on the front of the bib that perfectly fit a transceiver, exactly where it should be, either on your left or right. At the resort, it’s also a perfect place to roost your phone and keep the battery warm so you can get those Instabangers.

I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the toughness of the pants, too. I often shred the cuffs scraping my edges against them while doing kick turns. A lot of really good pants don’t last even one season for me because I’m clumsy like that. I’ve had these for four months, and they’ve suffered only minor nicks to the Cordura protection. A for the shell material — which is N80p GORE-TEX, non-fuzzy and lighter than the Sabre’s — there are minor little spots where it has bubbled a tad (at the knees and cuffs) but it’s quite minimal considering I’d have wrecked any other pants by now and these look like they have seasons left to go. They also still bead water like a champ, without any re-treatment (only one detergent-less washing this season).

The Arc’teryx Sabre jacket by comparison, being a little heavier, hasn’t shown any bubbling at all, and has also stayed remarkably clean and impermeable.

All told, for functionality, toughness, and aesthetics, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to anything else. Arc’teryx has ruined me. But that’s okay, because it should be years before I have to shop for anything new anyway, so that’s a bargain after all. Dad’s old adage is true here: you get what you pay for!

Man skis in Arcteryx Sabre Jacket and Stinger Bib Pant

 

Arc’teryx Sabre Jacket MSRP: $700 CAD

Details

  • GORE-TEX three-layer construction makes it waterproof, windproof, breathable & durable
  • Powder skirt with gripper elastic and snap closure
  • 2 hand pockets, 1 sleeve pocket & 1 internal chest pocket
  • Helmet compatible StormHood
  • Colours include: Adriatic Blue, Oak Barrel, Pytheas

Materials

  • N80p-X GORE-TEX fabric with dL lo-loft soft shell construction

Measurements

  • Sizes available: S-XXL
  • Apparel Fit: Relaxed Fit, Hip Length
  • Weight: 1 lb 8.3 oz / 690 g

Arc’teryx Stinger Bib Pants MSRP: $700 CAD

Details

  • GORE-TEX Pro Fabric makes it waterproof
  • Articulated knees and seat & gusseted crotch
  • 2 bib pockets and 2 thigh pockets
  • WaterTight front fly and 1/2 length leg zippers
  • Keprotec instep patches
  • Powder cuffs with gripper elastic
  • Colours include: Black, Tungsten

Materials

  • N80p-X GORE-TEX fabric with dL lo-loft soft shell construction
  • N70p GORE-TEX Pro 3L fabric
  • Keprotec
  • Cordura Nylon

Measurements

  • Sizes available: S-XXL
  • Apparel Fit: XPD Expedition fit with e3D patterning
  • Weight: 1 lb 7.1 oz / 655 g

Author / Contributor

Matt Coté

Matt is the associate editor at Forecast. He’s been penning and editing ski, adventure and mountain culture-based stories for over a dozen publications for the last decade.

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