Arc’teryx is a brand that is well known for its high-quality materials and minimal design, but also its high price tags. As with most things that are expensive you generally get what you pay for and with Arc’teryx this is the rule and not the exception. The three very different shell pants reviewed here run from $550-$700 but all offer 100% Gore-Tex construction, well thought out design and stylish good looks. From Arc’teryx’s extensive line of apparel, I was on the hunt for a soft-shell ski touring pant, a resort shell and a crossover pant that could do both when needed. I found these in the Arc’teryx Procline Pants for dedicated backcountry missions with a more breathable fabric, the Arc’teryx Sabre AR Pants which are not only bombproof but also provide very light insulation for those more sedentary resort days and finally the Arc’teryx Rush Pants which are a do-it-all waterproof/breathable option.
Read more below about each of these three shell pants from Arc’teryx which are ideal for skiing at the resort, in the backcountry and everything in between.
The Arc’teryx Rush Pants use Breathable/Waterproof/Windproof GORE-TEX PRO fabric and were created for Big Mountain Freeride Skiing and Snowboard as well as Freeride Touring and resort skiing. The Arc’teryx Procline Pant are a soft-shell with four-way stretch that uses GORE-TEX INFINIUM which is a Windproof/Breathable/Water-resistant fabric that’s ideal for big backcountry skiing days along with some resort skiing and snowboarding. The Arc’teryx Sabre AR Pants are similar to the Rush Pants but they use a lightly insulated GORE-TEX 3L fabric that is Breathable/Waterproof/Windproof and is best used for resort skiing and riding on colder days.
Each pant provides its own benefits but they all have several features in common which make them a great trio. The design of the Arc’teryx Rush and Sabre AR Pants are essentially identical with the only real difference being the fabric. The Arc’teryx Sabre AR Pants use a lightly insulated GORE-TEX fabric while the Arc’teryx Rush Pants use GORE-TEX PRO Fabric. Both of these pants provide the same features of integrated Recco technology to help find you if you get lost, waterproof zippers on the two hip pockets and side zips used to dump heat when you start to heat up. An integrated belt plus additional belt loops ensure they stay up when you are active and Slide’n Loc attachments link these pants to specific Arc’Teryx jackets to help seal in the heat and keep snow at bay. In the left hip pocket, you’ll find a transceiver loop in case you don’t want to carry your transceiver in a chest harness and down on the pant cuffs, you’ll find Keprotec instep patches to increase durability and prevent ski edge cuts in the fabric along with 100D Cordura PowderCuffs (or gaiters as most people call them) keep snow from getting in your boots and make buckle management easy.
The Arc’teryx Procline Pants on the other hand use GORE-TEX INFINIUM with has a generous four-way stretch built into the fabric so it moves as you do. This fabric is of course Windproof/Breathable and provides some water resistance. There are two hip pockets and a transceiver pocket on the thigh with an integrated loop to secure your transceiver. Large thigh zips provide a way to dump excess heat and an integrated belt and snaps secure the Procline pants snuggly around your waist. Durable Keprotec instep patches prevent the GORE-TEX INFINIUM from sharp ski edges while the integrated TouringCuff ensures no pow gets in your boots.
No matter your preference for skiing, resort, slackcountry or backcountry, Arc’teryx has you covered with a wide array of waterproof/water-resistant, windproof and breathable ski pants designed specifically for each activity. Their minimalist approach to apparel design and use of only the best fabrics and accessories means that Arc’teryx reputation for producing only the best clothing is warranted.
While each of these Arc’teryx ski pants are expensive in their own right, when you look at the design, attention to detail, quality of fabrics used and overall fit you begin to realize why. Arc’teryx is a premium brand and it shows in each and every one of their products as they simply do not cut corners on anything. Having to pay $550-$700 for ski pants is a lot of money but the use of Gore-tex fabrics instead of proprietary waterproof/breathable fabrics is a sign that quality matters.
I’ve broken my thoughts of each pant down into the following individual paragraphs so have a read and find out what worked and what doesn’t with each one.
Arc’teryx Procline Pant
Nice articulation and overall cut fit me very well, the pants move well with you given the four-way stretch and have enough weight that they don’t feel like they hang off of you. They cut the wind nicely but I did find them cold against my skin without any base layer underneath. The pockets were generous enough easily get my hands in and out and the built-in transceiver loop on the right cargo pocket was ideal for securing my transceiver. Most apparel companies simply place a loop in an existing pocket without giving it much thought as to the location of the pockets and this is an oversight, as the weight and size of a transceiver over your thighs can be very annoying. Rather, it needs to be placed slightly off to the outside of your thigh so that it does not impede mobility or get in the way of each stride. Arc’teryx got this right. The fabric is durable and feels like more protection is provided when compared to your standard softshell or schoeller fabric. The GORE-TEX INFINIUM fabric is very impressive and while not waterproof it does block the wind and still allow any excess heat to dissipate - the side vents also help with this.
Arc’teryx Rush Pants
Arc’teryx uses a next-gen GORE-TEX PRO material which they developed in collaboration with Gore. While it may look and feel just like most other Gore-tex fabrics this is what Gore-tex calls their ‘Most Rugged Technology’ that provides maximum durability. In my testing I have not had any nicks or scrapes that have damaged the fabric, yet, and it seems pretty bomber—especially the instep kick patches that are there to protect from ski edge cuts which are ever so common. Like the other pants, I found the Rush Pants fit me impressively well. They were snug and contoured to my body but the articulated construction provided more than enough mobility skiing up and skiing down. I did find the material itself a little noisy and the crinkling on the skin track was distracting but hopefully, that subsides over time as the fabric gets more broken in. At the resort, the noise was less obvious as I was not walking as much and the wind speed seemed to dull it down. The two thigh cargo pockets are integrated very subtly and still provided room for a snack or transceiver. I did find it odd that the built-in transceiver lop was in the left pocket and not the right given that most people are right-handed. Also, there is a small internal mesh pocket inside the right thigh pocket which is the ideal place for keeping your transceiver from moving around while skiing, but alas, no loop to secure the transceiver. Odd. The generous thigh vents provided great airflow when needed and I liked that there was no mesh fabric to restrict airflow, just be sure to manage the vents when breaking trial side slow in deep snow or else you’ll get a pant full of snow.
Arc’teryx Sabre AR Pants
Like the Arc’teryx Rush Pants, the Sabre AR pants use an identical design and construction, only they use a GORE-TEX PERFOMRANCE Technology fabric which has a very minimal insulating brushed lining on the interior. Technically it is called ‘N80p-X GORE-TEX 3L fabric with 3L lo-loft soft shell construction’ and provides a soft next-to-skin flannel-like feel. While I was expecting more substantial insulation in the Sabre AR Pants after wearing them I found that even this minimal amount really helped with overall warmth and comfort. I qualified these pants as the resort ski pants but in reality, they can be used for ski touring as well on colder days as they incorporate all the same features as the Rush Pants, namely, two thigh pockets, side vents, internal mesh pocket and loop for a transceiver, but again the loop was in the left pocket and not the right. AR stands for All-round and thanks to the Sabre AR’s waterproof, breathable and hardwearing fabric these pants can take some abuse that you might throw at them while skiing the resort. Their contemporary style is very similar to both the Rush and Procline pants and I found these fit me just as well as the others and performed as advertised in all of my testing days lapping the resort.
Fit can be an issue for all of these pants as Arc’teryx recently adjusted their fit, luckily I have a pretty average build at 6’1” and 175lb so the medium for each fits me perfectly. Hopefully, this helps you for reference when trying to decide on the size that would best fit you. I am really impressed overall with each of these ski pants and while the price is on the higher side I do think you get what you pay for in the end. Be sure to check out these pants if you are in the market for a new pair for resort or backcountry skiing or perhaps something in between.
Arc’teryx Rush Pants
Price: $700CAN / $549US
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Colours: Windchild, Timelapse, Phantasm
Weight: 650g / 1lb 9oz
Arc’teryx Procline Pant
Price: $550CAN / $399US
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, 2XL
Colours: Forcefield, Glitch, Anecdote
Weight: 665g / 1lb 7.5oz
Arc’teryx Sabre AR Pants
Price: $600CAN / $549
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, 2XL
Colours: Black, Distortion, Komorebi, Timelapse, Anecdote
Weight: 600g / 1lb 5.2oz
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