magma jacket

Arc’teryx Sabre Jacket: Stay Fresh, Green, Warm, and Dry


Technical clothing doesn’t have to look that way. I do my best to never ski with a harness on and don’t need my jacket to compress down to the size of a deck of cards. What I do want is something I can ski the hill and the backcountry in that keeps me warm and dry without looking like a randophile.

My jacket pick for this year is the Arc’teryx Sabre. Freeride athletes Eric Hjorleifson and Austin Ross have injected some youth into the brand, selling more freeride fit garments. It’s now almost as common to see young ski bums sporting the dead bird gear as much as your outgoing dad’s “ski” buddies. Freeride fit has always been code for loose. This jacket isn’t clown baggy, but just less articulated and form fitting than the mountaineering line and made with the same 3 Layer Gore-Tex materials. Their website advertises the Sabre jacket as insulated, but I feel it’s more of a shell. It’s thin and lightweight, just with a thin flannel backer on the inside to make comfortable on your chin and more windproof. If you enjoy accessorizing, the Sabre jacket’s snow skirt has a snap in system which connects to the Sabre pants. You can have the snow-shedding ability of a one piece while still being easily able to take a backcountry dump.

Snow skirt clips into the black pant snap on the left. You can also see the light brush flannel insulation as thin as a piece of paper.

The hood fits great with a ski helmet but feels pretty big without one. Don’t ski with it on sans helmet unless you have the hood straps tightened up. The jacket has Recco reflectors attached to it, which I used to think were stupid because you should have a transceiver on. But there was a recent case where Search and Rescue successfully recovered an avalanche victim with a Recco locator, so I guess I can’t hate on them anymore. Avalanche transceivers can malfunction or break due to impact in an avalanche, so why not have a backup?

                                  Big ass hood to fit your helmet or Whistler ego.


Anyone spending time outdoors wants to protect the environment by wearing green products. Gore-Tex now passes the criteria of the Okeko-Tex Standard 100, which is an organization built around ensuring fabrics don’t contain chemicals harmful to the consumer or the environment. Props must be also given to Sympa-Tex for leading the charge on creating water-proof/breathable, environmentally sound products. I hope to see Gore-Tex become as green as they are one day.

For those who dig being on the resort and in the backcountry and don’t want to look technical, the Sabre jacket can get it done while giving a little TLC to the environment. For a little extra cash, you can have the hottest, best built, fresh technical jacket on the market.


The Breakdown

Element Protection
Freedom of Movement
Simplicity of Features
Value for Money
Backcountry Ski Cred.

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