I can’t think of many things that say ‘dialed’ better than a top-to-bottom Arc’teryx powder outfit. I’ve been throwing down throughout what’s become an increasingly good winter here in the PNW in the Arc’teryx Sabre LT Jacket and Sabre Pant. Are they any good? Oh you bet they are.
Arc’teryx Sabre LT Jacket and Sabre Pants Features:
- Sabre LT jacket features Gore-Tex C-knit backer
- Sabre pant features 3L Gore-Tex Pro.
- Fully seam-taped with Arc’teryx’s signature micro-seam allowance.
- Both top and bottom feature Recco locators
- Snow skirt works with Slide ‘n Loc technology to seal onto pants
- Jacket features helmet-compatible storm hood
- All zips water-resistant and have generous pull tabs
- Full gussets throughout both garments to maximize range-of-motion
- MSRP: Pants $499; Jacket $649
Epic layers for epic days
I’ve never owned a ski top and bottom that came from the same company and were made to be integrated with each other. I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of it, either, since having a set of bibs and then a shell always worked perfectly fine for me. So the prospect of using an Arc’teryx top and bottom that were from the same product line and designed to be used together had me excited, but also wondering if it would be worth the hype.
Whether or not something is ‘worth the hype’ always has to come down to performance. If you get lucky then you can also find a product that looks good, but I mostly look for durability, light weight and active performance when I’m evaluating technical gear. So let’s look at both the pants and jacket to see how they hold up.
The Arc’teryx Sabre LT jacket is a light version of the Sabre jacket, shaving about two ounces off of that jacket’s weight for a total claimed weight of 1lb 6oz. It’s also built with Gore-Tex C-Knit technology, which is worth a mention. C-Knit came out in 2015 but I haven’t actually seen too many products utilizing it yet. C-Knit, or ‘circular knit,’replaces the normal inner fabric membrane and is supposed to have three big performance advantages: it’s softer to the touch, it’s measurably lighter, and it’s still as durable, weather resistant and breathable as a normal 3L lining.
The shell industry is notoriously difficult to find objective, clear information about performance metrics and this is also the case with C-Knit; I can’t give you a great comparison of breathability because firm data are hard to come by, but I do feel that the C-Knit breathes just as well as normal Gore Pro if not better. The real benefit seems to be that it has a smoother handle and is a bit lighter. If you really need this jacket to breathe for you, you are better off relying on the two massive pit zips which obviously say there are times when they will be needed.
One more thing: the face fabric on both the pants and the jacket is an 80D weave, which is a good strong weave for smacking trees and sharp ski edges or whatever you’re doing in these clothes.
The actual features of the Sabre LT are so good as to be unremarkable, which is a great thing because you don’t have to think about them. The StormHood is enormous and happily accommodates my climbing helmet. And, I can usually squeeze it on with the zipper all the way zipped up, which is not the case for every jacket. The hood adjustments work well, although I do find the vertical toggles (the ones that come out the front of the jacket near your shoulders) hard to locate with gloves on. The cuffs are generous to accommodate gloves but seal nicely with a laser-cut flap.
The bridge between the jacket and the pants is Arc’teryx’s powder skirt. It’s a great powder skirt to start with featuring a conventional two-button closure and a grippy surface to hold itself down. What I love, though, is that two simple grommet-type attachments can lock the skirt down onto the Sabre Pant. This is easy to do with gloves on and pretty intuitive, which is surprising since the attachments are located around your backside.
The pants have belt loops and an integrated adjustable belt, which I used frequently and found adequate. The belt is perhaps a little wimpy and sometimes would loosen up on its own, creating what I call the snowboarder sag. I personally try to avoid that.
The pants feature two large pockets which are designed to move the contents away from high-impact areas on your legs, so you don’t have your keys banging against your knees all day. There’s also a handy zippered valuables pocket on the right side. I’m happy to say that the pants also feature two big fat zippered vents, which open and close easily and will be your best friend on the skin track. That said, the liner of the Sabre pants is brushed, which adds just a touch of insulative properties to the pants’ performance.
The bottom end has plenty going on, too. The powder cuffs are worth a mention because they’re made out of laminated 100D Cordura. In my experience the powder cuffs are one of the first things to break on pants with use, either from ripping themselves or from ripping out of the pant. I’m confident that these will last well, thanks in large part to the Cordura base fabric; so far the lamination has held strong, too. There are also color-matched Keprotec instep patches which will help prevent the hems from developing tears and abrasions. Also, the pants are super voluminous at the cuff – I personally don’t mind this but there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of fabric down at the hems. This could get annoying while skinning but has not bothered me on daytrips.
- Top-quality Gore-Tex foundation and 80D face fabric makes for a durable product
- Typifies Arc’teryx’s high quality of construction
- Thoughtful features, especially the powder skirt attachment
- Generous jacket and pant vents
- Integrated belt is a little wimpy
- Cuffs are probably too large, especially for dedicated touring
The Bottom Line: Arc’teryx Sabre LT Jacket/Pants
It’s hard to argue with the quality of an Arc’teryx top and bottom shell. I’m looking forward to many more years of hard use from this product, and that’s probably the ultimate justification for why you would choose the Sabre and Sabre LT pants and jacket. I recommend these to both inbounds and backcountry skiers (kudos again to the generous vents) and anyone else who likes to stand out like a fireball on a wintry day. The elephant in the review is certainly cost, but Arc’teryx’s quality does promise to hold up to the very best standards in the industry.