Backcountry Test: Polartec 'Alpha' Jackets (in Tetons With Exum Mountain Guides)

Nabu Softshell Jacket ($350) — This jacket uses Polartec NeoShell waterproof/breathable stretch softshell fabric. It weighs 1lb., 5 oz. and is seam-taped. It’s a lightweight, comfortable, quiet shell that I would trust my life to in almost any conditions.

Alpha Pro Jacket ($225) — I see this jacket as Marmot’s most exciting new hybrid in years. It uses Alpha insulation throughout the core with Polartec Power Stretch Pro on the sleeves, Polartec Power Dry High Efficiency on the underarms, and a mesh liner. All fitted for athletic performance in cold temps with articulated construction. At 15.5 oz., put this piece on, never take it off.

Isotherm Hoody ($225) — Made with Polartec Alpha insulation throughout with 20-denier Pertex Quantum face fabric and softshell reinforcements on the shoulders. This new insulated jacket is ideal for ski-touring, hiking, mountaineering and everyday use in colder temps. An Exum guide favorite.

Thermo Hoody ($135) — This Polartec Power Dry piece can be called a state-of-the-art hoody, a full-zip base, or a mid-layer. Winter or spring, this is a piece you put on and leave on for days while you explore vert. It’s extremely packable, breathable, and the athletic fit is highly mobile. It looks cool at the bar, too, after a long day slogging in the outback.

—Aaron H. Bible is an outdoor industry journalist and is the Digital Editor for Elevation Outdoors magazine. See more of his work at