Outside Analysis Archangel Assessment: GORE-TEX Professional for Stretch in a Workhorse Shell

Outside Analysis (OR) has a repute for producing no-nonsense outerwear for hardcore alpinists, and GORE-TEX is a staple waterproof-breathable membrane for that viewers. Gore launched GORE-TEX Professional in 2020, and the massive information was that this new model was stretchy.

Stretchy GORE-TEX? For this ice climber, that was nice information — if it labored. I used to be doubtful, particularly of its sturdiness. However I shoved them into my bag anyway as I packed for a visit to seek for massive ice first ascents within the backcountry of Alaska.

OR launched the Archangel Assortment final yr. It touts using the brand new GORE-TEX Professional to “steadiness velocity and effectivity with out compromising safety.” I took the jacket and bibs to Alaska final month for every week of scouting and trying ice first ascents within the backcountry. Right here’s what I discovered.

(Photograph/Outside Analysis)

Outside Analysis Archangel: Stretch The place It Issues

OR makes use of the Stretch Expertise model of GORE-TEX Professional (Gore claims 20% stretch) within the higher again, decrease hood, knees, and crotch gusset.

The panels within the higher again have been noticeable whereas poling throughout strategy snowboarding and whereas mountain climbing on tougher pitches. I’m broad throughout the shoulders for the way small my torso is, and most males’s medium jackets are a bit tight throughout the higher again.

However the Outside Analysis Archangel jacket alleviated the same old pressure. I may inform it got here from the stretch panels as a result of my backpack remained stationary; I can normally really feel my pack shifting horizontally when the higher again of my jacket is simply too tight.

The GORE-TEX Professional stretch crotch gusset was additionally a winner. On a memorable pitch, I needed to stem over overhanging daggers to keep away from probably launching them off.

The transfer was on the restrict of my hip mobility, however the bibs had no drawback even when pinned beneath the leg loops of my harness. The stretchiness certainly helped on this explicit state of affairs.

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Ice climbing in Alaska
The writer adopted this pitch and needed to stem over the hanging daggers to keep away from knocking them down.

Identical for the stretch panels within the knees. On the toughest pitch of the journey, I needed to excessive step onto loopy mushroom formations at practically crotch stage.

I had my pants hooked up to my boots through a bungee wire by way of the eyelets within the decrease hem to behave as a “self gaiter,” which prevented them from driving up. The stretchy knees did the trick.

Outdoor Research Archangel Jacket
(Photograph/Earl Harper)

Breathability In all places Else

OR selected to make use of the breathable model of GORE-TEX Professional Most Breathable Expertise elsewhere within the Archangel jacket and bibs. Breathability is the efficiency limiter for waterproof/breathable shells for me when the outing entails any bodily effort past straightforward strolling. So, this technique made sense to me.

This Most Breathable Expertise makes use of a lighter denier face material in comparison with the GORE-TEX Professional Most Rugged Expertise. I had one other shell that was totally product of the extra rugged model, and the lighter weight and softer hand of the material have been apparent. The Most Breathable Expertise material was simpler to maneuver in whereas the Most Rugged Technolgy material felt stiff and crinkly.

However the “enhanced breathability” was onerous to quantify. Based on Gore, the Most Breathable Expertise assessments out to the identical ISO 11092 breathability scores as the previous, normal GORE-TEX, so there isn’t a relative acquire.

The Most Rugged material, which measures much less breathable by the identical check, felt much less breathable throughout approaches when physique motion was probably the most aggressive and constant, all venting choices being roughly the identical.

Outdoor Research Archangel Bibs
(Photograph/Earl Harper)

However the Ruggedness?

The Outside Analysis Archangel jacket and bibs admirably resisted harm by way of every week of onerous use. Jagged granite and ice, stray ski edges and crampon factors, and haphazardly racked and unracked ice screws all tried to shred the shell.

I’m notoriously onerous on gear, and the Archangel shocked me regardless of the relative wispy hand of the GORE-TEX Professional Most Breathable Expertise.

However the limits of the breathable material have been uncovered compared to GORE-TEX Professional Most Rugged Expertise. I rock climb principally, and with out fail, I’ll catch a crampon level on the within of my decrease leg stepping by way of, forgetting how a lot greater my foot is with the boot and crampon.

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Each single pair of shell and softshell climbing pants I personal has telltale patches, and I don’t contemplate {that a} flaw of the materials chosen. It’s person error led to by yours really, making an attempt to make use of sport climbing methods on ice.

However on this journey, I had a direct comparability come alive, as I had bibs product of the rugged model of GORE-TEX Professional. On consecutive days, I did the precise similar factor, with the identical foot.

I caught a mono level on the within decrease leg of the OR Archangel bib, sadly simply above the sting guard. I made the an identical mistake on the opposite bibs, in virtually the very same spot.

On the OR Archangel, with the breathable material, I tore a ¾-inch rip. On the opposite, most rugged material bibs, it was barely a puncture.

You may see the distinction within the picture under. Identical crampon level, similar foot, similar spot on pants, doing the very same factor. And I do know I had extra drive behind the stray level on the Most Rugged bibs.

Crampon point damage on bibs
Crampon level harm to OR Archangel bigs (prime) and a GORE-TEX Professional Most Rugged Expertise bib (backside), each area repaired.

I nonetheless don’t fault the OR Archangel; I’ve torn each pant this fashion if I miss the sting guard. However it’s a notable distinction between the 2 variations of GORE-TEX Professional.

All of the Wants, Not one of the Extras

I felt the OR Archangel had all of the options I wanted for alpine and backcountry mountain climbing, with out extras that might do nothing however add weight.

Outside Analysis Archangel jacket and bibs have the next major options:

  • Full facet zips on bibs, pit zips on jacket
  • Massive zipped handwarmer pockets on jacket with stretch mesh inside pockets for small gadgets
  • One inside zipped chest pocket on jacket and an exterior one on bibs
  • One thigh pocket on bibs
  • Eyelets at decrease hem for elastic and belt loops on bibs
  • Captive wire lock on hood and decrease hem of jacket
  • Brim stiffener on hood
  • The jacket in males’s medium had a verified weight of 1 lb., 2 oz.; the bibs have been 1 lb., 8 oz.
  • MSRP $649 every for jacket and bibs and accessible in males’s and ladies’s variations
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I used each function listed through the journey. The one factor I wanted for, and for each different comparable journey, is for the sting guard of the bibs to increase additional as much as assist forestall crampon level harm. I may very well be extra cautious, however I don’t have a single alpine or mountain climbing accomplice that doesn’t catch a degree on the within decrease leg.

OR Archangel
(Photograph/Earl Harper)

Outside Analysis Archangel Jacket and Bibs: Conclusions

I check plenty of shells and the first objective is to maintain you dry when it’s essential, each from the surface components and from internally generated moisture. Most do the primary remarkably nicely, and the latter is normally missing for extra intense pursuits.

GORE-TEX Professional inched the sport up with the improved mobility of Stretch Expertise. The OR Archangel makes good use of it. However many of the breathability necessities have been greatest mitigated by altering layering and making use of all of the zips and vents.

Even by Gore’s PR, the GORE-TEX Professional Most Breathable Expertise is not any higher than earlier than, solely higher than the newer Most Rugged Expertise.

The OR Archangel proved to be a stable workhorse shell in Alaska; (photograph/Chris Lindsey)

The Outside Analysis Archangel jacket did present for freer motion in conditions the place it mattered. And it did forestall each wind and water from penetrating, which might have been catastrophic given the 10- to 20-degree temperatures and generally heavy snowfall and wind.

It additionally survived very harsh remedy exterior of a crampon level, which derails all my shell pants.

However following the norm for alpine-oriented shells, the breathability was nonetheless an element, greatest mitigated by eradicating layers and opening vents. The Holy Grail of membranes continues to be out of attain.

In the long run, the Archangel is a super-capable workhorse shell that has glorious mobility, sturdiness for alpine pursuits, and the options wanted with nothing superfluous. A stable selection for mountain endeavors in difficult situations.

Examine Jacket Value at Outside Analysis Examine Bib Value at Backcountry

the author standing in the snow and smiling, wearing the pink OR SuperStrand hoodie
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