The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
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Arc'teryx Dually Belay Parka: Avoiding Wetness for Winter Warmth
Posted on: October 1, 2007
MSRP: $475 (hooded version), $425 (non-hooded version)
Weight: 23.7 ounces
When I first heard of a new truly hydrophobic (no water absorbtion) synthetic belay parka called the Dually Belay Parka from Arc'teryx, I was sure it could not be true. We have all heard the promise before: "This synthetic insulation will keep you warm even when it's wet." The disappointment of realizing you are not warm—but in fact cold—sitting in a damp belay parka is true betrayal. This feeling goes away when you realize there is no better solution. Now there is no reason to compromise, or be wet and cold, as the Dually Belay Parka insulates while refusing to absorb water.
The jacket is new on the market this fall, but I was lucky enough to get my hands on one earlier this year. I ski toured, ice climbed, and spent time in the mountains of Colorado in the Dually and was truly impressed. The jacket absorbed no water besides the hand pocket lining, and in the spring I even used it to keep things "dry wrapped" inside the coat. The Dually went on a trip to Alaska and Peak 11,300', and the response was: "What is the name of this jacket, and when can I buy one?"
The Dually Belay Parka is filled with ThermaTek(TM). ThermaTek(TM) is a propriety synthetic puffy insulation by made by Arc'teryx. Each strand of insulation is coated with a heat activated DWR treatment. I found the result fantastic: when they say it's the most hydrophobic puffy insulation in existence, with an unparalleled warmth-to-weight ratio, I believe them.
I'm picky when it comes to my climbing garments; no piece escapes scrutiny. On the Dually, I found that the pocket lining absorbs water, therefore making your hands cold. The pockets also are small, and putting my large, gloved hands into them was a struggle. Though very lightweight, the jacket does not breathe as well, nor compress as effectively, as down.
Overall, this jacket is a top performer that will last. It succeeds in the worst conditions, in which most other "all weather" belay parkas end up soggy. For the mountain enthusiast who hopes for the best but expects the worst weather, this jacket is the gem that will keep them warm and dry.
Pros: Truly hydrophobic synthetic; unparalleled warmth-to-weight ratio; perfect for any cold and wet alpine environment.
Cons: Pockets are small and absorb water; does not breathe as well, nor compress as effectively, as down.