The Arc’teryx Rush Insulated Jacket: Long-Term Test
This lightweight, storm-resistant puffy earned an Editor’s Choice award. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
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Weight: 1 lb 1.4 oz.
Sizes: Men’s S-XXL, Women’s XXS-XXL
The snack jacket is a quintessential piece of gear for going deep into the backcountry. That is: a layer to keep on hand for quick lunch breaks, long transitions, or aprés beers back at the trailhead. The all-new Arc’teryx Rush Insulated Jacket proved to be a stand out in this genre—the synthetic insulated and water-resistant jacket kept us dry and warm on the summit and the skintrack.
Read more: The Best Puffy Jackets and Midlayers of 2023
It features Arc’teryx’s proprietary 20-denier gridded nylon face fabric that utilizes a liquid crystal polymer ripstop called Hadron, which is extremely abrasion resistant. The company recently started using this fabric in insulated layers, and it scored major points with our testers for lightweight durability. Case in point: the material never showed a scratch while getting roughed up around basecamp or when testers donned ice axes and crampons. It’s also DWR-treated, so it’s weather-resistant but not full-on waterproof, which was plenty to stay dry in low-density snowstorms. “The face fabric and shell material was crucial in Greenland when we did a lot of standing around in the fog and mist,” said one tester on our Editor’s Choice trip. “It repels moisture as well as a regular shell.” This meant that our tester could simply slip the Rush on top of her shell when a cold day turned sleet-y, rather than having to take her shell off, put on her puffy, and then put her shell back on over it.
Inside, the jacket is stuffed with synthetic Coreloft, Arc’teryx’s proprietary siliconized polyester insulation that retains warmth even when wet—and is less bulky than other loose-fill insulators. The resulting layer is not quite burly enough to qualify as a full-on belay parka, but it’s just right in temps between -15 and 25 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also far more packable, though not nearly as much so as a down puffy—We squished this one to about the size of a loaf of bread.
“It’s the ultimate jacket to throw on for a cold, windy summit,” said a tester after a winter of skiing in Wyoming’s Tetons. “This one’s a no brainer for all but totally bluebird days.” Internal dump pockets were a great spot to warm up mittens and stash skins, and the storm hood fits easily over a climbing or ski helmet. And yet, despite its summit chops, this jacket offers surprisingly good breathability. “I would have expected it to be too warm for those mild temps,” said one tester after skiing in the Steamboat Springs, Colorado backcountry. “I kept it on during my uphill and was honestly surprised that this level of insulation didn’t become stifling.” Simply put, the Rush is one of those in betweener jackets that you never thought you needed until, well, you can’t live without it.
Of course, all that tech doesn’t come cheap. But testers deemed this a worthy investment for those who spend multiple days per week in the mountains. In fact, one of our testers has eight puffies in her gear closet, yet she reached for this one at least four days a week.
Lily Krass is a freelance ski journalist whose writing has been featured in SKI, Powder Magazine, Freeskier, Teton Gravity Research, and Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal. She spends winters backcountry skiing in Grand Teton National Park and riding lifts at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, with the occasional trip to the Alps (for the food, obviously). In addition to an all-consuming addiction to powder skiing mixed with heavy doses of Type II fun, Lily takes snacking seriously, and when she’s not writing or sliding on snow, she’s likely deep into a baking project in her tiny kitchen. She is the co-author of Beyond Skid: A Cookbook For Ski Bums, a collection of dirtbag-friendly recipes inspired by life in a mountain town.