Tuesday, 17 April 2018 07:54

Arcteryx Airah ski touring jacket tested and reviewed

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A single-layer solution providing comprehensive backcountry protection with exceptional breathability, the Airah combines waterproof GORE-TEX® performance with air-permeable Polartec® Alpha® insulation.

The result is a warm jacket for rest and descent phases that also manages heat and humidity on ascents. About 30% lighter than conventional layering systems, and far more packable, the Airah has a full set of features including a helmet-compatible StormHood™, pit zips and powder skirt.

Airah 6

What the manufacturers say:

For the female ski tourer, a single versatile jacket that combines waterproof/ breathable protection with lightweight, air permeable insulation. Conceived as a compliment to the multiple layers that female ski tourers carry, the Airah Jacket minimizes the need for constant layer shuffling.


• Polartec® Alpha® insulation offers full time warmth in cold conditions

• Reduces extremes of overheating and chilling

• Full winter weather protection from N30p 2L GORE-TEX® face fabric

Full suite of snowsports features

595g / 21oz (M)

Airah Jacket – RRP £460

For those ladies who find themselves still dressed in a down jacket while everyone else is in their base layer, the Airah Jacket is a nice air permeable option. Bridging the gap between fully insulated jacket and waterproof shell, this 2L GORE-TE piece has a lightweight, breathable and air permeable insulation and liner. New for Fall/Winter 2017, the Airah solves the challenge of needing insulation on the uptrack, and keeps layers to a minimum.

Airah 1 

Arcteryx Airah ski touring jacket reviewed by Katy Dartford

When I was booking my trip to ski tour in Georgia this winter i knew there was something missing from my kit. I have down jackets and Gore-Tex waterproofs, neither of which I wanted to carry at the same time....we have enough kit in our back packs with all our avalanche gear, food....drone (eh hem!) etc. But I’m a terrible one for heat regulation and the thought of starting off cold never appeals.

Airah 2

I’d heard that Georgia could be really chilly, so along with my battery powered heated socks, I took the Airah jacket which promised to do away with the need for two separate pieces to keep you dry and warm and was meant to be stylish too- obviously - very important when ascending 3000m peaks

Airah 3

And it was indeed a very comfortable jacket to wear - I’m XS and often end up looking like a Michelin women if i put just layers under my down jacket. This was way more streamlined, with zippers in the right places and nothing flapping about either. It also has a full powder skirt to stop snow creeping in underneath when one inevitably falls over in any less than perfect pow.

Whilst the jacket isn't super warm on it's own, Georgia actually turned out warmer than expected so you could just wear a base layer underneath which was enough to keep me warm and toasty throughout the day. The jacket was also sufficiently breathable so I didn’t overheat on the ski up and once we reached the top of one of the stunning 3000m+ Georgian peoples I was comfortable in the transition. The fact that you I was not constantly switching layers saved time on the mountain and weight in my pack. On the descent I could just chuck on another layer or simply put a buff on and pull up the helmet-compatible StormHood™ giving me more protection against the winds that could whip up.

Airah 4

I did occasionally simply want to strip down to just my t shirt for some ascents and whilst its about 30% lighter than conventional layering systems, and far more packable at 615g, the Airah is still no 'fast and light' jacket- bulkier than downs which you can simply scrunch up small and stuff in your backpack. So for really sunny , spring ski touring days it provides too much bulk and warmth, but it's a perfect jacket for wintry freeride adventures with short hikes in search of powder, with some short bootpacks into couloirs.

Airah 5

I wore the jacket again in Chamonix for some pure downhill powder days in pretty gloomy weather and it was spot - on warm dry and not too bulky. It’s also perfect for once your off the mountain - still stylish enough to enjoying a beer in the sunshine or a little apres.

Some might find the fabric a little ‘noisy’- if that’s a concern at all- and well, I’m not sure red is my best colour- but it certainly stands out for photos!