Tactical Tailor

Arc’teryx LEAF – Cold WX SVX Parka and Bib

Although we’ll tell more of the Cold WX SVX story in the coming months, photos and limited background data has been released by the various retailers selling Arc’teryx LEAF products. While everyone is excited to see what’s new, this has led to some confusion regarding this two-piece ensemble.

At $1500 for just the parka, many are crying foul. But, as is so often true when it comes to LEAF, if you’re complaining about the price, it wasn’t meant for you. That is double so in this case. Cold WX SVX was created for a very focused customer, operating in extreme cold weather.

If you’re someone who needs Cold WX SVX, you’ll welcome it, and as a core LEAF customer, you’ll most likely be issued it. You’ll appreciate what it does. You’ll marvel at how little it weighs compared to other arctic clothing solutions. You’ll rave about how mobile you are while wearing the suit.

The roots of Arc’teryx are in building clothing and equipment for athletes who conquer the most challenging environments on earth. Designed for wear in the Arctic, Cold WX SVX was created for a different class of athlete, the military elite.

Cold WX SVX is the pinnacle of Arc’teryx design, materials and manufacturing. There’s a little piece of everything Arc’teryx has learned about making clothing over the past few decades in that garment. Quite frankly, it’s amazing.

Because it’s purpose built for a very narrow application, it’s not replacing anything already in the line. And, it’s existence isn’t going to drive the price down on other cold weather items in their line. Truth be told, considering how many Arc’teryx will end up selling, they’ll be lucky to break even. They’ve spent several years developing this product and putting the infrastructure in place to make it a reality. Originally, they had planned on launching the garment a year ago, but it wasn’t quite where they wanted it, so they worked for several more months, tweaking here and there and placing the final design into production at their plant near Vancouver, British Columbia.

The insulation is Goode Down because it is meant to be worn in the Arctic. It’s cold and dry there. Yes, they’ve included a GORE-TEX face fabric, but it’s extremely breathable and intended to stop wind rather than precipitation. SVX is not intended for the average guy to wear in the rain while walking from his car into the office. You’ll be sweating long before you get there. It’s WARM. Over a year ago, I stood in the design studio at Arc’teryx and tried a prototype parka on. I began to warm immediately and had to take it off after a few minutes.

Specifically, it’s constructed with Allied 850fp Grey Goose Down packed into boxed pleated baffles constructed of nylon taffeta fabric with a shell combining panels of GORE WINDSTOPPER 2L 40d Nylon Plain Weave face fabric and GORE-TEX 3L 30d Nylon Plain Weave fabric.

“We are excited to work closely with Arc’teryx to leverage our portfolio of protective fabric solutions for their cutting-edge outerwear products,” says Tom Dykes, Application Engineer at Gore. “The combination of Gore fabrics used in the Cold WX Parka SVX will provide a broad level of protection for military and law enforcement personnel who encounter harsh weather conditions. The design and technical fabrics offer a distinctive advantage so users can remain warm and alert during their mission.”

The features are called out below.

You’re probably wondering why it’s not White if it’s intended for wear in extreme cold weather.  Instead, they chose Harrier, a light Grey hue. That’s because the Arctic isn’t completely White and Harrier will blend in with many of the places that get really cold. Plus, Harrier isn’t going to show every little smudge like the color White will.  Besides, guys who really need to blend in are going to use Overwhites.

If you’re in the business of exposing yourself to the coldest environments on earth, then by all means, get the LEAF Cold WX SVX Parka and Bib. It will be money well spent and you’ll appreciate the investment. If you just want to buy one because “Arc’teryx”, I understand. I just want you to understand what you’re buying and why it costs so much.

Coming soon from leaf.arcteryx.com or from your favorite LEAF outfitter.


40 Responses to “Arc’teryx LEAF – Cold WX SVX Parka and Bib”

  1. tangloppen says:

    Everything inside me screams “WANT!”, but i guess im gonna pass this one.

  2. joe says:

    Ah yes, the “if you have to ask the price, you’re not operator enough” argument.

    They can only charge this because SOCOM doesn’t have to do cost/benefit analysis on gear. Nor do they have to empirically prove they’re getting more when they pay more. Everyone else isn’t using someone else’s money.

    I’ll be absolutely shocked if there is any testing or data to show that this is better than standard issue ECWICS

    • Oh Billy says:

      “Absolutely Shocked” Shut up nerd.

    • SSD says:

      It’s interesting that you think this was built for the Americans.

      Also, I’m literally laughing, out loud, over your concern that this be tested against ECWCS.

      You are definitely not the customer for this.

      • Nik says:

        Not built for the Americans….hmmm so then im guessing the Chinese?

      • joe says:

        I still stand by my assertion that whoever is buying, is not bothering to shop, because they don’t need to.

        And considering that you can get an entire expedition suit commonly found at the top of Mt Everest for $1,300, they are paying around double what they need to.


        • dean says:

          I highly doubt this focused arctic customer is going to pay full price. I’ve never paid full price for Arc’teryx my entire life. Mainly because I’m a PRO end user.

          If you *need* it , Arc’teryx will help get it to you.

        • Steak TarTar says:

          Yeah but you’re not gonna be stacking many Russians in the Arctic wearing that thing

        • SSD says:

          You would pay MSRP. Governments don’t. Arc’teryx didnt build this in a vacuum. Customers have been working with them, every step of the way.

        • Woody says:

          Prior to my work in the tactical world, I worked in the technical outdoor clothing world. Any of the commercial down suits on the market do not have the mobility or durability that a tactical user would need. They are extremely bulky and designed to keep fat dentists and lawyers warm while being short roped up Everest.

          All the high level 8000m Climbing/Polar Travel athletes we sponsored used a 2-piece system like the Arc’Teryx system here. In fact there were a lot of prototypes/one-off pieces developed similar to this system. Additionally, none of the guide services we sold to (some of the most respected high altitude climbing schools in the US) had their guides wearing down suits. Clients, yes. Guides generally opted for a warm base layer, a lightweight synthetic insulated midlayer top and bottom, and finally a windproof, 200-250g 850fp insulated Down Jacket and Pant combo. MSRP on the Down pant and jacket combo were in the $1200 range for both but that was with proprietary fabrics. The Gore brand normally adds a 20-30% premium due to the increased cost of fabrics.

          Also economies of scale are at play. I can’t imagine Arc’Teryx will sell more than a few hundred of these a year. Even at a few thousand units a year the company I worked for never really made much money on down suits and high altitude gear. High fill power, baffled jackets, especially with a windproof shell (meaning limited stitching required on the face fabric with seam taping) are extremely complicated and labor intensive to sew.

          A brief look at the Arc’teryx line-up reveals that this is the only jacket they’ve offered commercially with this type of construction. Remember every time you stitch the outer shell it’s a place where wind can enter and it’s either accepted as a compromise or needs to seam taped, adding to the complexity. Then you mix two dissimilar fabrics and have to deal with the challenges that can bring. I believe the goal of the LEAF line-up is no compromise.

          If you look at their consumer down with shell jackets, they are in the $800 – $900 range. I would imagine the MSRP is set up to allow Government cost to be in that same range.

          If you’re not a high level military end-user in Arctic or High Altitude conditions (especially if you don’t need “cool guy” colors) , there are lots of commercial off the shelf products from Arc’Teryx and others that will work.

          • SSD says:

            Very interesting input Woody!

          • Geoff says:


          • JF says:

            Woody – bang on.

            • carlos fernandez says:

              Woody, the set price (jacket and pants) is 2800$ The price of a tailor made high altitude down suit is less than half, if we use gore textiles and we add 20% more is still less than half .. ad we already have a resistant product, made in europe or USA and manufactured in very few queantities. (made to measure)

              Seam taping is not mandatory for windproff clothing in fact 90% of the windproof clothing does not have sealed seams, And in any case Arcterix clothing is designed to have minimus seams (which reduces the time and seam sealing cost )

              In any case we are all sure that is an excellent product as everything that arcyeryx made but as always its final cost is difficult to justify

              • Woody says:

                To quote “The Office”:
                Jim: Dwight, don’t you need health insurance?
                Dwight: Don’t need it. Perfect immunity. I can raise and lower my cholesterol at will.
                Pam: Why would you need to raise your cholesterol?
                Dwight: So I can lower it.

      • SG says:

        Proof that you don’t now what you’re talking about. Comparing ECWCS to this is like comparing a 1913 Reading Standard to a 2017 Ducati 1299 Superleggera.

        I feel bad for you, Joe.

    • Brian says:

      Impressive. Every word in that sentence was wrong.

    • dean says:

      do pushups.

    • Yogi says:

      this suit works as a garment to be used when driving open vehicles at winter. snowmobiles etc. it will also keep you warm when sitting in an OP during winter, and you will not need to bring a sleeping bag(or just a thin one for VERY cold temps), you only need a sleeping mat and a gore-tex bivvy bag.
      this set will do alot so the price is not so bad.

      • Woody says:

        Yep. I bet windproofness was just as much or more of a requirement that pure warmth/r-values.

        50mph on a snowmobile at -15° is pretty damn cold.

  3. Judah Schaap says:

    joe; that is a pretty serious allegation.

  4. WHat says:

    Shouldn’t this be tagged “press release”

  5. tito says:

    I love the features, that’s definitely purpose built…nothing like the fishtail parka that we had…sad.

  6. Canuck says:

    CANSOFCOM is getting ready for winter warfare I see.

    I could think of Nordic countries too but they have their own manufacturers (NFM comes to mind) that they’d probably get those products from.

    I could see Alaska’s AFSOC squadrons getting that to, iirc from a story ran right here they are already getting LEAF issues. But yeah that’s definitely niche.

    • Lasse says:

      All Scandinavian SOF frequently use or have used Arc’teryx products. NFM doesn’t do down, or is anywhere close to the quality.

  7. Asher says:

    For sure the best pieces from Arcteryx.

    Not for the fainted heart but pricing is actually on par with similar offering from Canada Goose and Fjallraven.

    It is possible to disclose how much of of the 850fp Grey Goose Down is stuffed inside the SVX Parka? My guess is about 400-500gram of down.


  8. redbeard says:

    Looks great -the boys are going to love it.

    Nice work LEAF team!

  9. roy says:

    This may be heresy to some, but I vastly prefer Climashield over down. Moisture from the exterior is rarely the problem – the human inside the suit produces moisture which over time renders the down less useful. Climashield has much better insulating properties when exposed to moisture. Initially the down would be superior, but an end user wearing the garments for days or weeks straight will notice a significant degradation of performance with down. The Gore on the outside will only make matters worse.

    • Woody says:

      In the climates a jacket like this is used in, the humidity levels are so low it’s a none issue. Additionally to match the level of warmth that this combo provides the weight and bulk when stowed would be unacceptable. It would probably take 30-40L of volume in a pack. These guys are probably already wearing a synthetic insulated jacket and pant combo (an action suit if you will, probably constructed from Polartec Alpha or Primaloft). This is for more sedentary moments, not for high output movement unless for brief moments. The full side zips on the pant lend themselves to this usage. Can take these on and off while wearing crampons, snowshoes, skis, etc.

      The Gore layer I can promise is for windproofness, not moisture.

  10. NortherSun says:

    SSD, thank you.

    As always your insights into the industry and specifically LEAF are appreciated.

    Looking forward to reading the rest of the Cold WX SVX story.

  11. Lasse says:

    I can try to explain the price for anyone curious. You’re basically buying a down filled Gore-Tex jacket, which means that they have to tape all the external seams (it’s a Gore requirement), and in addition they seem to have glued at least the external part of their baffles. Then it’s filled with expensive down and there seems to be a lot of it.

    Do I see the need for it? Nope. Because multiple layers solve the same problem, and I prefer to have multiple layers over a single one for temperature regulating purposes and flexibility. For my money, I’d buy a high end shell jacket and high end down jacket and still end up with $60 for beers. But if it wasn’t my money then I’d take 2 please.

    And it wasn’t designed in a vacuum. That’s not how Arc’teryx works. Someone asked for this and they are most likely getting the best version of what they asked for.

  12. Jeremy P says:

    TLDR, too expensive! I can totally find sub-zero arctic gear elsewhere for cheaper and better quality. /s

    There, got that out of the way.

    • Whiskey Bravo says:

      And everyone would like to thank you for you incorrect, uneducated, and unnecessary opinion Jeremy P. You not only told us that you are not the intended user of this product, you also told us that you have no idea what goes into designing and producing products such as this!

  13. Ross B says:

    OK ….
    I am sure all the “superdooperhispeedlowdragvelcrowearingdeltasealqualified” folks are going to love this thing.
    What I question is why the hell do we not issue quality cold-weather gear to regular joe-blow troops. Layering they say, well … my ass! How many more layers are we going to add that never gets issued!
    Trust me, when you are standing around guarding stuff or waiting for the brass to show up, you freeze your balls off in all the layered rubbish they pass off as a “system”.
    How about just issuing N2B type parkas again, perhaps in OCP?