The Arcteryx Firebee AR Parka is a super warm yet amazingly light and packable water resistant down jacket. It features the latest fabric from Gore; GoreĀ® Thermium™ which is specifically designed to work with insulating materials such as down, so that not just the wearer but also the insulation is protected from the weather. This is done by containing the down in a volume pleat constructed liner which is independent of the outer shell.
The regular fit has been extended to thigh length providing more coverage so you stay warmer in freezing conditions. The helmet compatible StormHood™ has Arcteryx's clever Coheasive™ hood adjustment system which is easy to use when wearing gloves or mittens. There are two insulated front pockets complete with Watertight™ zips, whilst inside there is a zipped security pocket and a dump pocket.
For the best warmth to weight in harsh conditions, the Arcteryx Firebee AR Parka is a truly outstanding jacket.
For more information on down please read Down Fill Power Explained.
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The firebee is a pretty serious piece of kit and whilst I have not yet had an opportunity to test it in serious weather, I thought I'd give some initial feedback. First off, the Gore Thermium shell. I am pretty familiar with pertex fabrics on a lot of my insulated jackets, but the shell material on the firebee seems like a big step up. It feels more robust and knowing that it is fully taped gives you a bit more piece of mind when using it in changeable conditions.
There are a few other features which have really stood out too; the neck baffle, which makes the jacket feel incredibly cosy, the hood, which is large enough for a helmet, but has excellent adjustability, even when using with thick gloves. The cut of the jacket is also great - long enough to offer protection, but not too long to limit movement. Large internal pockets are another welcome addition, whilst the out two are also large enough to offer good storage. Haven't packed it into the stuff sack yet, but this appears to be a good size.
Any negatives? Well, it is pretty pricey, even by Arcteryx standards and would like to have a microfibres chin guard or similar, but I am really being picky now. The main thing that you realise about the jacket is that it is warm - perhaps it is the box wall construction, but it really feels like it lofts up around you, without any gaps or cold spots. I can't wait to get out and use it properly!
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