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Arc'teryx Macai Review

This top of the line ski jacket keeps you warm, dry, and comfortable, for a small fortune
Arc'teryx Macai
Credit: Arc'teryx
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Price:  $999 List
Pros:  Impeccable quality, clean lines, very warm, excellent weather protection
Cons:  Super expensive, too warm for some applications
Manufacturer:   Arcteryx
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 6, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 17
  • Warmth - 20% 10.0
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 8.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 9.0
  • Ventilation - 15% 6.0
  • Style - 15% 8.0
  • Features - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

Arc'teryx makes some of the best outerwear available, and the Arc'teryx Macai does not disappoint. It is a wonderful ski jacket that looks good and is built to last. This jacket combines the unparalleled warmth of down insulation with the protection of a Gore-Tex shell. It comes up short for features and ventilation, but that probably won't deter those on the hunt for an extremely warm, waterproof, and well-styled piece from a high-end manufacturer.

Editor's Note: We updated this review for the Arc'teryx Macai on March 6, 2022, with additional information that analyzes value versus performance and suggests similar jackets that may better suit your needs and budget.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Arc'teryx Macai
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Arc'teryx Macai
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $999 List$550.00 at Backcountry
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$675 List$299.95 at Amazon
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Pros Impeccable quality, clean lines, very warm, excellent weather protectionExcellent performance in every category, durableCompletely weather resistant, good ventilation, freeride styleStrong value, highly versatile, warm, loaded with ski-friendly featuresWeather resistant, good vents, plenty of features
Cons Super expensive, too warm for some applicationsMore snug fit than other optionsExpensive, too heavy and warm for most backcountry useHeavy, poor ventilation in combined figurationHanging liner makes it a bit warm for a shell, fit isn't perfect
Bottom Line This top of the line ski jacket keeps you warm, dry, and comfortable, for a small fortuneThis excellent resort ski jacket nails all performance aspects to deserve a spot at the top of your wish listA durable, weatherproof jacket that wins our favor among downhill ski shells on the marketThis versatile and reasonably priced jacket helps you customize your layers, whether you prioritize warmth, weather resistance, or bothA high-performance shell at a great price
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Macai Helly Hansen Alpha... Arc'teryx Sabre AR... The North Face Ther... REI Co-op First Cha...
Warmth (20%)
10.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
4.0
Weather Resistance (20%)
8.0
8.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
9.0
10.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Ventilation (15%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Style (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Features (10%)
6.0
10.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Arc'teryx Macai Helly Hansen Alpha... Arc'teryx Sabre AR... The North Face Ther... REI Co-op First Cha...
Main Fabric N40p-X Gore-Tex 2-layer stretch polyester N80p-X Gore-Tex 100% nylon 2-layer Gore-Tex
Insulation Coreloft 100, Coreloft Compact, and 750 fill goose down LifaLoft synthetic Thin flannel backer 100% Post-Consumer Recycled Polyester Recycled polyester lining
Pockets 2 handwarmer, 1 sleeve, 1 chest, 1 internal mesh, 1 internal chest 2 handwarmer, 2 chest, 1 internal chest, 1 internal mesh, 1 sleeve 2 hand, 1 sleeve, 1 internal Shell: 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest,1 internal media, 1 internal goggle, 1 internal zippered sleeve. Liner: 2 hand 2 handwarmer, 2 chest, 1 internal chest, 1 sleeve
Weight 2.64 lbs 2.56 lbs 1.66 lbs 2.86 lbs 1.76 lbs
Water Resistance 3L Gore-Tex Pro Shell Helly Tech Professional Gore-Tex DryVent 2L Gore-Tex
Hood Adjustabe and Removable Adjustable and removable Adjustable Adjustable Adjustable
Pit-Zips Mesh-backed Mesh-backed Open Yes (shell only) Yes
Cuff construction Velcro Interior stretchy wrist gaiters and external velcro cuffs Velcro Velcro Velcro
Powder skirt? Yes, removable Yes Yes Yes Yes, removable
RECCO? Yes Yes Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Product Update Note — October 2021
Arc'teryx now makes this jacket with bluesign approved materials, which is a certification that denotes that they sustainably produced the product.

This down jacket is very warm and weather resistant but somewhat lacking features. For those who need a warm jacket for the harshest winters and can afford the high price tag, the Macai is appropriate.

Performance Comparison


Arc'teryx Macai ski jacket - early season pow in the macai.
Early season pow in the Macai.
Credit: tom causley

Warmth


The Macai is one of the warmest ski jackets we have ever tested. It is the only jacket in our review to use down insulation, which is packed into the areas of the body that need it the most, like the torso. In areas more susceptible to water or sweat, the jacket uses synthetic insulation, which maintains its warming capabilities when wet. The result is an extremely warm ski jacket fit for the coldest days of winter.

Such warmth may be needed by skiers who run cold or those who live and ski in the coldest areas of North America. If you ski in a warmer environment like Lake Tahoe, this jacket will be too warm for most days.

Arc'teryx Macai ski jacket - lots of down and synthetic insulation make the macai one of the...
Lots of down and synthetic insulation make the Macai one of the warmest we have reviewed.
Credit: tom causley

Weather Resistance


The outer shell of the Macai is made with Gore-Tex Pro Shell, which we found to be waterproof to the extreme. It is thicker than other hardshell materials, which helps it cut through the wind. Arc'teryx has a great DWR coating, which keeps the water running off the jacket and prevents it from soaking the outer fabric. All seams are sealed, and all zippers are waterproof, which we expect from this manufacturer.

A powder skirt, a well-fitting hood that easily covers a helmeted head, and a high collar all help on cold and snowy days. Still, the Macai is vulnerable to liquid water because of the down insulation components, which lose their loft when wet. People who ski in wet climates know that water gets everywhere, and some water penetration is inevitable. That will only happen to the Macai in extremely wet scenarios.

Arc'teryx Macai ski jacket - arc'teryx has their waterproof fabrics and dwr dialed. after several...
Arc'teryx has their waterproof fabrics and DWR dialed. After several minutes of dousing in the shower, the water still beads off the Macai like water off a duck's back.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Fit and Comfort


The Macai is sleek and well-fitting, but it isn't too tight either. It is more tailored than other options in the review, but there are still better-fitting jackets. The sleeves and hem are great lengths, and we didn't feel any restrictions through our range of motion tests. Fit and comfort go hand in hand, and the Macai's down insulation is very comfortable against the body. The inner fabric is soft and gentle as well. There is a soft fleece patch where the chin brushes against the shell.

Arc'teryx Macai ski jacket - the cut of the macai is perfect... not too tight, not too loose, and...
The cut of the Macai is perfect... not too tight, not too loose, and very comfortable.
Credit: Heather Benson

Ventilation


Ventilation is not this jacket's strong suit, but in the frigid conditions it is built for, ventilation probably won't be your highest priority. That said, since the jacket is so warm, you might find yourself needing to dump some heat on occasion. Long armpit vents with mesh backing will get the job done when you do. We wish the vents didn't have any mesh, which inhibits airflow. During testing, we often had to unzip the main front zipper to get the ventilation we needed.

Arc'teryx Macai ski jacket - the pit zips of the macai are mid length, and mesh-covered. they...
The pit zips of the Macai are mid length, and mesh-covered. They could be longer and mesh-free for more venting power.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Style


The style of this jacket is neutral yet classy and refined. We would expect nothing less at such a high price point. The Macai has clean lines, zippers that blend in with the fabric, and no fabric flaps that get in the way of a sleek look. This well-styled jacket is among the best looking that we have tested. The muted color options help you blend in with the crowd, but the Arc'teryx logo will help you stand out. We do wish that the Macai came in some brighter color options.

Arc'teryx Macai ski jacket - the style of the macai is neutral, yet refined and classy. we like it.
The style of the Macai is neutral, yet refined and classy. We like it.
Credit: tom causley

Ski Features


The Macai has enough features to make a day on the slopes easy to deal with. Both the hood and the powder skirt are removable, adding versatility and customization to the design. It also features a sleeve pass pocket, a goggle wipe, and a RECCO reflector. One external chest pocket is hidden underneath the Arc'teryx logo, and we found that it was extremely difficult to access while wearing ski gloves. As a result, we didn't end up using it very often.

Arc'teryx Macai ski jacket - the external chest pocket is hard to use with gloves on because of...
The external chest pocket is hard to use with gloves on because of the horizontal flap, zipper, and awkward button.
Credit: tom causley

Should You Buy the Macai?


The Arc'teryx Macai is one of the most expensive jackets we have ever reviewed. But the bomber construction, protective down insulation, and legendary Arc'teryx warranty all ensure this jacket a long lifetime. In terms of dollars per year, we think this jacket will cost just a little more than other less expensive jackets that won't last as long. That little extra cost per year also gets you an extremely warm, weather resistant, and comfortable jacket. If you can make the investment, we think it will pay off in the long run.

What Other Ski Jackets Should You Consider?


The Arc'teryx Macai is a tremendously warm, comfortable, and weather resistant jacket – if you ski in a cold climate this jacket is the warmest in our review. If instead you move fast in the skintrack or boot pack then a jacket with less insulation and more ventilation, like the hardshell Flylow Lab Coat or softshell Arc'teryx Procline is more appropriate. If you want the warmth, but appreciate a complete set of features, the award-winning Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft is a great choice.

Arc'teryx Macai ski jacket - the macai is a warm and sleek jacket for all skiing conditions.
The Macai is a warm and sleek jacket for all skiing conditions.
Credit: tom causley

Jeremy Benson
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