What or who is Arc’teryx?

Some of you may know of the Archaeopteryx Lithographica, the first reptile to develop the feather for flight and many of you will be aware of the Canadian Outdoor company that has become synonymous with the highest-quality clothing and outdoor equipment that outdoor guides and professionals have used since it was founded in 1991.

But for those who are still to learn of Arc’teryx read below to find all about its heritage and how they design clothing and equipment for the most demanding climates on Earth while only using the best designs and highest quality materials available.

Photo: Dave Alderson

Photo: Lachlan Gardiner

Arc’teryx’s humble beginnings started with climbing harness’s that traded traditional stitching for state-of-the-art thermolamination technology, a technology that later set its second product, the Bora backpack, apart from all other packs of the era.

In 1998 Arc’teryx introduced a line of outerwear that set the standard for technical jackets and pants. Since its inception, Arc’teryx has used quality and design to differentiate itself again and again.

Arc’teryx prides itself on two main elements, their Design Ethos and Quality Control.

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Design Ethos

Most designs begin from need, a particular item that does not yet exist, refinements to an existing item, addressing comfort or textile compromises, a feature that wastes time, increases exposure or is unnecessary. As romantic as it would be to say that design inspiration is divine, function and the need for solutions are the primary initiatives for Arc’teryx products.

Design teams are given time to form relationships with their ideas and the opportunity to discover and appreciate the true nature of a product. The field testing is unique: designers themselves test product in real world conditions, as well as putting them on athletes and industry professional for serious situational testing. It may be that one idea becomes two separate items, or an entirely different shape takes form. Design is a process, not an event.


Sometimes the best solution for one design is to merge it with another, or to introduce an element not previously entertained. Other times, a design must be abandoned because it simply does not work. Inspiration can come from the most ordinary moments, all that is required is an open mind and the willingness to entertain unorthodox ideas. Intimate understanding of the design problem involves trial and error, feedback, collaboration, input from other teams, shared expertise. Marketplaces and personal interests are set aside; authentic products speak for themselves.

Arc’teryx designs are refined, simple solutions to complex problems. Functional, disciplined answers to the most unforgiving environments and the most demanding performance — Evolution in Action.

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Arc’teryx Quality Control

A brand is only as good as the quality of its products. Arc’teryx’s system of quality control gives them the confidence to guarantee that all products are measured by their standards. The “Made by Arc’teryx” label on all of their products signifies it as being of the highest quality available.

Raw Materials

Arc’teryx’s Quality Control process begins with the rolls of fabric as they arrive at the warehouse. Initially placed in quarantine, we randomly roll inspect 1/3 of all incoming fabric for colour consistency, flaws in manufacture and correct labeling before being released into stock. Using a standard system for grading and approval, each batch of fabric can be traced in the event of any future failures from the original manufacturer.

Drawcord, grommets, snaps, cuff tabs and toggles are attached by hand and are inspected by each individual worker as they are installed on the product.

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In the cutting room, fabric is visually inspected before the cutting process and any flawed sections are removed. During cutting, only a certain number of pieces are cut at once, for precision.

Once cut, the various jacket parts are collected in bins and transferred to work stations. As bundles are made, pieces are checked for quality of cut and fabric. At this stage, all pieces are handled and 100% inspected.

The pieces proceed through assembly stations for lamination, embroidery, seam sealing, zipper and drawcord attachment, where they are individually handled and inspected by operators who are responsible and accountable for the quality of their work. All finishing pieces: drawcord, grommets, snaps, cuff tabs and toggles are attached by hand, and each craftsperson visually inspects each component before assembly.

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Checking Goe-Tex fabric and seams for waterproofness

In addition to this accountability, in-line checks are randomly done on 1/3 of all assembled components. The components – jacket hoods, sleeves etc. – are randomly tested for waterproofness.

By this time, many individual parts are been inspected several times, by various operators and quality control personnel.

After assembly, all seams, zippers and pockets are 100% inspected, and the garment, pack or harness must pass through a final quality control inspection for workmanship and cosmetic flaws of any nature.

As the product is packed, it is identified and can be traced to a batch number to verify the fabric batch and date of jacket manufacture.

Whatever your athletic pursuit, Arc’teryx offers a piece of high-performance clothing solution for your need or a selection of gear that sets the standard for quality. Using innovative design, quality craftsmanship, and the finest materials available, Arc’teryx has earned a reputation as one of the world’s leading gear and outerwear manufacturers. Once you have a piece of Arc’teryx clothing, you’ll see that reputation is well-earned.

To see the Arc’teryx range head into your nearest store or go online.



About The Author

Dave Casey

Dave has worked as an International Expedition Leader and in Outdoor Education for over 15 years. He has extensive travel and guiding experience in Australia, NZ, Asia, South/North America and Europe. In his spare time Dave is a keen bushwalker, mountain biker and climber while also dabbling in some mountaineering and sea kayaking.

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