As an avid hiker and rock climber, I’m always on the lookout for jackets that can keep me warm without overheating on the trail. Temperature regulation is key for high-output activities like climbing a mountain or trekking miles in the backcountry. The Men’s Alpha Aura Jacket from Beyond Clothing is the best midlayer I’ve tested for breathability and warmth during aerobic activity in cooler weather.
Keep reading for an in-depth review of the features and performance of this versatile jacket.
Lightweight Polartec Alpha Insulation Provides Breathability and Warmth
The Alpha Aura uses an innovative fleece fabric called Polartec Alpha Direct. This lofted material is engineered to be highly breathable, drying quickly if you do get sweaty. But it also provides surprising warmth for how lightweight it is. The air pockets effectively trap heat while allowing moisture vapor to escape.
The breathable lofted-knit fleece fabric helps to regulate warmth through a wide range of temperatures and environments. The lightweight construction and high compressibility make it ideal for backpackers and travelers alike.https://beyondclothing.com/products/mens-alpha-aura-jacket
I’ve worn this jacket hiking and climbing in temperatures from 25-55°F both on its own and layered under a shell. It keeps my core comfortably warm without causing overheating. I stay dry even during strenuous activity.
Durable Athletic Cut Allows Full Range of Motion
Beyond Clothing designed this jacket with an athletic cut to allow full mobility during aerobic activity. The sleeves are articulated, so they don’t ride up when reaching overhead. The elasticized cuffs and hem seal out drafts while moving.
I never feel restricted when wearing the Alpha Aura. It moves with me like a second skin, whether I’m ice climbing or scrambling up a rocky trail. The fleece also has a smooth face that layers cleanly under outer shells.
Packs Down Small for Versatility
Despite its warmth, the Alpha Aura packs down surprisingly small, about the size of a Nalgene bottle. It stuffs easily into my backpack or climbing pack when not needed.
The compressibility makes this jacket versatile for changing conditions. I always bring it backpacking or climbing because it adds useful warmth without much weight or space.
Excellent Construction and Attention to Detail
Beyond Clothing products are always impressively constructed with attention to detail. The Alpha Aura continues this tradition with durable, reinforced fabric panels on the hood, shoulders, and sleeves. All the seams and zippers are engineered for longevity.
The hood is specifically designed to fit close to the head and resist high winds. I’ve never had it blow off, even riding my bike at high speed. For the price, you get incredible quality.
This jacket really shines for aerobic activities like hiking, climbing, ski touring, and mountaineering. It provides the perfect amount of breathable insulation for high output in cooler weather. I also like to wear it around town in fall and spring when I need a light extra layer.
While wind and water-resistant, the Alpha Aura is not fully waterproof during downpours; in heavy rain, I use it as a midlayer under a hardshell jacket for weather protection and warmth.
Sizing and Fit
I’m 5’11” 170 lbs, and the size medium fits me well. The jacket runs true to size with an athletic cut. It’s designed to work as a base layer or midlayer under other garments. Make sure to use the size chart and leave room for additional layers depending on your intended use.
Pros and Cons
|Lightweight, breathable insulation||Not fully waterproof|
|Athletic cut allows full range of motion||Athletic cut allows a full range of motion|
|Packs down small for versatility||–|
|Excellent construction and durability||–|
An Excellent Midlayer for Active Guys
For an active midlayer that provides versatile warmth without excess bulk, the Alpha Aura Jacket is a superb choice. This Polartec fleece is perfect for aerobic activity in cool weather, from hiking to climbing to ski touring. While not cheap, Beyond Clothing products are built to last. Given the high quality and performance, I think this jacket provides excellent value. Any active guy looking to maximize time outdoors this fall and winter should consider the Alpha Aura.