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Arc’teryx LEAF Drac Jacket

Last year I purchased a new softshell, an Arc’teryx LEAF Drac Jacket in Urban Wolf. Because Al Gore insists on flying his personal jet all over the globe preaching against global warming, thereby hypocritically dumping untold amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere and heating up the planet (sarcasm intended), I didn’t get many opportunities last fall to actually wear my new jacket. Over the winter was a different story, and I now have enough testing to complete my review.


Arcteryx LEAF Drac Jacket

Arcteryx LEAF Drac Jacket, northern Montana

Testing any jacket is tough here in Houston. A softshell is the heaviest jacket I ever need living here, and then only for a few months of the year.

In addition to urban testing, I have had the chance to test the Drac jacket outside of the concrete jungle and in wilderness environments, like the week I spent in the mountains of northern Montana early fall of 2012. I know, not exactly what the jacket was intended for, but it did allow me to better test the wind and water resistance capabilities.



Technical Features

  • Moisture-resistant outer face fabric
  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Versatile—ideal for multi-climate usage
  • Wind resistant


  • Stretchy fabric construction provides freedom of movement


  • One-hand adjustable drawcords


  • Articulated patterning for unrestricted mobility
  • Articulated elbows
  • Gusseted underarms

Collar Configuration

  • Soft brushed-lined collar

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Zippers & Fly Configuration

  • Pit zippers for easy venting
  • Full front zip with wind flap
  • Corded zipper-pulls reduce noise and are easy to grab

Cuff & Sleeves Configuration

  • Laminated die-cut Velcro® cuff adjusters reduce bulk, and won’t catch or tear off

Hem Configuration

  • Adjustable hem drawcord

Pocket Configuration

  • Two sleeve pockets
  • Two hand pockets with zippers

LEAF Features

  • Velcro® patch on sleeves for rank identifier and IFF



One of the biggest selling points of the jacket for me is the materials. The Drac Jacket is made largely from Burly double weave, which is a mix of 50% nylon, 43% polyester, and 7% spandex. Burly double weave is described as a “hard-wearing, durable, stretch woven fabric with a smooth outer face and a soft inner face that is comfortable next to the skin”, and I have to say I completely agree with that description.

After months of use my jacket still looks brand new. Granted, I haven’t been rolling around on the ground with it, but normal wear and tear hasn’t fazed it at all. Additionally, it’s probably the best stretch woven fabric I’ve felt to date. It stretches in ways you wouldn’t expect from a fabric that is only 7% spandex, and it’s also very comfortable up against your skin.

Burly double weave breathability is also very good based on my testing, which is a must for me living in a warmer climate. As you sweat, the Drac jacket does a great job of letting this moisture pass through the jacket as vapor. It also has pit zips that enhance ventilation.

You can learn more about the Burly double weave material from Soldier Systems.

Wind and Water Resistance

The Drac jacket does not have a membrane, and is not designed to be completely windproof or waterproof, but that didn’t stop me from seeing how far it would go.

Living where I do, for a softshell, wind resistance is more important to me that water resistance. The reason is that in my environment I’m likely to only have a softshell and perhaps a lightweight fleece to stay warm. Winter in Houston is more like fall in the north. So I want something that will be able to resist the wind fairly well, since I usually don’t have anything else to go over my softshell. In this the Drac jacket does a pretty good job, but again, it’s not completely windproof.

To really get an idea of how windproof Burly double weave is, I wore the jacket at around ~7,000 ft elevation on several hikes in Montana with winds gusting up to 30 mph. Is the Drac jacket made for that environment? Nope, but I did it anyways. Based on that testing, I’m guessing that anything over 15 mph or so and I’m going to need more layers, or a windproof layer to go over the Drac jacket. Yeah I got pretty cold.

Water resistance is better than I expected, and is achieved through the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating on the other fabric. This coating will likely wear off over time, but it’s not made to be a dedicated rain jacket.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the jacket’s capabilities to shed water and repel wind.


I found the Drac jacket to have a more relaxed cut than other softshell jackets, particularly around the waistline. This is a good thing in my opinion, and allows you to more easily layer with the jacket. The relaxed cut also makes it easier to conceal holsters and other gear at the waistline.

I have found it to be an extremely comfortable jacket.

Urban Wolf

The Urban Wolf color from Arc’teryx is a grey color that is optimized for urban environments. Sometimes I hear people say that the Urban Wolf color helps you blend into a crowd, or go unnoticed in some sort of SHTF scenario, and on that point I have to disagree. Wearing Urban Wolf doesn’t automatically make you look like everyone else on the street, and besides, anyone who is familiar with gear that has any level of situational awareness will immediately take notice of what you’re wearing.

In my opinion this color is more about blending into urban surroundings (concrete jungles filled with buildings made of metal, concrete and glass) from a camouflage perspective, helping you to blend in with your background. Camouflage patterns stick out in most urban environments, and unless it’s completely dark, Urban Wolf is better at blending in than traditional black.

The jacket is also available in Crocodile, which is a flavor of Coyote brown if that’s more your thing.

Wrapping Up

I have been very impressed with my Drac jacket. While marketed to military and law enforcement, I think this jacket also serves equally well in the urban civilian world, especially for those of you who concealed carry. The only downsides that I can think of are the price and that the jacket is made in China.

If you’re looking for a softshell jacket, can deal with the price tag and the fact that it’s made overseas, you should definitely consider the Arc’teryx LEAF Drac jacket.

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12 Responses to Arc’teryx LEAF Drac Jacket

  1. Billy February 28, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    Great stuff, but at that price point they can surely make it in the USA or Canada.

  2. Jake February 28, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Whoa…didn’t realize it was made in commie land. I’m with Billy, for $250 you can afford to hire an American or Canadian to run the sewing machine.

  3. Alexander February 28, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    Perhaps you guys should read up on the textile industry before making immediate assumptions about a product based on where it’s made. There are a lot of higher end manufacturing processes that are unavailable in the USA due to the cost of the machinery.

    • Billy February 28, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

      Thanks for the heads up Alexander, but I work in the textile industry.

      • Alexander February 28, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

        Then you would know that none of the major technical clothing companies, North Face, Marmot, Patagonia, Mountain Hardware, are manufactured in the USA, and more importantly, you would know why, thus saving us from inane comments and snarky responses. But then here we are.

        • Billy March 1, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

          I don’t know what fabric they are using, but there is NOTHING that prevents that garment from being assembled in North America, absolutely nothing. Just because they are not manufacturing here does not mean they can’t. My point, at that retail price point there is room for it to be manufactured outside of Asia. Now, maybe they don’t see the marketing advantage, maybe they don’t care or maybe they’d like to put a little more money in their pocket. I don’t really care what their reason is, my point is that it can be assembled here in the US or Canada and depending on the fabric, there are plenty of US based mills and converters.

          And as far as snarky goes you assumed from the beginning I don’t know anything about textiles. Your first comment was rather rude and your second not much better.

  4. Jeremy October 2, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    What backpack is that?

  5. Michael October 10, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    I just got an Atom LT to go with my DRAC jacket. It’s an awesome combination.

    • Brandon October 10, 2013 at 8:21 am #

      I definitely want an Atom LT.

  6. Michael October 10, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    The warmth to weight ratio is amazing. I wore it to a dentist appt and they were able to take my blood pressure over the jacket. I wouldn’t wear it for anything close to hard use without a shell as it just feels like it would tear.