Climbing is on the up. More bouldering centers, an Olympics debut in Japan, and general enthusiasm for the outdoors are all factors in making the once niche sport of hardcore devotees, into a weekend activity for all.
Brands not wanting to miss out on the opportunity have turned their attention to creating collections designed specifically for life on the wall. Last month, we reported on Satisfy’s first collection of climbing garms called Stoner. It seemed like a natural step for the running brand that has always brought an outsider attitude to the sport.
So, against that backdrop, Arc’teryx has released a new climbing collection, called The Creative Approach, under its sub-brand System_A. Arc’teryx and climbing have gone hand-in-hand since the early 90s. Unlike Satisfy, the Canadian brand has developed, designed and tested countless pieces of climbing equipment that pro athletes use on some of the biggest walls in the world. Its stuff works.
But this is no ordinary Arc’teryx climbing collection. This one was designed by Taka Kasuga, creative director of System_A. System_A creates highly technical gear with more streetwear sensibilities than the mainline brand (and less minimal tendencies than its sister sub-brand, Veilance). The range includes soft-shell cargo jackets and pants, hoodies, graphic tees, mid-layer vests and a versatile waist pack. It’s gear that works on the boulders, but also effortlessly blends in with the city.
The Chexa Hybrid vest, hoody and jacket are standouts layering pieces, which feature Coreloft™ insulation and fleece-lined pockets (perfect for resting on a ledge or waiting for your buddy to send it). They also offer a DWR finish for drizzly days, and breathable materials for warmer ones.
For the lower half, there’s the Paltz Cargo Pant, which is all about stretch, storage and comfort. Constructed with a Fortius™ 1.0 double-weave softshell, these pants are wind and rain resistant, with plenty of stretching room and nice big pockets for snack-stuffing.
Focused around a color palette of grays, burgundys and a neon green, the collection is both considered and vibrant. A graphic motif, styled off the iconic Arc’teryx logo, graces the front of tees and the peaks of caps, and you’re never too far from the Arc’teryx work mark. The collection is largely unisex, with specific pants fits for men and women.
Whilst Satisfy’s collection centered around organic cotton, The Creative Approach uses a host of Arc’teryx’s technical fabrics. Plenty of the pieces feature materials that meet the bluesign® criteria or contain materials made with at least 30 percent recycled content. The T-shirts are Fair Trade certified, meaning workers who made these pieces are provided with additional funds to improve their livelihood and wellbeing. It’s the start of a commitment to transition 80 percent of Arc’teryx products to Fair Trade certification by 2025.
On the other side of things, the prevalence of DWR across these and many Arc’teryx pieces is worrying. Most outdoor brands rely on the water repellent finish for their clothing, but it uses chemicals with toxic properties that are harmful to the planet. It’s a problem across the industry, but there are developments, such as this PFC-free treatment from Ventile.
Tempted to dust off your climbing shoes and hit the walls (or just the town)? Shop the Arc’teryx System_A collection online now.