Good question, obviously a lot of opinions out there. I have both a top end Mountain Hardware jacket and the pricey Alpha SV Arcteryx jacket and really they have pros and cons. The Arcteryx has superb construction, seamless-style zippers and will repel torrents of water with no leaking. It has a trim fit, not for all. It'll really accomodate a climbing helmet well. Good for fall/spring stuff. But for hard core winter use it's...OK. Great for wind but it is totally unlined, not even mesh. No snow skirt, etc. The Mountain Hardware model, however, has a built in snow skirt, a little rare on the recent jackets I've seen. Lined with mesh in back and nylon panels in the front, a generous pseudo-velvet nose/chin protector, sort of old school overlapping zipper guard. For winter work it's clearly superior to the Arcteryx, although it fits a helmet pretty tight (but for a techie climber, it's also cut a bit short & with "Napolean pockets" which can be easily accessed with a harness and pack on. So I guess if you're looking for tech features the MH seems the best. I'm sure other makes and models are equally good. I also like Wild Things gear and for the absolute best in clothing, Beyond.com. Quasi-custom made, available only online but made to your specs, colors, fabics and multiple size measurements. Pricey but compared to some makes perhaps not outrageous. Sorry for the length of my reply, I'm a gear nut.