- cocona or whatever is NOT Gore-Tex. Nothing that is not named Gore-Tex is Gore-Tex. The closest thing to Gore-Tex that is not is probably Patagonia's H2NO, and even they are going to Gore on this year's high-end stuff.
- ugly as fuck... circa 1991 color schemes, knee patches in contrasting colors on pants, purple zippers on a blacked out jacket....
- serious lack of diversity thru the line. want an integrated hood or a stowable one? high collar or low? offset zipper? they only offer one model of high end jacket, Arc'teryx has about 20.
- fit and finish, experience, time in the game - I am an Arc'teryx fanboy. i've never seen any other company consistently make shit so well. seams are perfect - they've been using welded seams longer than just about anyone. if i destroy an Arc' piece they will replace it, it is all Gore so if it leaks it is guaranteed.
Arc' uses the lightest weight, strongest face fabrics around. i promise you anything from HS or Trew will be heavier weight, less breathable, and no more waterproof.
so those are some of my reasons. most of all it is my experience with snowboarding companies making shit that needs to be replaced each season, and hung up to dry at the end of the day. the stuff i've seen from HS and even Trew is too heavy weight, and WILL hold sweat moisture inside it, will get waterlogged sooner than light fabric.
in a suit of Arc' armor i am comfortable with the idea of digging a snowcave and spending the night in it and being dry. for what i do this is pretty valuable. the heavier weight face fabrics just don't do the same thing.