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Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody Review

   

Insulated Jackets - Men's

  • Currently 4.7/5
Overall avg rating 4.7 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: June 9, 2015
Street Price:   Varies from $165 - $249 | Compare prices at 10 resellers
Pros:  Ventilated, super comfortable, nice hood and wrist cuffs
Cons:  No stuff pocket
Best Uses:  Backpacking, bouldering, skiing, cold weather running
User Rating:     
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 (4.3 of 5) based on 3 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (3/3) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
Review by: Brandon Lampley ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ November 21, 2014  
Overview
The Arc'teryx Atom LT presents us with the most interesting construction of the jackets we tested. Breathable fleece side and underarm panels ventilate the main body of the jacket. While not as breathable as the Nano Air Hoody, the Atom LT is better suited to very active use than similar jackets with a complete wind resistant outer fabric. This is the little brother of the heavier and warmer Arc'teryx Atom AR, and with its comfortable features, the Atom LT is a favorite insulated jacket for many people.

Our Top Pick for Breathability, the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody delivers superior comfort for high energy activities. Meanwhile, the Rab Xenon X with wind and water resistant construction was our favorite insulated jacket overall, and won our Editors' Choice award.

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  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

The Arc'teryx Atom LT has an interesting combination of an insulated main body and breathable fleece underarm and side panels. It's one of the more versatile jackets we tested, performing well as a mid layer and providing ventilation for active use as an outer layer.

Performance Comparison


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This is one of our favorite jackets for bouldering. The low bulk and breathable fleece panels move well and regulate overheating. Flagstaff Mtn, Boulder, CO.
Credit: Brandon Lampley

Warmth


Arc'teryx use its prorietary 60g/m2 Coreloft insulation for the Atom LT. In contrast, the Atom AR is much warmer with 120g/m2 around the torso. Worn as a mid layer, we found the LT similar in warmth to the Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody and the Xenon X. But as an outer layer, the warmth that its insulation holds in is counteracted by the easy breathability of the fleece side panels. When cold winds blow, you'll need a lightweight shell to layer over this jacket to retain warmth.

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Nick Andresen showing off the signature Powerstretch fleece side and underarm. In addition to allowing some air flow, these panels reduce bulk under the arm and contribute to great mobility.
Credit: Brandon Lampley

Weight and Compressibility


Our size large test model weighed in at 13.7 ounces, right in the middle of the test field and very close to the Patagonia Nano Air. While this light jacket can compress quite small, it does not stow away in one of its pockets. This is a downside for climbers and others, but you likely will wear it through a great range of activities and stow it less.

Comfort


Arc'teryx has long impressed us with its attention to detail and thoughtful features, and the Atom LT doesn't disappoint. Match fine features like the comfy cuffs and an adjustable hood with an extended comfort range for high energy activity, and the Atom LT received the second highest score we awarded. Great mobility made this one of our favorite layers for bouldering in cold weather.

We love the hood on this model; the only hood on a lightly insulated jacket that is adjustable. A single cord lock at the back of the head tightens the elastic cord that extends to the front of the hood and up over the brow. The main zipper has a nicely shaped plastic pull that is hooded by a small fabric flap under the chin when fully closed. We only wish Arc'teryx would use these same pulls on the hand pocket zippers. In addition to the hand pockets, which are lined with a soft micro fleece for the back of your hands, an interior chest pocket on the left side provides storage. The cuff design, shared with the warmer Atom AR, incorporates stretchy, wedge shaped panels over the inner wrist. These seal in warmth with a snug fit and are low profile for sliding the gauntlet of your glove over top. And finally, the elastic hem cinch can be tightened and secured at either hip with a cord lock.

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Credit: Brandon Lampley

Water Resistance


The Atom LT is designed with breathability as a higher priority than weather resistance. While this piece has an effective DWR treatment that beaded water in a light drizzle, the nylon outer fabric and fleece side panels begin to absorb water within a few minutes if you don't get out your shell. This jacket functions perfectly as a mid layer and is a nice choice for a terminal layer in cold, dry conditions.

Wind Resistance


Along with the Nano Air Hoody and the Rab Strata, the Atom LT is a piece built for breathability and air flow rather than wind resistance. The Tinthan nylon used for the main outer fabric allows easier air flow through than the ripstop weaves other jackets feature, and the Power Stretch fleece underarm panels move even more air.

Style


While this jacket has a nice, athletic cut, we feel its combination of outer fabrics gives it a "techy" look. With eight color options, ranging from low key, to "in your face" like our bright orange test model, you should find one that pleases you.

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Credit: Brandon Lampley

Best Applications


The Arc'teryx Atom LT is designed for comfort during high energy activities. The built-in breathability makes it a great choice for a middle layer under a shell, as well as outer wear when you're pushing hard. It functions well for cold weather bouldering, moving with you and preventing overheating during brief, high output burns.

Value


At $230, the Arc'teryx Atom LT is a bit more expensive that our Editors' Choice Rab Xenon X, but more affordable than competing models from Patagonia. The fleece lined pockets and adjustable hood are features we love that don't appear in similar models. We've been using one for years and love it still.

Conclusion


Due to its comfy fit and fine features, this is one of our testers' enduring favorite jackets. The low profile cuffs and low bulk fit make it an excellent mid layer for skiing, climbing, and cold weather backpacking. Designed to regulate temperature and moisture during high energy output, this is a fine choice for cold weather trail running and stop and go cold activities like bouldering.

Other Versions


The Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody - Women's, $219, is the women's version of this jacket.

Brandon Lampley & Chris Simrell

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 9, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.3)

100% of 3 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 75%  (3)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 25%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 3 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Dec 2, 2014 - 11:51am
Daemon Angel · Backpacker · Belgium
Edit: the ATOM LT has been updated and now no longer has 2 of my biggest cons. The zipper at the end has the little bit of fabric and the hood has an adjustment cord. Beware which one you buy if you buy online!

To start I want to say that I think this is a really nice jacket.

I was able to purchase it at a 50% discount so that was really nice.

The reason I bought it is because I wanted an insulating layer for under my shell or as light outer layer for activities in colder weather.
When hiking it replaces my fleece (under my shell on stops or when the temp drops) and I use it over a fleece when walking the dog or when riding the bike or when the temp drops a lot.
The breathing capabilities were important for me, making this jacket one of the candidates. The 50% discount made me choose this one.

The jacket was warm enough at 5C (41 F) with light winds and only a t-shirt underneath. But that was the limit, I was a bit cold sometimes. With a sweater underneath and medium winds I am perfectly fine at 0C (32 F). An update from a recent trip to above the polar circle with temps of -26C (-14.8F) during the day where I used this jacket over a merino base layer and a fleece and was cozy during high aerobic activities (Snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice climbing,…). At stops I needed to add my down jacket.

Starting with the pro's.
  • I like how the jacket looks. You can use it to go to the city without looking weird. There are other jackets that do that, but this one goes a step further and it even looks nice. Using it more often to go to work with the dropping temps making my wool overcoat too cold, made me change the recommendation.
  • The front and back both block the wind very well. This is especially nice on the front when biking.
  • The sides breath well so you have the opportunity to vent a bit and sweat less. This makes the jacket a bit less warm but can be solved with a wind blocking jacket over it.
  • The pockets are also nicely lined with a fleece and feel comfy and there is a napoleon pocket on the inside (I prefer on the outside so I do not have to open my jacket but it is there).
  • There is a drawstring at the bottom of the jacket, which is nice.



Now the cons.
  • The hood is fine when using with a helmet but otherwise too loose and there is no way for tightening it.
  • The cuffs feel very nice so that is a pro, BUT, the fabric of the cuffs extends to the inside of your wrist. Meaning that they are not insulated at the inside of the wrist.
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Cuffs at inside wrist
Credit: Daemon Angel
It is a bit hard to see but you can see the difference in color. The stretch fabric from the wrist closure stretches out across the inside of the wrist.
While the jacket keeps me warm, this part of the wrist is quite crucial for keeping my hands warm. I have noticed that my body can be nicely warm but my wrists really feel cold and so would my hands.
Update from the arctic adventure: this was not an issue with the right gloves and a fleece that came over my hands underneath.
  • There is nothing covering the end of the zipper.
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Zipper end
Credit: Daemon Angel
I prefer to have something like this
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Credit: Daemon Angel
The way it is now, causes the zipper to scuff my chin and after a couple of hours of walking it would become quite raw.
The other downside of not having something like this is that the zipper puller tends to smack you in the face when the wind is blowing hard or when I jogged or ran for a few meters.

I do not understand that Arc'teryx did not add this 1 cm of fabric. I have it on all my other gear (Millet, 66 North, Bergans, Haglofs, etc…)
  • Only a minor con for me is that the jacket does not stow in one of its pockets.
  • Another minor comment is that the zipper seems to be a bit too fluent as it opens on it own sometimes. Friend has the same so probably not a fault.

Conclusion:
I like the jacket for the price I payed but at it's original price I would prefer the North Face Thermoball hooded jacket or another one. The fact that this one is more expensive than similar ones is not justified for me.
But I did recommend this jacket to friends when it had the discount. With that discount you get a lot of jacket for little money.
If looks are important the extra money they ask for it can be justified as I can also wear it to work.

Update from the arctic adventure: still really liking the jacket. Was perfect on the trip.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 9, 2015 - 05:49pm
ptspeak · Skier · Mobile, AL
I have this jacket in carbon copy. I also own a Patagonia Nano-air without the hood. Both are exceptional jackets with great breathability, though as the review states, the Nano-air is superior in breathability. The Atom LT is well made and comfortable. It matches with the slim fitting Alpha FL or Beta LT hard shells. Were I to choose one piece of the two I would give a light nod tho the Nano-Air simply because it feels so comfortable and you don't overheat. Agin, both are great products.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 22, 2015 - 03:56pm
Friedo · Climber · South Lake Tahoe
I actually have the Atom LT Jacket, not the Hoody. But the Hoody will be my next purchase.

This jacket is my "Go-To" jacket all throughout fall, winter and spring. I walk my dog in the early morning hours, before the sun comes up and the temps is usually below 30 degrees. The Atom LT is the first jacket I pull from my closet. It keeps me warm from car to car, every step of the way. It breathes well when going uphill and holds my body temp steady on the way back down.

Pros: Amount of insulation is perfect. Wrist cuffs keep the sleeves snug at all times, breathability is great. Wind resistant, water resistant, comfortable, lightweight, durable… Can't say enough good things about this jacket!

Cons: Expensive (but not too bad). I have definitely gotten my money's worth! Water resistant… to a certain extent. A light shower of flurry and you're fine. Anything more and it will soak the moisture right up. No stuff pocket, but that's ok, no big deal.

Overall, I love just about everything about this jacket. I wear it damn near every day from late fall to early spring. Once the temps start to push into the forties in the morning, I sadly leave this jacket in the closet and opt for a lighter one. But on a cold day skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, climbing, etc., there is no other layer I'd rather have!!!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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