Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Lightweight, super comfortable, warm, nice hood and wrist cuffs.
Cons: Doesn't pack into its own pocket.
Best Uses: Hiking, backpacking, climbing. Any cold whether activiy where you want mobility and warmth.
The Atom LT Hoody has been around for many seasons and is a widely respected light synthetic insulated jacket. This is the little brother to the heavier and warmer Arc'teryx Atom SV. Because of the breathable side paneling and comparatively less water resistant outer shell material relative to other light synthetic jackets like the Rab Xenon X, the Atom LT is best used as an insulating mid-layer for climbing, skiing, hiking or other outdoor adventures. With a great look, vibrant two-toned colors, and comfortable features the Atom LT is a favorite go-to jacket for many people.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Atom LT is insulated with 60g/m2 Coreloft (This is one of Arc'teryx's own insulations). The Arc'teryx Atom SV for comparison, has 100g/m2 Coreloft. Generally speaking the Atom LT is comparable in warmth to the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket, Rab Xenon X, and the Haglofs Barrier Pro Hood, which are all highly rated light synthetic jackets in this review. There is a major difference however. The Atom LT is constructed with side panels that are uninsulated and designed to dump heat for breathability during active use. Overall this makes the Atom LT a bit less warm than these other jackets, but more breathable. For this reason we feel the Atom LT (and it's big brother the Atom SV), is best used as a mid-layer.
The author has spent many days ice climbing with this set up and found it excellent:
A light synthetic baselayer, an Atom LT, and the Mountain Hardwear Quasar shell (when conditions dictate).
The Rab Strata uses new Polartec Alpha insulation, which is designed for breathability. The look and feel of the Strata is very similar to the Atom LT and it is worth researching both if you're looking for a light insulated and breathable mid layer.
Weight / Compressibility
at 13.2oz the Atom LT is a very light jacket. There are minimal features which also keeps the weight down. A drawback to the Atom LT for climbers, in terms of packability is that it can't be stashed into its own pocket and clipped to your harness. On the upside, the Atom LT is more breathable than other light synthetics, and so you may spend more time wearing it while active rather than stowing it.
We find the outer fabric of the Atom LT to be less weather resistant compared to the fabrics used on jackets like the Rab Xenon and other light synthetic insulated jackets. for this reason and because of it's breathability, we generally think the Atom LT is best used as an insulating mid-layer.
Relatively minimal in features. The wrist cuffs on this jacket are very comfortable, fit snugly, and are low profile; slipping under glove cuffs nicely. If you've used an Arc'teryx jacket before, you may realize that wrist cuffs are one of their specialties. The hood is fixed, and fits well with and with out a helmet. The two hand warming pockets are comfortable, but too low to be used if you're wearing a climbing harness. There is onw internal zippered chest pocket for small items.
Best used as an insulating mid-layer. The Atom LT is a year-round jacket, and you'll likely find a good use for it on all types of trips.
Like many Arc'teryx products the Atom LT is slightly more money than the competition. We've been using one for years and love it still.
The Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody - Women's, $219, is the women's version of this jacket.
The Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody, $199, wins our Top Pick Award, as it blends top-tier ice, alpine, and rock climbing performance with handsome styling. No other technical fleece looks this good. The hardface Polartec WindPro fabric contributes to the jacket's aesthetics because it looks less like a shaggy rug and more like a sleek softshell jacket.
The Arc'teryx Alpha SV, $650, is tried and true body armor for mountain climbers. It's ideal for winter alpine climbing and long expeditions, but the shell can be used for everything and anything. The Alpha SV is the most comfortable expedition style shell we've tested and because of this, it wins our Top Pick Award.
— Chris Simrell
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: March 2, 2014
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