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Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody Review

   

Insulated Jackets - Men's

  • Currently 4.2/5
Overall avg rating 4.2 of 5 based on 11 reviews. Most recent review: March 2, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $189 - $229 | Compare prices at 8 resellers
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.
User Rating:     
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 (4.3 of 5) based on 10 reviews
Recommendations:  78% of reviewers (7/9) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Arc'Teryx
Review by: Chris Simrell ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ April 12, 2013  
Overview
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

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Zeb Engberg with the Arcteryx Atom LT and CiloGear 30L W/NWD pack, Canadian Rockies.
Credit: Max Neale
Warmth
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).
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Mountain Hardwear Quasar
Credit: Outdoor Gear Lab
In the pack is one additional heavier weight synthetic, or down jacket for staying warm while standing around.

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.

Weather Resistance
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.

Features
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 Application
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.
Click to enlarge
Chris Simrell climbs ice in Hyalite Canyon, MT
Credit: Will Dean


Value
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.

Other Versions

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
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.3)

78% of 9 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
11 Total Ratings
5 star: 55%  (6)
4 star: 18%  (2)
3 star: 27%  (3)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 10 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Mar 2, 2014 - 07:35am
C.Houston · Backpacker · Greenwich, CT
Great wind and weather resistance, while the fleece panels allow some breathability. While it doesn't stuff into a pocket, you can stuff it into a sleeve, which is almost as good. The hood absolutely does billow open when facing the wind and a drawstring would be nice. Like OGL said, the cuffs are just really amazing. The fit is perfect for over a base layer and trim fitting light fleece (Arc Delta LT) but under a shell for nasty days. I find it too warm though to wear as an active layer until it goes into the teens.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 20, 2014 - 03:05am
Audacious · Kayaker · Birmingham, Al
Working at an outfitters company I have the great pleasure of being surrounded by 100s of jackets. I purchased this jacket and have now had the joy of field testing it. Out of the gate, I am 6'3 and 200 lbs. I like the fit of most Ark'teryx clothes because typically they are form fitting and have longer than normal arms to ensure that when you are reaching up to climb that your sleeves do not come up. Naturally, with me having long arms this fits me wonderfully.
Now, the magical thing about this jacket is it is light, fits athletically, allows for great movement without being bulky and keeps me feeling very comfortable through a wide range of weather. With a base layer of a simple t-shirt and this jacket I am comfortable even when the temperature hangs around the 30s and 40s. This jacket is wind resistant so on days where you face chilly winds are stopped. This jacket is also water resistant so it is excellent in light showers. I find myself able to wear this jacket in doors comfortably as well. The jacket is designed with a thinner stretching material on the sides. This allows for a closer form fitting jacket as well as an area for body heat to escape proportionately so you never feel to hot. This is great when using for diverse temperatures or high activity in cold conditions. The front of the jacket is higher than the back which allows it to be out of the way of harness equipment. The wrists have a tight fitting synthetic material. This keeps the jacket arms from sliding up and wind out. The hood is larger so that it can accommodate helmets. There is also a convenient hidden pocket on the inside for phones or other things. I have also wore this jacket when the temperature was at 7 degrees F. It did not keep me as warm at this point but I wore a North Face Thermoball jacket under it and I was extremely comfortable. Any down sweater or mid layer added under this jacket will allow you to approach below freezing temps with ease.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 4, 2014 - 03:13pm
Spideys review (below) convinced me to get the OR Halogen over the Atom LT.

However, I have to say that the OR Halogen is let down by its cut, I was expecting a trim athletic cut (similar to the Atom LT) however this is very much a baggy square cut, it billows out from the ribs all the way down to the hem.

The problem with this is that firstly it looks like you're wearing a sleeping bag or a shiny garbage bag (not flattering at all), secondly when its gusty the cold wind comes in from below. Also its so baggy it loses its capability to keep you warm. In this regards I found the Atom LT much much warmer.

Its a pity that OR would use top-notch products and then let it down with a poor cut.

I'm 5'11, weigh 155 and a sz32 waist, I wear Medium.

So you can chose a perfectly cut Atom LT, with a bad hood design and cannot pack into its pocket.
Or take the OR Halogen and get a superb hood, top materials and a poor fit.

Personally I think I will return the Halogen as I like my mid-layers to fit snug thereby increasing their insulation value.

Or just wait for someone out there to finally get it right …

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Oct 25, 2013 - 09:24am
spidey · Climber · Berkeley CA
Good jacket but I just sold mine (along with my nanopuff pullover) and replaced both of them with the OR Halogen. The main reason I got rid of the atom is that the hood does not adjust, which means it pretty much only works when you are wearing a helmet or another hood over it. Without something to cinch it down, it lets in cold air, and when you turn your head the hood does not turn with it, which means you can't see and is super annoying.

The Halogen has a great fitting, very functional adjustable hood (works over or under climbing helmet, and works fine with no helmet, packs into its own pocket, seems similar in warmth to the Atom, but has a slightly looser fit which will allow more layers underneath. the weight is similar (maybe slightly less?) and it has a lot more stretchy/breathable softshell material so it may move better. It is probably also slightly less warm and significantly more breathable as a result.

If you are looking at the Atom LT check out the Halogen too…for me it is a better all around choice. The larger hand pockets and outside chest pocket make it more functional too.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 7, 2013 - 02:56am
JimH · Climber · Denver CO
This is an extremely versatile and useful piece for mountaineering, high country snowshoeing, and similar medium to high-output work in cold conditions. It can really help simplify your cold weather clothing system. For humping around the Colorado Rockies in winter, typically 5 to 25 degrees or so, winds 15-30ish, a lightweight base top and the Atom LT is all I'm wearing. The venting fabric along the sides and the front zip are great at managing moisture - only place I get wet is under the backpack, and even that dries fast in this jacket. Colder or windier, you can still use it as the "action suit" top - now over a Cap 4 or R1 hoody, temperature depending, when working - and throw on a shell and/or belay parka when winds are howling or you stop/belay, and you're good to go. The Atom LT is warm enough to be the "belay jacket" piece when its a little warmer - 30's and so forth. It blocks wind decently (I feel no blow through unless its really pumping), and light precip, sleet, spindrift, flurries, whatever is not worth shelling up for, etc., is a non-issue. Mine is holding up well against packstraps, but its not a fabric I'd want to slog up chimneys in or anything. Everything I buy from ArcTeryx makes me bite my lip at the cash register and then grin every time I use it in the hills.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 19, 2013 - 05:34pm
DomLodge · Hiker · Northampton, UK
NZ comments are interesting, because I'm a hill walker, and I LOVE this piece.

I'm barely out of it, in fact.

The hood may not have a toggle, but it's not a wet-weather piece, and as such does fine most of the time.

The comment relating to the compatibility of the hood with a shell baffles me - mine fits absolutely perfectly under the hood of my shell. So much so that I forget its there. It's perfect.

The zip works fine for me too. It doesn't lock, to add durability, which works well, but the zip doesn't move too much for me at all.

The side panels are a god send for me. Insulating layers have always been difficult for me because as soon as you start working on the hill, I heat up far beyond what is comfortable, whereas with the Atom, that extra bit of ventilation works perfectly. If the wind is very strong, this piece with a lightweight windshell is ideal. You get warmth, but don't overheat.

It fantastically comfortable. The fit is absolute perfection. It doesn't ride up, the arm length is spot on. It's a great piece.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 4, 2013 - 05:26am
Nz · Backpacker · London
Yes, it's a nice jacket, it's light breathable and stylish. But the
hood is not designed for walkers, since it's so loose and no adjustment and the collar is loose too so wind will easily cut through to chill your neck and face. So it's not that good to be a stand alone. While it's not a good layering piece either because the hood can be awkward (same for all hoodies) . It's more designed for climbers since the hood is big enough to hold a helmet. One thing to add is the front zip is so smooth that often comes undone.

I would recommend the jacket version though, truly versatile.
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   Sep 21, 2012 - 01:57pm
Andrew B · Hiker · MA
Once again Arcteryx creates a product that is simply a step above the rest. The LT hoody is so versatile in such a wide range of applications. I use it primarily as an outer shell as its so comfy and regulates body temperature so well. It feels very delicate but is actually quite durable for what it is. I wouldn't force my way through dense tree's but it certainly has held up to a few dozen hikes. It vents very well, so much so that i don't often take it off when entering a building or a heated place. This is mainly do to the stretch side panels (another great design) on the sides of the jacket. I also own the SV, the LT's big brother. The SV is much warmer and has a looser fit. They both perform very well and succeed at accomplishing two different tasks. The LT is a light weight fleece replacement that in my opinion out performs any fleece i have ever used. The SV is a light, cold weather insulated piece, great for a cold belay or a cold windy day around town. I have heard some debate on which piece to get. Get them both! Expensive yes but you end up with a very warm jacket for cold winter days and a light weight mid layer and or outer layer that performs flawlessly. Give it a shot. Thanks again Outdoor Gear Lab for another great review.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 21, 2012 - 06:06pm
Max Neale · Other · Maine
I use this as a fleece replacement. It's warm, comfy, and breathable. Chris says it's "reasonably wind resistant" and I'd agree: wind mostly stops at the front and back, but whips through the thin fleece side panels. This is best as a midlayer or highoutput outer layer. If you're looking for something lightweight that adds some more storm protection check out the Rab Xenon-- I think it's warmer and weighs less.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 12, 2012 - 02:38am
labrat · Climber · Auburn, CA
Really like it so far! It's by far the most comfortable jacket that I own and I seem to be using it much more than the down belay jacket. It will be interesting to see how it holds up over time.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Arcteryx Men's Atom LT Hoody
Credit: Arcteryx.com
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