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Hands-on Gear Review
Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody - Women's Review
Cons: Does not stuff into itself, hood does not cinch, small pockets
A breathable mid-layer that's great for aerobic activity on chilly days, the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody is also a perfect stand-alone piece for warmer conditions and a stylish jacket to toss on before running errands. We were impressed by the Atom LT's durability, breathability, and sleek styling, but disappointed that it doesn't pack down into a pocket or stuff sack so we could clip it to a harness while alpine rock climbing. Designed to be more breathable than the average insulated jacket, this hybrid hoody features gusseted fleece underarm panels that wick away sweat and allow for increased mobility. However, it sacrifices some warmth and wind resistance for breathability. A lighter weight version of the Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody - Women's, the Atom LT has less insulation and features fleecy side panels, while the AR has a similar Tyono shell fabric (30D vs. 20D) throughout the torso with lots of locked in warmth.
For the ultimate in breathability, be sure to consider our Top Pick for Breathability, the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's.
RELATED: Our complete review of insulated jackets - women's
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
A breathable jacket that is perfect for a mid-day skate ski or hike, the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody features a stylish design and makes a great stand-alone piece on warmer days.
Made with 60 g/m2 Coreloft insulation, this hoody features a shell of Tyono 20D stretch nylon ripstop fabric and two panels of Polartec Power Stretch fleece with Hardface Technology. It has a cinch cord at its hemline and a snug insulated hood. One of the main benefits of this jacket is that offers a little extra breathability; however, due to its breathability, it compromises a bit on warmth. The outer shell fabric gives the Atom LT an airy feel, while the fleecy panels under the arms offer maximum coziness and breathability. Overall, this jacket was not quite as warm as the Rab Strata Hoody - Women's (one of the other hyper breathable insulated jackets we checked out).
On the other hand, if you love the styling and features of the Atom LT, but want a little extra warmth, consider the Arc'teryx Atom AR, which has thicker insulation and does not have fleece side panels. If you're looking for a jacket without so much breathability and a little more warmth, check out our Editors' Choice, the Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's.
Compressibility & Weight
Our biggest single complaint with the Atom LT is that is doesn't compress into one of its own pockets. Almost every other jacket in our review either packed into a pocket or came with a stuff sack that could be clipped onto a harness or backpack. This jacket weighed in at 11.3 ounces on our scale, which was a little heavier than ultralight jackets in our review like the Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket - Women's or Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket - Women's.
Like most of the jackets in this review, the Atom LT has a DWR finish that repels water, but won't keep you dry during heavy rain. That said, it was more weather resistant than the Outdoor Research Uberlayer - Women's or the Outdoor Research Cathode. We found that when droplets hit the Atom LT, they beaded up and dispersed fairly well. When biking to work on cold winter mornings, the wind didn't cut through the face fabric either. The fleece side panels repelled a bit of water, thanks to the Hardface Technology.
Comfort & Coziness
Our testers really liked the cozy fleece panels under the arms of the Atom LT. These not only feel soft and touchable, but allow sweat to wick away, keeping temperature regulated and your armpits from getting swampy. Additionally, these panels - along with the jacket's gusseted underarms and the shell's stretchy fabric - allow for fantastic mobility.
The jacket's snug and cozy hood fits well under a helmet, but sadly does not cinch down. The stretch knit cuffs of the jacket add to the sophisticated styling of this piece and feel nice on the wrists, however, some of our testers reported that the tighter cuffs didn't allow them to push up the sleeves as high as they would have liked. Finally, we appreciated the Atom's internal chest pocket and its fleece-lined hand pockets, but wished they were little deeper.
As mentioned above, the Atom LT stands out as a breathable jacket with a continuous face fabric and stretchy side panels. These side panels allow warm air to escape when hiking uphill and prevent you from feeling too hot. Even though its breathability is on par with the Rab Strata, other jackets like the Patagonia Nano Air (Our Top Pick for Breathability) are better suited for highly aerobic activities like cold morning runs or high-paced mountain sports. The Atom is more suited for medium aerobic activities on cold days like backcountry skiing.
Style & Fit
Arc'teryx is known for its sleek styling, awesome colors, and slim athletic fit, so we weren't surprised at all when we slipped on the Atom LT and felt just a little sexier.
At the top end of outdoor chic, this jacket is flattering through the torso and fits slightly longer-armed ladies perfectly. Those with broader shoulders might experience a bit of snugness, especially with layers on underneath, but with the stretch fabric, we didn't find the slight tightness to be demobilizing in the least. The torso falls at hip length and its hand pockets blend right into the jacket's design.
Finally, the fleece panels under the arms provide a two-toned contrast that adds interest to this super cool piece. One of the only other jackets that rivaled the Arc'teryx Atom LT in style was the Columbia Kaleidaslope II Jacket - Women's, which has far fewer technical attributes than the Atom LT.
Thanks to its attractive fit, our testers felt stylish using this hoody around town. They also felt badass taking it into the backcountry. This jacket is designed to perform during cardio activities and will keep you warm while regulating temperature and wicking away moisture. Wear it as a mid-layer while ice climbing or wear it as an outer layer during a sunny day of backcountry skiing. We just wished that it packed down and zipped up into its own pocket so it would be truly useable as an alpine rock climbing piece.
The hooded version of the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody is $249. Unlike several of the other insulated jackets that we reviewed, the Atom LT didn't get any snags or tears throughout our testing process. Our testers wore this piece crack climbing and put it to the test while bushwhacking for biology research and the Atom LT endured beautifully. The outer shell is surprisingly abrasion-resistant despite its seemingly fragile feel.
The stitching is also very tight, which also helped prevent unwanted snags. Overall, our testers really appreciated the solid construction of this piece and wish that other manufacturers would follow suit with high quality stitching that will remain intact for the long haul. Given this jacket's versatility, craftsmanship, and lifetime warranty, we think it's well worth the money.
We loved this hoody's flattering design and breathable performance. It is a perfect stand-alone piece on warmer spring or fall days, and a great lightweight mid-layer in colder weather. Take it skiing, hiking, camping, or ice climbing - it will serve you well on many missions to come.
Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody
Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody - Women's
— Amanda Fenn
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 24, 2015
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