Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $168 - $259 | Compare prices at 6 resellers
Pros: Thickest and warmest jacket reviewed, stylish, breathable for its weight, clever technical features.
Cons: Doesn't stuff into itself, most expensive, hood difficult to cinch.
Best Uses: Belaying, a thicker mid layer when skiing, a warm jacket around town.
This is one of our favorite jackets, being warm, comfortable, and good-looking. The fabric is very breathable and surprisingly abrasion resistant even though it feels airy and soft, making this jacket durable and long-lasting even though it is pricey. It works better as a stand-alone layer than most of the other jackets in this review since it is one of thickest, so it could be used as an all-around winter jacket in a warm climate. If you prefer something less expensive, the Montbell UL Thermawrap Jacket - Women's and the Sherpa Vajra are both excellent jackets, though they are much thinner. If you want a jacket to stuff into itself, the Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover - Women's and the Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket - Women's are both light and technical layers for long backcountry adventures.
To read more about how this jacket compares to other synthetic insulated jackets currently on the market, check out our Best Insulated Jacket for Women Review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
If grabbing a jacket to wear around town during cold winter days, this is the one we would suggest since it has more insulation than most of the others in this review. It is thick and cozy, comfortable and stylish. The hood and hem drawcords are cleverly disguised under the main material and even when pulled tight don't bunch in an unsightly way like most other jackets. These adjustments seal in warmth and keep out cold wind. Also, even though it is one of the thicker jackets, it has a tricot panel in the inside under the arms to make it more breathable and less sweat-causing.
Compressibility & Weight
This jacket does not pack down into itself, so it is not as easy to bring along on climbing or backpacking adventures, but it does compress well in a pack and it has some slick technical features. This jacket feels light and fluffy while still being thick. The 100 g/mē of Coreloft insulation is lofty, allowing this jacket to remain lightweight for its size and warmth.
Comfort & Coziness
The Atom SV has soft material in the handwarmer pockets and on the chin spot when it zips up close to your face.
The outer shell is made from Gossamera, which is 100% Nylon ripstop fabric that feels soft and light but impressed us with its abrasion resistance. There are no quilted baffles to snag or unravel, as on some of the other lighter jackets we tested.
The man fabric is treated with a DWR, which repels water well for a time, but this coating will need to be maintained as the jacket ages.
Style & Fit
It has articlulated elbows and gusseted underarms, so when we tested this jacket on an especially cold ice climb, it moved well and was not restrictive. The cut is also slightly longer in the back, which looks nice and keeps your backside warmer and snow free.
Since this jacket is thicker than most of the jackets in this review, it works better as an outer layer than some of the thin synthetic layers we evaluated. In colder conditions, it still serves as a mid layer, fitting under shells and making a fantastic layer for skiing on a really cold day. That is one of the draws of a synthetic jacket, they stay warm even when you are squishing them under other layers, whereas down, once it loses loft it also loses warmth. This jacket has the added benefit of being extremely breathable for its thickness and warmth, which makes it less suffocating when using as a mid-layer underneath a shell.
This is the most expensive jacket reviewed, though it is well made and durable. If you have the money and a thick synthetic layer is what you are looking for, this is a quality purchase. If you are on a budget, look into less expensive jackets like the L.L. Bean's Primaloft Hooded Jacket - Women's, which is also a thicker, stand-alone layer.
— McKenzie Long
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: September 26, 2013
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