The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody Review

This high scoring contender is incredibly insulated in the torso, resulting in a model that is exceptionally warm.
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Price:  $299 List | $239.20 at Amazon
Pros:  Warm, comfy adjustable hood, great wrist cuffs, fleece-lined pockets
Cons:  Bulky, relatively expensive
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 18, 2018
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 13
  • Warmth - 25% 9
  • Weight - 20% 6
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 9
  • Breathability - 15% 4
  • Style - 5% 8

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Atom AR, with double the torso insulation of the lightly insulated jackets, makes an excellent mid-layer for truly cold weather and stylish outerwear. This is a beefy, well-built jacket with a heavier, more durable shell fabric than most we tested. The fleece-lined hand pockets, single-pull hood adjustment, stretchy wrist-hugging cuffs, and fancy main zipper pull are the type of superior features Arc'teryx is known for. This jacket's little brother, the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody, is a time-tested lightly insulated jacket with breathable fleece panels under the arms.

Color Updates

The color we tested is on the way out, making way for a new batch of hues. The classic black shown above is a current option for this jacket, but you can rest assured that no changes to design or fit have been made for the Atom AR since our testing period, so our findings in this review are current!

April 2019


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $239.20 at Amazon$174.99 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$149.00 at Patagonia$191.25 at Amazon$159.98 at Backcountry
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Pros Warm, comfy adjustable hood, great wrist cuffs, fleece-lined pocketsVery warm for its weight, stuffs into pocket, wind and water resistantVery breathable, super comfortableWarm, durable, packableBreathable, light, great midlayer
Cons Bulky, relatively expensivePoor breathabilityOffers little wind resistanceHeavy compared with other models, hood doesn't quite fit over a helmetPoor weather resistance
Bottom Line This high scoring contender is incredibly insulated in the torso, resulting in a model that is exceptionally warm.This has the best warmth to weight ratio of any jacket we tested, has great construction, and is very weather resistant.The most breathable and insulated jacket in the line up.This jacket has a great warmth-to-weight ratio; a good option for those who run cold.This jacket is one of the most breathable models out there.
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody Rab Xenon X Hoodie Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody Rab Nimbus Ascendant Hoody
Warmth (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
6
Weight (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
Comfort (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
10
Weather Resistance (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
3
Breathability (15%)
10
0
4
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
4
10
0
10
Style (5%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
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8
10
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6
10
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6
Specs Arc'teryx Atom AR... Rab Xenon X Hoodie Patagonia Nano-Air... Rab Nimbus Ascendant Hoody
Weight (size small) 15.2 oz 11.3 oz 12.3 oz. 14.6 oz. 11.3 oz.
Insulation 120 g/m2 Coreloft body, 80 g/m2 underarms, 60 g/m2 hood 60/m2 PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Active 60g FullRange insulation Cirrus insulation w/ 3M featherless fibre Polartec Alpha Direct 100% polyester
Outer Fabric Gossamera nylon Pertex Quantum/ 100% nylon ripstop lining 100% nylon ripstop Pertex Quantum Pertex Microlight 100% 20D Nylon ripstop
Stuffs Into Itself? No Yes, clip loop Yes, barely Yes No
Hood Option? Yes Only hooded Yes Yes Yes
Number of Pockets 2 zippered hand, 1 zipperedĀ internal chest 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal 2 handwarmer pockets, 1 zippered chest pocket

Our Analysis and Test Results

This jacket fits in with some of the heavier insulated models like the Rab Nimbus, the Patagonia Hyper Puff and the Patagonia Hyper Puff Storm. If you're looking for something a bit less bulky, consider our Editors' Choice Rab Xenon X Hoodie with its excellent wind and water resistance. Like the fit of the AR but need more breathability? Check out Arcteryx's breathable and durable Proton LT.

Performance Comparison


This is one of the warmer models in our review. Perfect for chilly mornings  but not very breathable.
This is one of the warmer models in our review. Perfect for chilly mornings, but not very breathable.

Warmth


The Atom AR uses twice as much insulation (120 g/m2 Coreloft) around the torso in comparison to the lightly insulated models we tested. This jacket is much warmer and significantly less breathable than the Arcteryx Atom LT. Anecdotally, we see more folks rocking the Atom LT, likely because it's a more versatile layer. The AR remains warm while reducing bulk by using less insulation in key areas - 80 g/m2 under the arms where it is often compressed anyway and 60 g/m2 for the hood - both allowed for cozy warmness and excellent mobility. The warm hood cinches tight with a rear cord lock and the stretchy, snug-fitting cuffs seal in warmth. As with many of the Arc'teryx models we've tested, our testers wish the hem was lower. The AR is a notch down from the Hyper Puff, our Top Pick for Warmth in this metric.

We feel like this jacket offers good mobility and we especially like the snug elastic cuffs. We do wish the hemline was lower.
We feel like this jacket offers good mobility and we especially like the snug elastic cuffs. We do wish the hemline was lower.

Weight & Compressibility


Warmth comes with trade-offs, and this model is one of the bulkier and heavier ones we tested. Unfortunately, the AR does not stow into one of its pockets, so you can't clip it to a climbing harness or backpack. We managed to compress it into a nice package by cramming it into its hood and tightening the drawstring.

Unfortunately  the Atom AR does not stow away into its own pocket. Here we tucked it into its hood.
Unfortunately, the Atom AR does not stow away into its own pocket. Here we tucked it into its hood.

Comfort


As we've come to expect from Arc'teryx, the Atom AR sports a fine set of features that makes it super comfortable. Additionally, its athletic cut and incorporation of three different thicknesses of insulation create great mobility. It also features a relatively long waist hem that stays put when lifting the arms. The wrist cuffs and waist hem are top notch. Both this jacket and its little brother, the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody, sport low profile, snug fitting cuffs with a wedge of stretchy fabric sewn in. These are comfortable, seal in heat, and are easier than others to slide under gloves. Finally, the hem tightens with easy-to-use cord locks on both the left and right side.

The hem cinch stays out of the way and seals in the warmth.
The hem cinch stays out of the way and seals in the warmth.

An adjustable hood sets this jacket apart from some of its competitors, but there are no soft fleece bits to rest against the chin. One elastic cinch with a cord lock at the back of the head snugs it up to seal out the weather and a stretchy sleeve at the back of the neck seals in heat. One internal zippered chest pocket is perfect for securing valuables around town or keeping your snacks from freezing in the backcountry. The zippered hand pockets are relatively shallow but are lined with a soft micro-fleece. Overall, this jacket earned a comfort score right up there with our award winners.

The hood fits well with or without a helmet and secures with a rear cinch cord. It's well insulated and feels very warm.
The hood fits well with or without a helmet and secures with a rear cinch cord. It's well insulated and feels very warm.

Weather Resistance


This jacket, like the award-winning Xenon X, has a near continuous outer fabric. Fewer seams mean fewer places water can seep in if you get stuck in a downpour. This jacket's fabric continued to bead water well throughout our testing, and we feel Arc'teryx's DWR treatment is one of the best. The continuous shell and thick insulation also lead to excellent wind resistance. While a breathable jacket like the Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody or Outdoor Research Ascendent Hoody needs a light shell layer over top in unpleasant conditions, this jacket does a great job blocking cold, gusty wind. With the snug cuffs and hood in the mix, we don't hesitate to use this as a stand-alone outer layer on clear, windy days in the mountains. If you're after insulation with the best weather protection, take a look at the Patagonia Micro Puff Storm, the only completely waterproof model in our review.

Breathability


The trade-off for great wind resistance is relatively poor breathability. While this model's lining wicks well, it is not a jacket you want to keep on for high energy activity unless it is frigid out. We do like to use the Atom AR under a shell in freezing weather, but the Patagonia Nano-Air or the Arcteryx Proton LT would be a better mid-layer choice if you're really pushing hard and have the potential to overheat. The Nano-Air breathes well and is the warmest of the breathable jackets when used as a mid-layer.

This Jacket is perfect for a crisp  beautiful morning hanging out in the Buttermilks.
This Jacket is perfect for a crisp, beautiful morning hanging out in the Buttermilks.

Style


Our lead tester liked the cut of this jacket; with its near continuous shell, it has a clean, sleek look. We wore our blue test model around town, and the black and Proteus (gray) color options make for a nice, low-key look. It's also available in a dark blue color called "Tui" and the greenish "Everglade". If you want a warm jacket that looks great around town, the Atom AR is the way to go; it looks much nicer than the Patagonia Hyper Puff Hoody, but then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Our tireless tester all set for another chilly day in the Owens River Gorge. He's happy to have this jacket for shady belays were the sun only hits the canyon floor for a few hours during the winter.
Our tireless tester all set for another chilly day in the Owens River Gorge. He's happy to have this jacket for shady belays were the sun only hits the canyon floor for a few hours during the winter.

Best Applications


This piece is a great mid-layer for frigid weather. It also looks great for cold nights out on the town. Finally, it's also an excellent mountain jacket on its own in clear weather and under a hardshell when snow is falling. We used ours ice climbing, alpine climbing, hiking, and downhill skiing.

Value


At $299, this insulated jacket is competitively priced for the warmth it provides. The jacket has many refined features, looks great, and offers both comfort and versatility. Arc'teryx is known for making products that last a lifetime and have a die-hard following.

Conclusion


This warm, durable jacket gets most of the fine details right, and it would be hard to find a better jacket if you need a medium amount of insulation. The Arc'teryx Atom AR will keep you warm as an outer layer in all but the harshest conditions and is finely tuned as a dead-of-winter mid-layer. We find ourselves wearing it around town quite often as well.


Matt Bento