Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody Review
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Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody
|Price||$259.00 at Evo|
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|$191.95 at Backcountry|
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$190.00 at Amazon
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|Pros||Comfortable, breathable, warm, great mobility||Lightweight, weather-resistant, warm, durable||Warm, highly featured, comfortable||Lightweight, compressible, warm, weather resistant, affordable||Warm, affordable, water-resistant|
|Cons||Pricey, little adjustability, poor packability||Expensive, no hem drawcords, hard to stow, no internal pockets, not breathable||Bulky, poor breathability, technical style||Poor breathability, unathletic fit||Bulky, heavy, poor breathability|
|Bottom Line||This active insulated layer combines lightweight mobility with great breathability while offering some warmth||This versatile and lightweight insulated jacket offers impressive weather resistance and warmth||Warm and designed for adventure, this jacket provides a durable nylon ripstop shell fabric that resists abrasion and sheds water easily||This impressively wind-resistant layer fights the elements, provides functional warmth, and easily fits into its own pocket||An affordable winter jacket, this heavy piece traps heat well and provides plenty of insulated warmth|
|Rating Categories||Arc'teryx Atom LT H...||Patagonia DAS Light...||Mountain Hardwear C...||Rab Xenon 2.0||Columbia Pike Lake|
|Weight and Compressibility (20%)|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Specs||Arc'teryx Atom LT H...||Patagonia DAS Light...||Mountain Hardwear C...||Rab Xenon 2.0||Columbia Pike Lake|
|Measured Weight||13.05 oz||12.31 oz||16.47 oz||12.56 oz||38.59 oz|
|Insulation||Coreloft Compact synthetic fibers||100% recycled polyester PlumaFill||85% recycled polyester||PrimaLoft Silver||Thermarator with Omni-Heat Reflective Liner|
|Outer Fabric||20D Tyono shell, stretch fleece panels (94% polyester, 6% elastane)||Pertex Quantum Pro||15D coated nylon ripstop||Pertex Quantum||Polyester Storm-Lite DP II|
|Stuffs Into Itself||No||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Number of Pockets||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 internal zip, 1 internal drop-in||2 zippered hand, 1 internal zip||2 zippered hand, 1 internal chest|
Our Analysis and Test Results
One of the best mid-layer jackets on the market, the Arc'teryx Atom LT insulates with the breathable, warm, and light Coreloft Compact insulation, which performs when wet. The trim fit makes it an excellent base layer or light mid-layer. This streamlined jacket features two zippered hand pockets and an internal zippered chest pocket. Simple and functional, the Atom LT excels as a performance piece. The highly breathable material works great for athletic endeavors like winter runs, nordic skiing, and climbing when the temperatures drop below 20 degrees and we need a piece that would breathe and keep some warmth. As a standalone piece, this jacket lacks the warmth of some of the more robust insulated jackets we tested, but as an activewear mid-layer, it excels.
The Atom LT uses a combination of 60 g/m2 of Coreloft Compact insulation and stretch fleece panels on the side to provide warmth. The side panels provide ventilation, which helps during active use but lacks heat retention. This low-profile layering piece is far from the warmest, though it still has a decent warmth-to-weight ratio.
The Atom LT's adjustability features, a single drawcord on the back of the hood and two hem drawcords, tighten up the fit and help retain heat. Considering how light the jacket is, it does an impressive job of trapping heat.
Weight and Compressibility
We weighed our size medium jacket at 13.05 ounces. While this is about three ounces heavier than the lightest option in this review, it is notably the lightest of the similar stretch active layers that we've tested, and it has a lightweight feel.
This jacket lacks the ability to stuff into its own pocket, so it's harder to fit into a smaller pack or stow away. However, it remains light enough that tossing it into a daypack or laptop backpack proved to be a non-issue.
Arc'teryx excels in terms of comfort with all its jackets. The Atom LT uses articulated elbows and gusseted underarms for additional mobility and comfort. The slim, athletic fit felt thinner in the torso without being constrictive and tight or loose and baggy. The lowered hem sits below the waistline, and the long sleeves stay in place with riding up when moving arms around, which helped with activities like climbing.
The jacket also features excellent mobility of the shoulders and neck, with and without the hood on. Many competing jackets tended to be tight and constrictive in the upper section, impeding the range of movement. The Atom LT moves freely without any constriction. The Dope Permeair 20D liner fabric feels great against the skin, significantly better than slippery nylons, and the tricot fleece-lined pockets provide an added luxurious touch.
Intended as an activewear piece, this jacket works well for cold, dry weather or paired with a shell during rain, snow, or high winds. The fabric and insulation optimize breathability but suffer with the wind. When the arctic blasts blew in, our testers felt them.
The DWR treatment effectively causes water to bead up and shed off without being absorbed into the fabric, when fresh. The coating so easily repelled liquid during our tests that it garnered comments. "You poured water on me, and I got dry," remarked one tester. Unfortunately, the jacket's DWR coating wears off over time and needs to be reapplied. The stretch fleece side panels also absorb water; this is not the jacket you want for protection in serious storms. For true inclement weather, we suggest bringing along a rain jacket or hardshell.
The Atom LT's hybrid design pairs compact insulation with stretch fleece panels to create one of the most breathable mid-layer jackets on the market. The air-permeable exterior helps with breathability as well, and our testers loved moving in this thin piece.
We tested this jacket at altitude during a Colorado winter when temps barely reached the 30s. At these temps, we wore it as a single outer layer in dry weather while running, hiking, and nordic skiing, activities that induce sweating. The jacket regulated our heat amazingly well and rarely felt too hot or too cold. We were able to keep the jacket on and just crack the zipper a bit. The outstanding breathability made this jacket noteworthy.
Should You Buy the Arc'teryx Atom LT?
The Arc'teryx Atom LT hits the summit as one of the best choices for high-octane activities in cold weather — running, skinning, nordic skiing, or hiking — or even for less high-paced endeavors like climbing or camping. We don't recommend this jacket as your only insulated layer; we would only consider buying it after we already had a thicker and warmer jacket for general day-to-day cold weather living. With that base covered, adding in this lighter-weight choice for milder weather adventures and during workouts is certainly worthwhile. Comfortable, with great versatility, and a dream-like fit, it became one of our go-to insulated layers.
What Other Insulated Jackets Should You Consider?
The Arc'teryx Atom LT performed exceptionally well in most of our metrics. If you need something that can shoulder some precipitation, check out the Patagonia DAS Light Hoody. For an affordable, high-quality option, we like the Rab Xenon 2.0. If you just want something a bit more casual and stylish to wear around town, the Cotopaxi Teca Calido Hooded Jacket might be up your alley.
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