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Arc'teryx Atom SV - Men's Review

Arcteryx Atom SV Hoody
Price:   $260 List
Pros:  Comfortable, refined features, great hood.
Cons:  Doesn't stuff into itself, not as weather resistant as competition.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   ArcTeryx

Our Verdict

The SV has been discontinued.
Check out our complete Men's Insulated Jacket Review to see how this jacket compared to others.

A great all around mid-weight synthetic insulated jacket the Atom SV is warmer and more featured than its little brother, the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody. At 16.8oz the Atom SV is very-slightly lighter than the other middle weight jackets in this review like the Rab Generator Alpine and Mountain Hardwear Hooded Compressor. A very versatile jacket, we find the Atom SV to work very well both around town daily, and in the mountains as a very well designed insulating mid-layer. It's also quite stylish looking.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Synthetic Insulated Jackets For Men

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Chris Simrell

Last Updated:
Monday
April 8, 2013

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Warmth


The SV uses 100g/m2 of Coreloft insulation making it warmer the the light weight synthetic jackets like the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody that usually use 60g/m2 of insulation. Adding to warmth increase is a longer fit compared to the LT, coming down over the butt, and longer in the front as well. The hood design also provides a good amount of warmth, with the front of the jacket zipping up over the face, and a cinch system that allows you to seal out the wind. This hood is warmer and much more adjustable than the Atom LT hood. Overall however, the Atom SV is not entirely geared towards maximizing warmth. It foregoes insulation in the armpit, for example, and features tricot panels instead to allow for better movement and breathability. Like the Atom LT, the Atom SV is best used as a warm insulating mid-layer rather than as a warm synthetic outer layer providing maximal warmth.

We found the Atom SV to be a fantastic ski jacket, either on its own for nicer days, and under a shell when conditions dictate.
Arcteryx Atom SV  ski touring in the WA Cascades.
Arcteryx Atom SV, ski touring in the WA Cascades.


Weight / Compressibility


The Atom SV is very light for the amount of insulation it has. With a total weight of 16.8oz it is actually lighter than some other jackets in this review that are less warm. It also compresses extremely well in the pack. If you want your insulating jacket to pack into its pocket and clip to your harness you're out of luck with the Atom LT. The Rab Generator Alpine does however, and is a similar jacket in terms of warmth weight, while being slightly more climbing specific.

Weather Resistance


The weather resistance of the Atom SV is less than that of similarly warm jackets like the Rab Generator Alpine due to the outer fabrics used. Like all the jackets in this review the Atom SV is water and wind resistant enough for casual use, however for alpine climbing, ice climbing, or other possibly wet mountain uses, the Atom SV excels more as a heavier-weight mid-layer than as an outer layer fighting wind, wetness and precipitation.

Features


Like many Arc'teryx products the Atom SV has a great fit, and refined features. The hood drawcords for tightening the front of the hood, for example, are cleverly disguised underneath (inside) the main material and even when pulled tight don't bunch in an unsightly way like most other jackets. There is also a hood adjustment point in the back. The wrist cuffs, like on the Atom LT Hoody are supremely comfortable and fit very well under gloves. Adding to the comfort factor are touches of fleece, in the hand pockets, and behind the upper portion of the zipper to protect the face. There is one internal zippered chest pocket. The bottom hem has two waist drawcords.
If only all insulated jackets had cuffs like Arcteryx Atom LT and SV. Half Dome in the background.
If only all insulated jackets had cuffs like Arcteryx Atom LT and SV. Half Dome in the background.


An important feature to note (discussed above in "Warmth") is the under arm paneling which allows for better breathability and movement overall. This is however, a small trade-off with warmth.

Best Application


All around mid-weight jacket. Great looking and perfect for cold nights in town. Also an excellent mountain jacket, but best used as an insulating mid-layer. We take ours ice climbing, alpine climbing, ski-touring, and in bounds skiing.

Value


The Atom SV is very expensive for the warmth it provides, and is in that perceptive not the best value. However, the jacket has many refined features, great looks, comfort, and versatility. Most people who own one are in love with it.
Chris Simrell

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Most recent review: April 23, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.8)

100% of 5 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
7 Total Ratings
5 star: 71%  (5)
4 star: 29%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Oct 13, 2011 - 09:33am
Bill Mc Kirgan · Climber · Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Sale prices quoted at MountainGear and BackCountry are for extra large sizes in a specific color.

This sounds like a great jacket and I would have purchased one today at one of the 'as low as' sale prices, but I am not an XLG. Maybe if I sweet-talk the wife.

Thanks for this and other fine reviews!

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   Apr 23, 2014 - 08:39pm
Tom Blue · Backpacker · Somewhere, VA
I was visiting my brother in Colorado and we went into the mountains. I didn't bring a coat, so I asked to borrow one of his. He gave me his atom sv to wear. When we got there we were met with cold temps but also a huge sustained wind. I zipped the atom up, put on the hood (which fit perfect, unlike other hoods that are way to large) and stayed warm and cozy the whole time. I was amazed at the fact this coat was so thin and light. I have never experienced such protection from the elements in such a small package. It's almost like they have magic in this for insulation. I highly recommend this mini-reactor for anyone wanting ultimate cold weather / wind protection.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

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   Feb 12, 2012 - 10:04am
Nick
This is a good coat, easy to layer for those really cold days. I have had it for about 2 months now and have not regreted my purchase. I like the cuffs, they permit me to easily tuck my mits under it and the stretchy material is nice. The hood has a soft material near the brim, although this is a nice feature, it is also a disadvantage, when snow falls in an angle it gets cought on that fabric and your body heat melts it, so you finish by getting it wet and cold. Apart from that, this is a very good coat.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

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   Feb 5, 2012 - 07:00am
Jeffrey Borak · Backpacker · CT
I have both the SV Atom and LT hoody and they are great. Used the SV for climbing MT Rainer in July 2011. Used it as a mid layer and as my puffy at base camp. At 20 degrees it kept me warm. Very light and packs down to nothing.

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   Jan 6, 2012 - 07:20pm
Hrishikesh Deodhar
Its an excellent product which kept me warm in Zion National park and Yosemite… I went there during the winters, and it was superb in keeping me warm at 25F - 30F ..
The only complaint that i have it that the fit is a tiny bit boxy..
I sure would recommend people to buy this for cold weather

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

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   Nov 30, 2011 - 04:46pm
Bill Mc Kirgan · Climber · Cedar Rapids, Iowa
I purchased the Atom SV at regular price and am very pleased with the jacket and am looking forward to using it this winter. I've never had a jacket like this: thin, light, easy to move in and extremely warm. It is surprising how well it holds and reflects my body heat. I've been out in some near freezing temperatures on windy days with nothing but a cotton t-shirt on underneath, and it is very warm. I've tried a fleece layer and felt too hot, but that should be about right later this winter season.

The only negative thing about purchasing this jacket is that it was not easy to get in my size (small), and I had to check with several online sources. REI was the first to have it in my size, but I could not get my first choice in color. I wanted a bright color and settled on the subdued TIBETAN RED. At least the inside is bright orange; so, if I'm ever in need of a rescue I could probably wear it inside-out and be seen.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

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   Oct 13, 2011 - 12:02pm
Anonymous · Climber · CA
i think there may be an error in this review-in the full review you suggest there are tricot panels under the arms-that is the Atom LT hoody, i think. The SV model has insulation all under the arms…

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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