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.
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.
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.
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.
Photo: Max Neale
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.
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.
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.