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Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody Review

This is a great medium weight softshell jacket that will hold up to rugged use thanks to its durable fabric.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $249 List | $249.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Durable fabric, great fit, all-around usefulness
Cons:  Limited water resistance, fitted cuffs
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 23, 2019
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81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 13
  • Weather Protection - 30% 8
  • Breathability - 30% 8
  • Mobility - 20% 9
  • Weight - 10% 8
  • Features - 5% 6
  • Style - 5% 8

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Gamma LT is a perfect example of what a softshell jacket needs to be. It features a hardwearing fabric called Wee Burly that excels in the rough environments that alpine and rock climbers often find themselves in, yet manages to achieve this durability at a lower weight than many other softshells. Though able to withstand moderate winds and light precipitation, keeping your baselayers warm and dry, the Gamma LT does favor breathability over weather protection and is not as weatherproof as its more robust brother, the Gamma MX Hoody.

Although there are lighter weight jackets available, some of which offer slightly better weather protection, the Gamma LT is a true all-arounder. It is versatile, stylish, and performs well enough across a range of applications that we do not hesitate to give it our Editors' Choice Award.

Color Updates

The color we purchased for testing is no longer offered, but Arc'teryx hasn't changed anything about this jacket except the hues. A current colorway is shown in the image above.

May 2019


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $249.00 at Amazon$142.00 at Amazon$84.98 at Backcountry
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$219.97 at Backcountry
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$159.98 at Backcountry
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Pros Durable fabric, great fit, all-around usefulnessGreat for general use, lightweight, weather resistantInexpensive, great breathability, stretchyWaterproof, lightweight, breathableTrim fit, abrasion resistant material, harness and helmet friendly
Cons Limited water resistance, fitted cuffsCuffs not adjustable, no hood drawstringsLimited weather protectionExpensive, large fitNot as wet weather resistant, UK zippers can be awkward to use
Bottom Line This is a great medium weight softshell jacket that will hold up to rugged use thanks to its durable fabric.A lightweight and weather resistant softshell that offers top performance for a wide range of applications.For summertime rock climbing where cool winds and rough surfaces are expected.This hybrid hardshell-softshell offers excellent weather protection for harsh alpine conditions, making it a great choice for alpine climbers and backcountry skiers.The Torque easily wins our Top Pick Award for Climbing with its well thought out designs that appeal to both summer and winter climbers and mountaineers.
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody Arc'teryx Tenquille Hoody Ferrosi Hooded Patagonia Galvanized Rab Torque
Weather Protection (30%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
3
10
0
10
10
0
4
Breathability (30%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
5
10
0
9
Mobility (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
9
Weight (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Features (5%)
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
6
Style (5%)
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
Specs Arc'teryx Gamma LT... Arc'teryx... Ferrosi Hooded Patagonia Galvanized Rab Torque
Type Stretch woven Stretch woven Stretch Woven Waterproof stretch woven Stretch woven
Weight (size medium) 1.06 lbs 0.65 lbs 0.8 lbs 1.1 lbs 1.03 lbs
Material Wee Burly (56% nylon, 34% polyester, 10% elastane) Kauss polyester Body and hood: 86% nylon, 14% spandex 90D stretch woven ripstop
Shoulders and lower sleeves: Cordura® 91% nylon, 9% spandex 120D stretch weave
H2No® Performance Standard shell: 3-layer, 4.4-oz 50-denier 88% polyester/12% spandex Ripstop Matrix
Number of Pockets 3 2 3 3 3
Hood Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Adjustable Cuffs Stretch cuffs Stretch cuffs Stretch cuffs Yes, Velcro Yes, Velcro

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Gamma line from Arc'teryx comprises garments that are stretchy and breathable while being moderately weatherproof. The Gamma LT is the lightest weight model in this series and is designed to be worn with or without layers in warm to cool climates, while the bulkier Gamma MX uses a fleece backing and has more warmth for colder weather.

Performing well in all metrics, the Gamma was edged out by the Rab Torque for Top Pick for Climbing, though we appreciated the clean, elegant style of the Gamma more and would recommend it over the Torque for those spending equal time at the crag as well as the coffee shop.

Performance Comparison


As an all-around performer  we liked the Gamma LT for trips into the mountains as well as on local day hikes.
As an all-around performer, we liked the Gamma LT for trips into the mountains as well as on local day hikes.

Weather Protection


The Wee Burly fabric used in the Arc'teryx Gamma LT has a tight, hard-faced weave and does well at beading water off in light precipitation, thanks to an additional DWR (durable water repellent) treatment. It did wet through in the shower test; like all the softshell jackets we tested it is merely water resistant, not waterproof. It failed along the shoulders and back much sooner than the marginally lighter Dawn Patrol. The fabric is air permeable which positively affects its breathability, and it holds up to cold gusty winds well, though it is not as wind resistant as the Gamma MX (which uses a fleece inner lining.)

The hood is sized to accommodate a helmet and can be adjusted with three separate cinches. Like the Gamma MX, this coat does not have wrist closures and instead uses a fitted cuff which is a bit too tight to place over gloves.

The Wee Burly fabric has a DWR coating  that resists light rain  but won't stand up to strong showers for very long.
The Wee Burly fabric has a DWR coating, that resists light rain, but won't stand up to strong showers for very long.

Breathability


Earning a score of 8, the Gamma LT is more breathable than the Marmot ROM, but was not as breathable as the Rab Torque, another climbing oriented softshell that weighs nearly the same. With an unlined fabric, the Gamma LT adequately allowed moisture to pass through during strenuous activity, though with all the zippers pulled up we found ourselves getting damper in our base layers than while wearing lighter jackets such as the Ferrosi. Given that this jacket is best used by climbers and skiers who are not racing uphill at an aerobic pace, we found the breathability to be appropriate to those activities.

Booting up a steep couloir in the Eastern Sierra is taxing! Luckily this soft shell breathes well during the lung-busting climbs.
Booting up a steep couloir in the Eastern Sierra is taxing! Luckily this soft shell breathes well during the lung-busting climbs.

Mobility


Arc'teryx has done it again with the Gamma LT, creating a well-tailored jacket that allows for freedom of movement without being too bulky. It is worn easily over insulating layers without feeling cramped and is slim enough that it looks good and moves well without feeling baggy. The use of a gusseted underarm area makes it easy for us to reach up and grab a climbing hold, and the longer cut hem gives this better protection when worn with a climbing harness, something we wish the Gamma MX also included.

This jacket is stretchy and mobile  great attributes for scrambling around in the mountains.
This jacket is stretchy and mobile, great attributes for scrambling around in the mountains.

Weight


At 1.1 pounds, the Gamma LT is on the lighter side of average when compared to the rest of the jackets we reviewed, and given its durability, breathability, and climbing-friendly cut, it is a solid jacket for its weight. We narrowly awarded the Rab Torque the Top Pick for Climbing Award for its better breathability and mobility, though the Gamma has slightly better weather protection and style for similar weight. It may be worth considering which traits are more important to you in this weight class. Like so many Editors' Choice award winners, the Gamma takes the cake because of its balance of strengths, not specializing in one metric in particular.

The Gamma LT is light enough to stuff in the pack  so that once the gusts pick up you have the protection you need.
The Gamma LT is light enough to stuff in the pack, so that once the gusts pick up you have the protection you need.

Features


The Gamma LT utilizes interesting features that are useful and user-friendly. From the head down we are happy to see there is a full-sized hood with three-way adjustable cinches, with a stiffened brim to shed precipitation. The No-Slip Zip zipper uses small teeth to keep the zipper from inadvertently sliding down. We haven't found that this is so much of an issue in other jackets to require a solution for, but it works well and does keep the zipper at a comfortable height when needing to dump heat out on a strenuous uphill climb.

The stiffened brim gives some extra protection and adds some structure to the hood.
The stiffened brim gives some extra protection and adds some structure to the hood.

Style


We really liked the style of the Gamma LT. It is clean cut, fits well, and is available in multiple colors that range from subtle to bright. This jacket is comfortable in the mountains but does not seem out of place worn around town or to the store.

Fitting underneath a harness well  the slightly longer length is useful and makes it more versatile.
Fitting underneath a harness well, the slightly longer length is useful and makes it more versatile.

Best Applications


We feel that the best application for this jacket is as an active softshell for climbers and skiers who also want their outerwear to look good and be versatile enough to wear in casual settings as well as out on adventures. Its durable weave and functionality make it almost as recommendable of a climbing jacket as the Rab Torque, and if the louder colors of the Torque are too much for your tastes, we strongly suggest looking at the Gamma LT.

Whether running errands in town or heading deep into the backcountry  this is a softshell you can count on.
Whether running errands in town or heading deep into the backcountry, this is a softshell you can count on.

Value


For $249, you get a classic Arc'teryx jacket with excellent attention to detail, function, and good looks. You do pay a premium for this label, but we feel that it is a good value for the price. Arc'teryx is legendary for their extensive research and development process, and it pays off with a solid jacket that will hold up to abuse.

Conclusion


As the lightest jacket in the Arc'teryx Gamma collection, we like this one the most for its pared-down simplicity. It can easily be worn with extra layers for more warmth, or thrown over a light shirt in the summer climbing season. It is versatile, has a great fit, and is an excellent choice as a do-it-all softshell jacket. We heartily recommend it with our Editors' Choice Award.


Ryan Huetter