Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip - Women's Review
Cons: More expensive, not super breathable
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Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip - Women's
|Price||$130 List||$145 List|
$145.00 at Amazon
$159.00 at Backcountry
|$66.00 at Backcountry|
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$54.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Cozy fleece interior, easy to layer, warm, versatile, stash pocket, tight fit||Breathable, excellent thermoregulation, extra warmth with hood, easy to layer||Super comfortable, excellent breathability, stylish, eco-conscious, no odor||Stylish and functional design, excellent durability and fit, comfortable, no odor||Warm, durable, breathable, thumb loops, 1/4 zip design vents well, excellent value, no odor|
|Cons||More expensive, not super breathable||Expensive, takes a few washes to increase next-to-skin comfort||Expensive, lacks durability of thicker fabrics, tricky to layer||Expensive||Need to size up on fit, shorter torso and arm length|
|Bottom Line||This high performance synthetic layer is ready for pretty much any adventure you dream up||A top-notch lightweight performer featuring exceptional thermoregulation and breathability with an innovative Merino wool technology that gets softer with every use||A high performing lightweight base layer featuring blended Merino and recycled polyester fabrics for a wide range of thermoregulation||This base layer offers an excellent, slim fit and a wide range of thermoregulation thanks to strategically placed ventilation panels that release excess moisture||A good looking blended polyester and merino wool top that outperforms its price tag|
|Rating Categories||Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip||Black Diamond Solut...||Patagonia Capilene...||Smartwool Intraknit...||Carhartt Force Heav...|
|Comfort and Fit (20%)|
|Layering Ability (20%)|
|Specs||Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip||Black Diamond Solut...||Patagonia Capilene...||Smartwool Intraknit...||Carhartt Force Heav...|
|Measured Weight||7.1 oz (size small)||6.6 oz (size medium)||5.8 oz (size small)||6.2 oz (size small)||6.8 oz (size medium)|
|Material||Torrent 190 with Polygiene (84% polyester, 16% elastane)||78% Merino wool, 22% polyester||51% Merino wool, 49% recycled polyester||53% Merino wool, 45% polyester, 2% elastane||80% polyester, 20% wool|
|Avaliable Cuts||1/4 zip||Crew, 1/4 zip neck/hoody||Crew, hoody/mock turtleneck||Crew, 1/4 zip neck||1/4 zip|
|Odor Control Fabric||Polygiene||Naturally odor resistant||Naturally odor resistant||Naturally odor resistant||Naturally odor resistant|
|UPF (sun protection)||No||No||No||No||No|
|Fit||Trim fit||Runs small||Runs small||Trim fit||Fit is small, size up|
|Flat-lock Seams?||Yes||Yes||No (seamless)||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip features a half-zip collar with a convenient stash pocket above the left hip. The top regulates body temperature very well, competing with the merino wool tops despite being a synthetic layer.
From the tops of mountains to the canyons of the desert, this roasty, toasty midweight base layer will keep you warm in frigid conditions. Built with 84% polyester and 16% elastane, it provides a long and tight fit that locks in warmth. The fleece-lined interior and zip-up collar retain heat that will keep you warm during those cold days. It's a perfect layer for backcountry or resort skiing or even running on cooler days.
While the face fabric isn't windproof by any means, it cuts the wind to a certain degree. As a result, it's a perfect stand-alone piece that will regulate body temperature on the move and keep you warm while standing still. While it's one of our favorite go-to base layers, there are other warmer options out there. Overall, this is the warmest synthetic base layer tested and one of the warmest overall. It's perfect as a wear-alone piece during highly aerobic activities in the winter or while engaging in less-aerobic sports during warmer months. Feel free to wear it under a jacket or mid-layer on the coldest days of the year or as a stand-alone piece on warmer days.
While warmth is a strong suit for this contender, breathability is not in comparison to other options out. While the fabric is relatively breathable (it is a base layer of course!), it didn't perform as well as other contenders. It features a zip-up collar that allows the easy release of heat from the body, but even with this feature, it doesn't compensate for the warmth generated by the super cozy fleece that lines the interior of the shirt in addition to the tightly woven fabric. These two construction features make this shirt a little less breathable on warmer days or while breaking a sweat.
The fleece-lined interior not only provides additional comfort but does an excellent job wicking away moisture from the skin. While running, skiing, rafting, and generally playing in this top, we noticed that moisture easily transfers from the skin to the outside of the fabric.
While wicking power is great, the fabric itself is tightly woven and the shirt doesn't have additional venting. The tightly woven fabric, in turn, doesn't breathe as well as other more porous options. However, it does cut the wind and ultimately contribute to overall warmth. All that said, it's been our favorite for running in cold weather and skiing when it's nippy outside. It functions well on its own (and looks cute too!) or in a layered system.
Comfort & Fit
Do you love the soft, luxurious feeling of microfleece against your skin? We sure do! The majority of our testers agreed that wearing the Rho LT Zip is like being wrapped in a soft fleece blanket all day long. The Elastine in the fabric makes the fit tight but not claustrophobic while the fleece lining is comfortable. The fit is flattering, providing enough length in both the arms and torso for those with longer limbs. Comfort? Yes! Fit? Fantastic!
The shirt is constructed with flat seams that don't itch or chafe the skin while in motion. The material isn't super thin which also adds a touch of comfort. In addition, there are a few stand-out features that include a handy-dandy stash pocket that's perfect to stash a key, credit card, or small iPod.
While we love the comforts of this top, it doesn't compare to Merino wool that is ridiculously soft and cozy. However, for a synthetic, the fit, stretch, and fabric feel are top-notch. Wear it for days in the worst weather out there.
Featuring a slippery face fabric and a stretchy construct, this top is super easy to layer. Its face fabric is nice and silky smooth that doesn't generate static cling like the wool contenders in this review. What's more is the fabric is thin, and the fit is tight, so it doesn't catch fleecy mid-layers.
In addition to being easy to layer over, it's simple to add a shirt underneath. The stretchiness of the fabric easily accommodates a little tank top. However, the arms are quite fitted, and a t-shirt with a sleeve may bunch. Overall, this is a super layer-able base layer top.
The Arc'teryx Rho LT is amazingly durable. After five years of use, our main tester hasn't noticed any issues with this top's longevity. This is after wearing while groveling up wide crack systems and stemming it out of box canyons. Regarding odor, like most synthetic shirts, the odor sticks after a few years of use. During our initial testing period (only three months) we noticed that the "odor-resistant" fabric did a pretty good job, though the odor now lingers after a few years.
Arc'teryx, in general, is renowned for its fantastic construction. The craftsmanship of the seams and stitching doesn't compare to other brands. In this regard, this base layer top fits the bill exactly. Even though the initial price is high, so is the durability. Use it for many years on a plethora of adventures.
While the price tag is a little steep, the price is worth it. This top offers many performance attributes and durability that you wouldn't be able to find in another shirt. Given that a previous iteration of this top lasted us over six years, we can attest to the fact that despite the high price, the value is there. You will get what you pay for in this awesome base layer top. Best for those seeking a layer that can really do anything in cool to cold weather.
This top is fitted, comfortable, and durable. Its tight-to-the-skin fit and fleecy inner provide all-day comfort while the stretchy fabric accommodates most body types. Its top-notch craftsmanship and on-skin comfort are above and beyond for a synthetic base layer top. A favorite of our testing team for years, it will perform well for a range of adventures.
— Amber King and Trish Matheny
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