Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, well placed synthetic insulation, versatile
Cons: Less durable than some models, expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Cerium LT is an excellent lightweight down jacket from Arc'teryx. While it does not earn an award, it's still an excellent choice for anyone looking for a very light, warm, and versatile down jacket.
The Cerium LT is a lightweight jacket featuring 850 fill down. This high fill power is some of the best quality down available, but it is important to recognize that this reflects the warmth for the weight, not the overall warmth of the jacket. For most applications, the level of warmth will be adequate.
It's thin but exceptionally warm for its size. We really enjoyed wearing it during mild, fall temperatures, as well as layering under hardshell jackets or bigger down jackets in particularly cold places. It is longer than some lightweight jackets, too, which helps keep body heat in— exactly where you want it.
When the weather became stormy and frigid, we would layer the Cerium LT under a hardshell. Thanks to the careful placement of synthetic Coreloft insulation at the shoulders, cuffs, and armpits, this jacket is well-suited to keep you cozy. This layering strategy also protects the jacket from abrasion.
At 9.5 ounces, the Cerium LT is one of the lighter jackets in this review. The use of Coreloft synthetic insulation boosts its weight when compared with some of the competition in this review.
The compressibility of a down jacket is primarily a function of the quality of the down. Higher fill power, which is typically 750 and above, means the jacket has better down, making it warmer for its weight. This higher quality fill down is also more compressible; these are the features that make down such an excellent companion in the backcountry (so long as it doesn't get wet).
The excellent 850 fill down in the Cerium LT allows it to be incredibly warm and compressible for the weight. The small amount of Coreloft synthetic insulation is less compressible than down, but this might be a tradeoff worth your while if you use this jacket in wet climates.
The Cerium LT does not boast a lot of features, which helps to keep it lightweight. But the suite of features it does include offers up convenience while promoting a good fit and ensuring utility in its intended uses.
We appreciate the stuff sack system Arc'teryx uses in this jacket. It has a separate stuff sack, which is more beneficial than just stuffing the jacket into its pocket. While stuffing into its pocket does the trick, it could get scraped along rocks while clipped to the back of your rock climbing harness, which could facilitate holes.
The drawback is that you have to keep track of an extra stuff sack (plus the extra weight of the stuff sack, but that is minimal). Arc'teryx includes a loop of cord inside the chest pocket, which the stuff sack is girth hitched to. This means you can leave the stuff sack in that pocket and still use the pocket without fear of accidentally pulling the little lightweight sack out and losing it to the wind.
Plus, did we mention the chest pocket? We love chest pockets; they make it simple to stash your phone, allowing ease of access. The two side pockets are also impressive, as they are large and high on the front of the jacket. The placement of the side pockets also facilitates ease of use and access when wearing a backpack or harness.
The jacket only has one adjustment point on the hood, but it is well placed and sufficiently keeps out cold drafts. The bottom hem can also be cinched to keep out cold drafts from below. It has a cinch point on both sides, which ensures better wind-proofing.
The Cerium LT features 10D Arato nylon. While this denier is durable for its light weight, it is still, nonetheless, very lightweight. We like it because it seems less prone to losing down (super light fabrics sometimes lose down because they can't resist the sharp little points of the feathers), but it is not designed to stand up to daily wear in rugged, technical terrain. This makes the jacket less versatile for adventurous missions, but incredibly well-suited to those around town missions, fast-and-light trips, or activities that involve less abrasion.
The Cerium LT features a Durable Water Repellent finish, which does just that - repels moisture. This is a standard of nearly all outerwear these days and works well for light moisture. However, this jacket is not designed to be waterproof.
The Cerium LT earned a relatively high score in this category due to its use of Coreloft synthetic insulation in areas prone to moisture, like the cuffs, shoulders, and armpits. The synthetic insulation aspect allowed us more confidence in wearing by itself or under a hardshell or rain jacket if needed. If we overheated, the armpits wouldn't wet out and lose their insulating properties; the same goes if moisture leaked in at the cuffs, which happens to us on rainy days around town or during drippy ice climbs. The use of synthetic insulation in the shoulders also buys you time if you're caught out in a storm and need to run from the cafe back to your car - in the rain.
Down jackets have established their own sort of style niche in recent years, especially in cities with strong outdoor cultures and changeable weather. A down jacket is light and compressible, making it a logical choice for outdoor activities where you carry all of your gear on your back.
Around town, down jackets are an asset for a similar reason; they're light, compressible, warm, and easy to stuff into your laptop bag or backpack for your daily commute, just in case the weather turns. The Cerium LT is not designed as a stylish city jacket, but it is well made and features several color options that ensure it will slide seamlessly from the mountains to the local coffee shop.
This is not a bargain down jacket. However, with Arc'teryx, you get what you pay for; the Cerium LT is well-made and uses the highest quality of materials. In our experience, Arc'teryx doesn't release any new products until they have tested it rigorously and perfected it. If this jacket suits your needs, you'll surely love it.
The Arc'teryx Cerium LT is an excellent lightweight down jacket. It is not the warmest in this review, though it is among those that are warmest for the weight. For the adventurous crowd, it features Coreloft synthetic insulation in the cuffs, shoulders, and armpits, which are areas most likely to experience moisture. While this contributes to a slightly higher weight for its warmth and size, it is an excellent feature for those using this jacket as a midlayer for cold-weather aerobic activities, or in wetter climates. For most on the hunt for a new down jacket, this model will be more than adequate.
— Lyra Pierotti