Hands-on Gear Review

Arc'teryx Thorium AR Hoody - Women's Review

Thorium AR Hoody Women's
By: Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 7, 2014
Price:  $325 List  |  $325.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Versatile, warm, durable, dependable, solid construction
Cons:  Gets wet easily, slow to dry, a little pricier, bigger baffles reduce ease of movement slightly
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 25% 8
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 5
  • Compressibility - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 8
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • Features - 5% 9
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Our Verdict

Arc'teryx consistently produces high-quality products. The Thorium AR Hoody is no exception, but it didn't wow our reviewers as the company frequently has with other products. The Thorium AR performed much better than the Arc'teryx Cerium SL - Women's and is useful for a much broader range of activities. It is still on the pricier end of the jackets we reviewed, but it is durable, simple, and comfortable--and still less expensive than the much lighter Cerium SL. Overall this is a rugged and reliable workhorse that we would recommend for many outdoor uses, ideally in a drier climate, and one that will last for many years.

Fresh Colors for Winter
Arc'teryx released some new colors for the Thorium AR Hoody this year, such as the Azalea (purple) displayed above. They also "lengthened the waistline a bit," but otherwise, this jacket remains the same. Be on the look for the older colors, often found at discounted prices as retailers get rid of old stock.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Share:

The Arc'teryx Thorium AR hoody is a solid and reliable lightweight down jacket that will hold up and keep up on your many outdoor adventures.

Performance Comparison


Cooking and camping in the Arc'teryx Thorium AR hoody.
Cooking and camping in the Arc'teryx Thorium AR hoody.

Warmth


The Thorium AR hoody was among the loftier jackets we reviewed, ranking itself on the higher end of the warmth category. The fit is snug but comfortable, which reduced the chance for cold air drafting in at the edges. The jacket is made of 750 fill European goose down. Our reviewers typically consider 800 fill and above to be high quality, and 650-750 to be mid range--but in field tests, we hardly noticed a difference. The slightly bigger-than-average baffles seemed to add a little warmth without compromising mobility.

Weight


This jacket is of average weight among the jackets we tested. Arc'teryx used bigger baffles for this jacket, however, which reduces the amount of stitching and saves a little weight. The fabric used is also some of the most rugged in our lineup, and was not noticeably heavier. Overall, Arc'teryx added weight where it matters and cut back where it makes sense.

Compressibility


This jacket stuffed nicely into a separate stuff sack, sized just right to make it small without being difficult to cram it in.

Our lineup of women's jackets compressed into stuff sacks and pockets for compressibility comparison. (L to R: Montbell Frost Smoke  Montbell Alpine Light  Arc'teryx Thorium  Arc'teryx Cerium  Ghost Whisperer  Rab Microlight.
Our lineup of women's jackets compressed into stuff sacks and pockets for compressibility comparison. (L to R: Montbell Frost Smoke, Montbell Alpine Light, Arc'teryx Thorium, Arc'teryx Cerium, Ghost Whisperer, Rab Microlight.

Water Resistance


Arc'teryx also employed their Down Composite Mapping in this jacket, as it did with the superlight Arc'teryx Cerium SL. This technology embraces the careful placement of Coreloft synthetic insulation--most notably in the cuffs, shoulders, and hood--all places prone to wetting out or compression. Both of these jackets, however, performed poorly in wet conditions. Ironically, they were the slowest to dry of all the down jackets we tested. The synthetic insulation was much slower to dry than down (which breathes very well), and it would drip into the down baffles bordering the synthetic compartments. The result was a jacket that really got saturated with water and took twice as long to dry. Additionally, the cuffs would hold water inside the jacket where the synthetic insulation was, much like a water balloon.

The Thorium AR hoody  showing the slightly larger baffles and the compartment in the wrist (bordered by the upper seam) with Coreloft synthetic insulation.
The Thorium AR hoody, showing the slightly larger baffles and the compartment in the wrist (bordered by the upper seam) with Coreloft synthetic insulation.

Style and Fit


The Thorium AR hoody is sleek and comfortable. Our reviewers were particularly impressed with the hood, which fit under a helmet as comfortably as the Ghost Whisperer. It has no drawcord to adjust the fit, but the elastic around the face proved to be much more comfortable whether wearing a helmet or not.

The fit is snug to seal out the elements, but still allows great range of movement. And Arc'teryx used a much softer fabric for the inside lining which is very cozy to the touch.

The Thorium AR hoody fits well and is well constructed.
The Thorium AR hoody fits well and is well constructed.

Durability


This jacket boasts some of the more rugged fabric in our test. While the 40 denier outer fabric inspired confidence on abrasive rock, the inner was much softer and lighter and allowed some down to escape.

Features


This jacket features a plastic front zipper which our reviewers really appreciate. Though they don't always look as classy as smaller metal-toothed zippers, these plastic ones also don't bend as easily as metal. In our tests, these plastic zippers hold up much better over time, and they function much more smoothly and reliably.

The plastic zipper that we find to be the most durable.
The plastic zipper that we find to be the most durable.

This jacket also has a separate stuff sack instead of stuffing into a pocket. But the stuff sack does have a carabiner clip loop--that just means you have to keep track of the stuff sack if you carry it clipped to your harness on a climb and decide to wear it at a chilly belay a couple hundred feet up a cliff.

Best Applications


This jacket is a great choice for many outdoor adventures. It is quite warm for its weight, so it lends well to climbing and backpacking. And it is very comfortable, so you will find yourself putting it on like your favorite sweatshirt. Given the issues with water absorption, our reviewers felt it was best used in dry climates.

Value


This jacket is on the upper end of down jacket prices, but it is well-constructed and durable with its 750 fill down, 40 denier fabric, and plastic zipper. This is a piece that will last for years to come if you take good care of it.

Conclusion


This jacket was a close contender for an award, but the issue with water absorption and slow drying knocked it out of the running. If your adventures are dry, however, the Thorium AR hoody is an excellent option.

Lyra Pierotti

You Might Also Like

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 7, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...