This Top Pick for Aerobic Activities is perfect for a mid-day skate ski in the winter months or for a meandering hike in the Spring or Fall. The Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody features a stylish design, slim fit, with a wide selection of cute colors.
The Atom LT is our Top Pick for Alpine Adventures.
Featuring 60 g/m2 of Coreloft insulation, this jacket is not the warmest out there. Scoring a six out of ten, it does have some great warmth features such as a cinch cord at its hemline and a snug insulated hood to lock in heat. Though, many of our testers noted that warmth was lost from the breathable side panels and thinner fabrics. The outer water-resistant 20-Denier shell fabric gives the Atom LT an airy feel, while the fleecy panels under the arms offer maximum coziness and breathability.
When wet, it still provides excellent insulation, keeping you warm if caught in an unexpected rainstorm (though not dry). That all said, this jacket performs well as a stand-alone piece in temperatures that dip to just above freezing. With a good layering system (i.e., mid-layer with a base layer), it would provide better warmth overall. It is also easy to layer with another jacket to function as an excellent mid-layer.
The single pull on the hem locks in warmth.
If you want some a little warmer, there are some better options. If you're not looking for an aerobic, technical jacket, the Columbia Mighty Lite Hooded Plush is the warmest jacket in this review and our Best Buy award winner. It features thicker fabrics and provides more insulation and weather resistance. Though, if you want something that actually breathes while keeping you warm, the Arc'teryx Proton AR is our best recommendation. This technical jacket provides warmth to the negative tens (and more with a good layering system) and breathes nicely while hiking in the snow. That said, it's only best for the winter months as the 90-grams of Coreloft insulation is a little too warm for the fall, spring, or summer.
Weight & Compression
As one of the most compressible and lightweight jackets in this review, the Atom LT scores a solid eight out of ten. The lightweight design and thinner fabrics allow it to get as small as a small bag of almonds, packing away nicely into a backpack. That said, this jacket does not feature its stow-away system (which is a bummer), making it a little less versatile than other contenders like our Editors' Choice winner, the Rab Xenon X.
On the scale, this coat weighs 317 grams, making it our third lightest contender tested. The only other models that compress to a smaller size and are more lightweight include the Patagonia Micro Puff, our Top Pick for Lightweight Adventures (only 229 grams!) and the Rab Xenon X. The Arc'teryx Atom LT is an exceptionally lightweight model that can be made more versatile with the use of a small stuff sack.
This jacket rolls into its hood nicely. It's also one of the most compressible jackets without its own stow-away system.
While not the most weather resistant jacket out there, it still does the trick when considering the performance expectation for an insulated jacket. Scoring a six out of ten, this jacket provides decent water resistance but lacks at cutting out the wind.
Like most of the models in this review, the Atom LT has a DWR finish that repels water but won't keep you dry during a full out rainstorm. It functions well in a dry climate with dry snow and kept us warm in climates like that of Colorado. However, when the moisture in the air increases (in places like the Northwest) any adventurer would benefit from a waterproof shell that can full repel wet snow or precipitation, as this jacket will not keep you completely dry.
Water beads for a while, but after about four minutes in a downpour, the fabric will wet. That said, the insulation still provides warmth (as all synthetics do). In addition, the fleece side panels repelled water, thanks to the Hardface Technology. Another reason we chose this as a Top Pick. If you want a jacket with more water resistance, check out the Rab Xenon X, featuring a continuous Pertex Quantum Shell or the heavier Columbia Mighty Lite Hooded Plush.
The fabric is weather resistant.
While the 20D shell cuts the winds that aren't too cold or gusty, the fabric and thinner insulation combination isn't enough to keep the wind out. The breathable side panels are also an area where wind resistance deteriorates as a trade-off for breathability. While the face fabric repels the wind better than the side panels, it's still not enough. This jacket would benefit from a wind jacket or even a shell for the ultimate in weather protection. The Rab Xenon X is a better, more wind-resistant piece that kept out cold bellowing gusts but didn't have the same level of breathability.
Comfort & Coziness
Featuring cozy fleece paneling and some great technical features, the Atom LT earns an eight out of ten in this category. We loved the cozy fleece panels under the arms that are not only soft and touchable but provides great temperature regulation, so your armpits don't get swampy. Additionally, these panels, along with the jacket's gusseted underarms and the shell's stretchy fabric, allow for fantastic mobility while you're on the move. In addition, the face and lining fabric is slippery, making it easy to put on layers either below or above (without them sticking to the jacket).
While the Atom LT doesn't have super cozy features like a fur-lined hood (found in the Columbia Mighty Lite Hooded Plush), we did appreciate its other technical features.
The pockets are decently sized. There are two hand warming pockets and a chest pocket for additional storage.
It's cozy, and the snug hood fits well under a helmet while the hood cinches at the back to provide a great fit. We found that the fitted and stretchy fabric, in addition to the high collar provided enough room to nuzzle down into when the wind started to blow.
The hood features a cinch pull for a more precise fit.
The stretch knit cuffs of the jacket add to the sophisticated styling of this piece and feel nice on the wrists, and are glove compatible. Finally, we appreciated the Atom's internal chest pocket and its fleece-lined hand pockets but wished they were little deeper.
The gusseted wrist is elastic and comfortable.
With a continuous face fabric design and stretchy, super breathable side paneling, the Atom LT scores a nine out of ten in this category. Its side panels and thinner fabric design allows warm air to escape when you start to heat up. We found that when hiking uphill, we didn't have to take this jacket off in fifty-degree weather because it did such a great job at regulating temperature. With a combination of decent weather protection and breathability (and lightweight design) this is another reason this jacket is one of our Top Picks.
While this jacket is quite breathable, there are other options out there that perform during highly aerobic activities. For example; the Patagonia Nano Air is our Top Pick for Breathability because of its fully breathable knit-face fabric that does an incredible job regulating moisture.
The side paneling provides additional breathability.
That said, if you want something that's a little thinner (but not as warm or weather resistant), be sure to check out the OR Women's Ascendant Hoody that scored a 10 out of 10 in this category. This jacket is super thin with a fleece lined interior that wicks away sweat, allowing moisture to escape quickly from its thin face fabric.
This was a favorite of ours for early morning runs.
Style & Fit
Arc'teryx is known for its sleek styling, awesome colors, and slim athletic fit, so we weren't surprised at all when we slipped on the Atom LT and felt just a little sexier. At the top end of outdoor chic, this jacket is flattering through the torso and fits slightly longer-armed ladies perfectly and scores an eight out of ten.
Those with broader shoulders might experience a bit of snugness, especially with layers on underneath, but with the stretch fabric, we didn't find the slight tightness to be demobilizing in the least. The torso falls at hip length, and its hand pockets blend right into the jacket's design.
A look at the overall style, length, and fit of the Atom LT. Each individual review has pictures that outline the different fit and style features of each jacket tested.
Finally, the fleece panels under the arms provide a two-toned contrast that adds interest to this super cool piece. One of the only other jackets that rivaled the Arc'teryx Atom LT in style was the Columbia Mighty Lite Hooded Plus, which has far fewer technical attributes than the Arc'teryx Atom LT.
Style is important to consider. Whether you're out hiking or hanging around town, looking great is always a fine extra. Here we see the Atom LT, a favorite amongst our testers.
Thanks to its attractive fit, our testers felt stylish using this hoody around town. They also felt badass taking it into the backcountry. This jacket is designed to perform during cardio activities and will keep you warm while regulating temperature and wicking away moisture. Wear it as a mid-layer while ice climbing or wear it as an outer layer during a Fall hike. While it does feature a lightweight design and great compression, it does not have a great stow-away system, but use a small compression sack to make it an all-out versatile alpine jacket.
Take this jacket anywhere into the alpine.
The hooded version of the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody is about $250 (and on sale in some places online) and features some of the best craftsmanship and durability of any piece tested. Unlike several of the other insulated jackets that we reviewed, the Atom LT didn't get any snags or tears throughout our testing process. Our testers wore this piece crack climbing and put it to the test while bushwhacking in the backcountry - and it endured beautifully. The outer shell is surprisingly abrasion-resistant despite its seemingly fragile feel.
The stitching is also very tight, which also helped prevent unwanted snags. Overall, our testers really appreciate its solid construction and wish that other manufacturers would provide the same level of craftsmanship. Given its durability, versatility, and lifetime warranty, we think it's well worth the money.
The Arc'teryx Atom LT is our Top Pick for Aerobic Adventures because of its great technical features that balance mobility and breathability. We love this hoody's flattering design and breathable performance. Wear it as a perfect stand-alone piece during the warmer months or layer it under another jacket during the coldest days of the year. Wear it around town or on your most technical missions skiing, hiking, camping, or ice climbing - it will serve you well.
Pondering the next big adventure alongside a nice view, great music, and a good beer.