Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Attractive style and fit, breathable, water resistant, cute colors
Cons: Small pockets, lacks wind resistance, no stow-away system, expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This cute and stylish jacket is perfect for a mid-day skate ski in the winter months or for a meandering hike in the spring or fall. It has a mobile face design with two handwarming pockets and a chest pocket. The newest version we tested is a little smaller in size than the previous version, with an update to the breathable side panel; this makes it a little more durable, and it doesn't stretch out after long periods of use.
Featuring 60 g/m2 of Coreloft insulation, this jacket is not the warmest out there. We love its great warmth features like the cinch cord at its hemline and a snug insulated hood to lock in heat. Though, many 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 fleece 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 standalone 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.
Weight & Compression
As one of the most compressible and lightweight jackets in this review, it is built for adventuring light.
The 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. On the scale, this coat weighs 10.85 ounces, making it a lightweight insulated jacket to be worn on or while stuffed away into a pack.
Comfort & Coziness
Featuring cozy fleece paneling and some great technical features, it's comfortable enough to wear all day. We love the cozy fleece panels under the arms, which are soft and provide excellent temperature regulation.
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. The face and lining fabric are slippery, making it easy to put on layers either below or above (without them sticking to the jacket).
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, give enough room to nuzzle down into when the wind started to blow.
The stretch knit cuffs add to the sophisticated styling and feel nice on the wrists, and are glove compatible. We like the internal chest pocket and its fleece-lined hand pockets, but wished they were a little deeper.
While not the most weather-resistant jacket out there, it still does the trick when considering the performance expectation for an insulated jacket. It provides decent water resistance but lacks at cutting out the wind because of the porous and breathable face fabric. The fabrics are fairly thin and don't offer a whole lot of protection from the wind.
Like most of the models in this review, it 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 environments 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 entirely 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 out. That said, the insulation provides warmth (as all synthetics do). The fleece side panels also repel water, thanks to the Hardface Technology.
While the 20-Denier 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 would be beneficial to use a wind jacket (or even a shell) for the ultimate in weather protection.
With a continuous face fabric design and stretchy, super breathable side paneling, it's excellent for aerobic endeavors in the winter.
The side panels and thinner fabric design allows warm air to escape when you start to heat up. 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), it's perfect for alpine adventures or rock climbing at the local crag.
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 good. At the top end of the outdoor chic, this jacket is flattering through the torso; it used to have a longer profile but seems to have changed in the last year or so, and now has a shorter and slimmer fit with longer arms.
Our main tester has always worn a small in this jacket. When she slipped on a new version, she noticed the jacket had gotten a bit slimmer and smaller; those with broad shoulders will feel some snugness. The fabric stretch adds good mobility, but this tightness can be constricting.
The hem falls just above the hip. The arms are still long, but taller women may find this fit short in the torso. The breathable side panel has been redesigned and still functions the same, but Arc'teryx has fixed the problem with the material stretching out. We love its two-toned contrasting colors and hand pockets, which blend into the design.
The hooded version is on the expensive side of the price spectrum, but features some of the best craftsmanship and durability of any piece tested. Unlike several of the other models 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. Our testers appreciate its solid construction and wish that all 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 an excellent option for alpine adventures because of its outstanding technical features, which balance mobility and breathability. We love its flattering design and breathable performance. Wear it as a standalone 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, and it will serve you well.
— Amber King