The Arc'teryx Proton AR Hoody boasts versatility in the winter and earns our Top Pick for Winter Recreation! The 90-grams of continuous Coreloft insulation is both warm and cozy, and the continuous face fabric is surprisingly breathable. Not only that, but the face fabric is mobile moving with you on the move. It fits most of our testers with extra long arms, but a seemingly short torso. This unique combination had us climbing, hiking, skiing, and running errands around town throughout the coldest months of the year; wear this technical insulated jacket for anything winter! While the Proton AR is excellent for cold weather, the Arc'teryx Atom LT is a thinner and more breathable jacket that performs better in warmer temps. While the Proton AR is better as a stand-alone coat or shell, the Atom LT can easily be layered underneath a shell. It's not as warm with only 60-grams of Coreloft insulation, but it breathes better for three-season use. All said and done, if you want a jacket that is best for winter outdoor recreation, this Top Pick if our go-to recommendation.
Arc'teryx Proton AR Hoody Review
Cons: Sucky zipper, best for winter only
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Arc'teryx Proton AR Hoody is a breathable and warm technical jacket. As such, it earns a Top Pick for Winter Recreation due to its unique performance balance that had us ice climbing, skiing, and running errands comfortably in the cold of weather.
With 90-grams of Coreloft insulation running throughout the body and arms of this jacket, we were impressed with its ability to insulate. Like all models in this review, the insulation is hydrophobic, insulating when wet, and is quite lofty. With the ability to keep us warm in temperatures as low as zero degrees Fahrenheit (with a single base layer), our team quickly realized that this is a great winter insulated jacket.
It has many warmth features including an adjustable helmet-compatible hood, a double-pull cinch at the hemline, and gusseted wrists to lock in warmth. The hood is elastic around the face, hugging your face, so it doesn't allow a bunch of air to rush in or heat to escape.
Overall, we are impressed with the features of this jacket which make it warm yet breathable. It's a perfect option to hunker down in with an additional layer or to wear while busting out strides on the cross country track during a frigid winter day.
Weight & Compression
For the amount of insulation and warmth provided, we are impressed with the Proton AR's ability to compress. It doesn't have a stowaway system, but our testers learned that by simply rolling it up into its hood and cinching it down, it contained the jacket, making it easy to pack away.
That said, it doesn't have a carabiner loop to clip like the other options with their own stow-away systems. All in all, while this isn't the most compressible or lightweight jacket out there, we are impressed by its ability to pack away easily. We also like that it feels light while wearing.
If you're ever in wet or super windy weather, it's important to note that the Proton AR Hoody is not waterproof. Like most jackets in this review, it kept us warm when the snow flew down, and the wind blew. While the continuous Fortius Air 40-Denier 92% nylon, 8% elastane shells wards off a regular rainfall or snowfall and provides better wind protection than most, it was saturated after about four minutes during our shower water tests. That said, it does dry out quickly.
While it provides some wind resistance, the fabric and insulation are thinner, making it less windproof. If paired with a super light wind jacket it can perform better in these unique conditions. Even though it did not show "weather-proofing" capabilities, it is certainly "weather-resistant".
Comfort and Coziness
While the Proton AR Hoody doesn't have a wide plethora of comfort features, our testers love it. This is attributed to its continuous and mobile face fabric that moves the body while hiking and climbing. The material is nice to the touch, and the jacket feels very well crafted.
Despite it being heavier than most, it feels light on, and the insulation is cozy and lofty. Wearing it feels like being hugged all day long. The hood is helmet compatible, while all four pockets are ideally placed.
Two breast pockets allow for storage of materials while wearing a harness (ideal for climbing) while the two hand warmer pockets are lofty and comfortable. Our only wish is that they were a touch larger. That said, there are no interior pockets, but we didn't think it was necessary for this technical outdoor jacket.
Thanks to the smooth liner, our testers found it easier to layer with wool or fabric base layers. All said and done, the Proton AR Hoody is an uber-comfortable technical jacket option.
For the amount of loft and protection offered in this contender, we are surprised by its great level of breathability. While the 40-D 92% nylon, 8% elastane shell is protective, it allows moisture to leave easily. During early morning runs in the winter, it proved to be a great piece of gear, keeping us warm while breathing. While it doesn't have any breathability features like thin-fleecy vents under the arms, opening the chest and hand warming pockets provides sufficient heat release. That said, it isn't the most breathable option out there.
Overall, the Proton AR stands out because it's one of the warmest jackets out there that also breathes well on the move. This is the primary reason it wins our Top Pick for Winter Recreation; wear it on your next winter excursion into the wilderness.
Style & Fit
Featuring a continuous face fabric with a few flattering stitching patterns and a boxier fit, the Proton AR Hoody is cute in a mountain town sort of way. Our testers love the way this jacket felt but commented that it's not the most stylish in comparison to other contenders. Mostly just because it features a flat color without any additional features that offer a little more flair.
Featuring a stitching pattern that bows in around the hips that is quite flattering, the fit isn't super boxy. The fabric hangs in a flattering way covering some bumps and lumps. The material also isn't rigid, nor is the space in the torso area as large. As a result, it didn't fit all of our testers the best. While the jacket comes just above the butt with our chief tester (5'7, athletic build, 140 lbs), our taller testers thought it was a little short. But, the arms were long enough. Make sure to try it one before buying this one; the size is true to fit, and the colors are amazing!
As a warm jacket that can compress and breathe well, we highly recommend it for anything winter! While many of our contenders are lightweight options that fit well under layers, the Arc'teryx Proton AR is better to wear on its own as it's loftier and thicker than other options. It's our Top Pick for Winter Recreation because it is best for sweaty winter activities that require bouts of warmth. Think chopping wood, cold winter running, skiing, snowboarding, and more. Just add in a quality base layer and insulation when the temps get down into the negatives.
As the most expensive jacket in this review, we are not stoked on the $350 price tag. While performance and durability of the materials are impeccable, we were a little let down with the zipper. The teeth are small and not very durable. Also, it catches the super lofty liner, sticking many times during this testing period. There were not just one or two times this happened, but almost on a daily basis, we spent over a minute trying to zip or unzip the jacket.
We even got it caught to the point where we couldn't get it unstuck, then the zipper teeth broke. While this was returned promptly for a new jacket, we were unimpressed with zipper quality. That said, the craftsmanship and quality of the material are above and beyond anything else.
This Top Pick for Winter Recreation balances warmth and breathability for a high-performance technical piece that is best for anything winter.
— Amber King