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Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody - Women's Review

While there were warmer models in our review, in every other aspect this hoody was a winner, providing top notch breathability, durability, and mobility.
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Price:  $249 List | $186.75 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, durable, great arm length, flattering cut, excellent breathability and water resistance
Cons:  Thin, cuffs aren't adjustable, pricey
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 20, 2018
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 11
  • Weather Protection - 30% 7
  • Breathability - 30% 8
  • Mobility - 20% 8
  • Weight - 10% 7
  • Features - 5% 7
  • Style - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody is a fantastic jacket that we found ourselves reaching for again and again. It's relatively thin and light, making it well suited for aerobic outings such as snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, and climbing. While it's not the best suited for intense wind or frigid temperatures, it is thicker than other pieces in our review and, if you're keeping your heart rate up, it strikes a pretty stellar balance between just enough and not too much. The material is highly durable yet also allows the body to breathe and ventilate effectively. Overall we found this to be an impressive layer on the more affordable end of typical Arc'teryx prices.

If you want more weather protection but don't want to sacrifice anything else, our Editors' Choice Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody is just as impressive but offers a lining for more warmth. And if you wish the Gamma LT was just a bit thinner and lighter, the Arc'teryx Psiphon FL Hoody, our Editors' Choice for Fast and Light has you covered. It's 5 ounces lighter, more feature-rich, and $10 cheaper.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody is well-tailored and moderately feature-rich, providing an excellent layer for more aerobic activities in swing season temperatures. The stellar mobility and breathability combined with durable fabric, harness-friendly pockets, and a helmet-compatible hood mean this is a great layer for climbing, but we loved it for all kinds of other activities as well.

Performance Comparison


The Arc'teryx Gamma LT was perfect for an aerobic hike in the alpine on a classic fall day where you have sun  wind  and temperatures varying from quite chilly to mildly warm.
The Arc'teryx Gamma LT was perfect for an aerobic hike in the alpine on a classic fall day where you have sun, wind, and temperatures varying from quite chilly to mildly warm.

Weather Protection


The Gamma LT didn't receive the highest score in this category due to its light, thin material. While it's an impressive shell all around, when stacked up against some of our thicker, more insulative models, this one wasn't quite as warm. "LT" is the shorthand Arc'teryx gives to lightweight items, and they recommend this jacket in particular for alpine and backcountry excursions. We agree with this designation, though if the weather turns on you, you will be cold if you're not moving. But if the weather stays relatively temperate and you're staying active, we predict you'll be happy as a clam.

The Gamma LT Hoody is brilliant for cooler days and aerobic activities.
The Gamma LT Hoody is brilliant for cooler days and aerobic activities.

While the Gamma LT was thin enough to let some wind and cold through, the patented Wee Burly Double Weave fabric and DWR finish are notably impressive for keeping water out. We wore each jacket into the shower to see how long it could repel an intense dousing, and the Gamma LT was one of the more impressive performers.

This lightweight durable shell was notably impressive when it came to repelling water. Here you can see how it just sits on the surface and doesn't soak in at all.
This lightweight durable shell was notably impressive when it came to repelling water. Here you can see how it just sits on the surface and doesn't soak in at all.

Breathability


The Gamma LT excelled in this metric, providing some of the best breathability in our review. From climbing in the sun to early morning trail runs and high altitude snow hikes in variable temperatures, the Gamma LT kept us protected but not stifled. The pockets are also mesh-lined for added ventilation when needed.

If aerobic swing season activities are your jam  the Gamma LT is a fabulous choice.
If aerobic swing season activities are your jam, the Gamma LT is a fabulous choice.

Mobility


This is also a great jacket for mobility. It's constructed with a stretch textile and has gusseted underarms and an athletic fit — a pretty winning combination for movement. No matter what activity we undertook in the Gamma LT it moved and stretched easily and naturally. We especially love how comfortable it is to climb in, never feeling cumbersome or bulky.

Having full range of motion in your softshell is extremely important in order to stay protected without feeling uncomfortable or impeded.
Having full range of motion in your softshell is extremely important in order to stay protected without feeling uncomfortable or impeded.

Weight


At 15.3 ounces this is a decently light layer, though our review contains quite a few lighter options as well. However, this is a great shell to consider if you want to stay relatively light but desire just a wee bit more bulk and durability.

The Gamma LT strikes a great balance between weight and burliness. It's a smart layer to take traveling in mild temps because it will provide good protection without weighing down your suitcase.
The Gamma LT strikes a great balance between weight and burliness. It's a smart layer to take traveling in mild temps because it will provide good protection without weighing down your suitcase.

Features


There were pieces with more features in our review, but overall the Gamma LT has everything we expect in a competent softshell. It provides excellent moisture resistance, highly breathable and durable fabric, gusseted underarms, stretch wrist gussets, a helmet compatible two-way adjustable hood, two harness compatible zippered hand pockets, and one internal zippered pocket. It also has an adjustable drawcord hem, a drop back hem for better coverage, and an athletic fit for a slim, flattering profile. While the cuffs aren't adjustable, they are a decent size, and the stretch gusset allows them to stay put when pushed up to the forearms.

This shell easily fit a helmet under the hood and the pockets remain accessible with a harness or backpack on.
This shell easily fit a helmet under the hood and the pockets remain accessible with a harness or backpack on.

Style


It's no surprise to most gearheads that Arc'teryx makes beautiful things. So we weren't at all shocked to find good looks and a great fit with the Gamma LT. The slim athletic profile on this jacket gives it a flattering look that's easy to feel good in.

While a bit technical looking  we loved the fit and feel of this jacket and found ourselves grabbing it for anything from a day in the mountains to drinks with friends.
While a bit technical looking, we loved the fit and feel of this jacket and found ourselves grabbing it for anything from a day in the mountains to drinks with friends.

Best Application


During milder weather, there honestly isn't much we wouldn't recommend this jacket for. It's fantastic for any activity requiring a lot of movement and exertion because it's got stellar breathability and a comfortable well-tailored fit. While the thin material is not conducive to overly heavy winds or rain, we felt adequately protected in less intense weather, and the slim fit means you can layer this jacket under another warmer shell if needed.

We loved having the Gamma LT around for milder climbing days. It moved and breathed with us like a pro and was durable enough to handle all manner of scraping and scuffing against the rock.
We loved having the Gamma LT around for milder climbing days. It moved and breathed with us like a pro and was durable enough to handle all manner of scraping and scuffing against the rock.

Value


At $249, this jacket is fairly expensive. However, we think that's a fair price for how well-made and high performing it is. The material is exceptionally durable, so we have little doubt this piece will last a long time and pay for itself over and over again. But it's important to consider what activities you will be using your softshell for. If you're primarily going to be in severe weather, then this layer alone won't be enough — you will want a hardshell or something else to wear over it. But if a decent amount of your time will also be spent in warmer temps or engaging in highly aerobic activities, this is an excellent layer to have as part of your outdoor wardrobe.

Conclusion


In many ways, the Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody was a favorite in our review. It breathes impeccably, moves with ease, can withstand getting scratched and scuffed with no problem, and had all the right features for a plethora of outdoor adventures. While it's simply not thick or insulative enough for super intense wind or cold, its slim cut can easily fit under another burlier layer. Bottom line, we loved this jacket and think it's an excellent layer at a committing-but-not-crazy price point that will serve you well for many years and many outings.

The Gamma LT Hoody made us pretty darn happy  and we think it will do the same for you.
The Gamma LT Hoody made us pretty darn happy, and we think it will do the same for you.


Penney Garrett