Gear Reviews

Arc'teryx Atom LT Insulated Hoody

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The jacket I almost never take off. My daily driver of jackets. The one that can basically do it all.

Name: Atom LT Hoody

Specs:

  • Weight: 11.6 oz

  • Pockets: 2 handwarmer pockets, 1 internal chest pocket

  • Wrists: Elastic

  • Waist: Drawstring

  • Hood: Yes, 1 adjustment, helmet compatible.

  • Fabric: Tyono 20D shell w/ DWR treatment (100% Nylon)

  • Insulation: Coreloft 60 (60 g/m2)

  • MSRP: $259

What I Like:

  • Comfort: I just can’t stress this enough: I love how soft and comfortable this jacket is. Some days I put it on in the morning, go do errands, come back home, and I leave it on until bedtime. I just want to be in the jacket all day long. I think the stretchy side panels play up the comfort factor.

  • Warmth: The Atom LT is great as a fall-early spring jacket for the Bay Area, where I live, and excels as a shoulder-season casual jacket in cooler climes. It won’t be a great outer shell for winter in places where it gets really cold (the Atom AR would be a better option), but it does do well as an active outer layer in cooler weather, and is a good layering piece. And this is way too warm for summer days in most places, but can be great as a summer puffy in the mountains. I generally start getting the shivers in it when the temp hits 50-55* F if I’m not moving. I hope that gives you a decent idea of how warm the jacket is.

  • Versatility: I touched on this above, but this jacket is great in the city and the mountains. You can definitely wear it as a casual piece because it really looks nice, especially in a darker color. I find that it is way too warm as an active insulator for a climate like the Bay Area, even with the breathable side panels, but I also wore this snowshoeing while it was actively snowing in Colorado and Yosemite, and it was perfect.

  • Cleanliness: Couldn’t think of a more succinct way to say this, but: it doesn’t get smelly easily. I wear this jacket to/from work almost 5 days/ week, to the grocery store, to Starbucks, etc., and I only wash it occasionally, and it just doesn’t smell bad. I usually end up washing it when it physically gets dirty - which isn’t even that often because its also super easy to spot-clean the shell.

  • The Look: Like I mentioned above, this jacket looks sharp. The side panels bring it down a couple of notches (doesn’t look as nice as the Gamma shells), but the shape is really flattering (and I am hard to impress on that one), and the fact that there aren’t baffles but is still insulated makes this have a slimmer profile and just look more clean and less “outdoorsy” than a Patagonia Nano Puff or any down jacket. The only time I look dumb in it is when I have it completely zipped up and the hood on.

  • Water Resistant: The shell is DWR coated, and it stands up well in a heavy sprinkle. As you may have guessed, this is my casual/ city/ hybrid jacket, so I wear it to and from a lot. If it’s raining, and I won’t be out in the rain for prolonged periods, I won’t bring a rain shell if I’m wearing this. The DWR just causes the water to bead up, and it dries once I’m inside. I’d never consider wearing this in a downpour though, or without a shell if I was hiking in the rain. But for hiking while lightly snowing, it’s great as a standalone piece.

  • Wind Resistant: The shell material on the front and back of the jacket act as a windbreaker. And you can definitely tell that part of the jacket does its job well, because if you face your side (where the breathable side panels are) to the wind, you’ll suddenly feel much more breezy and cold, compared to when your front/ back was facing the wind. If it is crazy windy though, it really won’t feel like the jacket is helping with warmth, and you’ll want a real shell on top.

  • No Pilling: I’ve owned this jacket for over a year, and actively worn it for about 6 months, and I’m really impressed with the fact that the side panels aren’t pilling yet.

What I Don’t Like:

  • Weight (for backpacking): Honestly, this jacket could be totally fine for most people, but I’d never bring it as my backpacking insulation piece because there are so many lighter and warmer options out there. Just bringing this around though and for travel: the weight is fine.

  • Packability: Because this is synthetic insulation, the jacket doesn’t pack down as small as goose down does, but it still packs down decently small. There is also no way of packing it into its own pocket.

  • Neck Area: The only thing that annoys me about this jacket is the way the top of the zipper/ chin area folds down and in when the zipper is completely zipped up and the hood is down. It will lay on your chin nicely for a bit, but then falls down and just looks kind of bulgy/ funky. This really isn’t a deal breaker, and I may just have a short enough neck where it’s annoying.

  • Price: As with most things Arc’teryx, this is pretty expensive. But, it’s main competitor, the Patagonia Nano Air Hybrid is $249 and not as warm as this jacket (40g vs. 60g of insulation). The Montbell UL Thermawrap Parka is $209, and much lighter, but also has less insulation. So maybe this isn’t really a con, comparatively, but objectively it can be hard to cough up over $250 for a jacket.

As you can probably tell, I just love this jacket. It’s comfortable, looks nice, and does everything it claims to do. Overall, I think this jacket excels as an active warmth layer in temps of 30-50*F and a static warmth layer from 50-60F. If you’re a warmer person overall, you can push this jacket a little colder. In my experience though, you won’t want to be wearing this over 65* F though as it will just be too warm. 30* is still a great range in temperatures, and because of how versatile this jacket is, it could easily be your only insulated jacket if you live in a moderate climate.