One of my favorite clothing purchases in 2015 was the Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody. It was my first Arc’teryx gear purchase and it impressed me so much that I’ve since invested in a couple of additional pieces for my wife and I.
The Atom LT features 60 g/m² of Arc’teryx’s proprietary Coreloft™ Insulation. Coreloft is made from short, highly crimped multi-denier siliconized polyester fibers. It doesn’t have to be quilted/baffled like Northface’s ThermoBall insulation and therefore it’s not as “Puffy”. It’s also not as warm since ThermoBall is more like Down in terms of its warmth versus weight ratio. Still, I continue to be amazed at how warm the Atom is considering its meager weight of just 12.7 oz (360 grams) – roughly the same as a 12-ounce can of soda. The Atom LT, when stuffed in a bag, also doesn’t consume much capacity because it compresses quite nicely into whatever unused space is available.
Conservatively, as a stand alone jacket worn over a base layer, it makes for a nice fall/early spring option for most people. Worn under a winter weight shell or paired with more layers, I’ve used it down into the twenties or even the teens if I’m hiking or snowshoeing. Of course, that’s very subjective. Depending on whether you tend to run warm or cold, the comfort range for any jacket will vary from person to person.
Fit-wise, like most Arc’teryx pieces, the Arc’teryx Atom LT tends to run small. At 6’4 250 lbs, I fell between XL and XXL. I ended up going with the XXL to have a bit of room underneath since I don’t wear it strictly as a mid-layer but an “XL and a Half” in this jacket would have been perfect. Too bad Arc’teryx doesn’t see fit to make them in that size. 😉 If you have to size up, it does help that the bottom of the jacket can be adjusted via a shock cord/cord lock setup.
The Visilon YKK zipper is smooth. It rarely snags. It is not of the water-resistant variety.
Many complain about the Atom LT’s hood because, unlike the warmer Atom AR, there are no adjustment points. Personally, even in wind, I didn’t find that to be an issue but I also have an unusually large dome and I don’t run a helmet. So your mileage may vary.
The jacket’s DWR will hold up to light rain or snow. In a heavy downpour, mine wetted out after 4-5 minutes but still kept me warm and dry underneath with the exception of the neck area and some seepage along the unprotected zipper.
There are two lower hand warmer pockets and a single interior breast pocket that’s large enough to fit an iPhone 6 in a case. The cuffs are not adjustable but they are made from a stretch material that is very glove friendly.
The Arc’teryx Atom LT has become one of my favorite jackets. I recently purchased the Triple Aught Design Equilibrium Jacket to see if I preferred one over the other. The Equilibrium was eventually sold and I still have the Arc’teryx jacket. Why? The Polartec Alpha insulation used in the Equilibrium breathed better during active use but overall it wasn’t as warm. The fit wasn’t as trim as the Atom. I also like having a hood when wearing it as a jacket and there were more color options.
The Arc’teryx Atom LT Insulated Jacket retails for $249 but the street price is much less because it’s easy to find a discount online. Colors are seasonal so check the website for the latest options.