Expert Review: Arc'Teryx Atom LT Women's HoodiePublished on 07/21/2022 · 7 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2019.
All photos courtesy of Hunter R.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2019.
The Arc’teryx Atom LT is my favorite jacket I have ever owned. It’s incredibly versatile, durable, and warm. It makes for a great layering piece for skiing, a winter hiking jacket, or an around-town jacket. It is technical and functional but still looks like a nice jacket I can wear around without looking like I am wearing athletic wear.
About the piece
- Model: Arc’Teryx Atom LT Women’s Hoodie Jacket
- Size: XS
- Fit: True to size
- Height: 5’3”
- Weight: 115 lbs
- Experience: 25+ years of snowboarding/skiing
- When I bought this: November 2019
- Days tested: 600+ days
- Where I’ve used it: Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Idaho
- Conditions I’ve used it in: Powder, spring, resort days, backcountry skiing, sidecountry skiing, rock climbing, winter trail running, winter/spring/fall hiking, backpacking, camping, fishing
How it performs
What I was looking for
When I found the Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoodie, I looked for an everyday go-to jacket. I had a few jackets that were good for cold days or specific circumstances, but I didn’t have a great all-around jacket. I wanted something I could wear to work and to walk the dog, but I could also wear hiking, running, skiing, and climbing without needing a different and specific jacket for every activity.
Why I chose this gear
I hadn’t tried any Arc’teryx products when I bought this jacket. I had wanted to try their gear but could never justify the price. I had a similar jacket that I felt wasn’t super durable and had found that this jacket had the same synthetic insulation as that other jacket, which I liked aside from the durability issues, and had a stronger/more durable face fabric.
The other jacket I had at the time of buying this was a Patagonia Nano Air. While it was a breathable but warm jacket and great for layering, I always worried that the face fabric would rip if it was touched by anything abrasive (such as rocks while climbing or trees while hiking/running). So I picked the Atom LT because it seemed the same but more durable. I also loved the color.
What I love about it
- Fit: The fit of this jacket is awesome. I went with the XS, which fits me so well from the body to the wrist cuffs. I can wear a long sleeve thermal under it comfortably without it feeling too tight. I really feel like they nailed the fit on this jacket.
- Range of Motion: The Arc’teryx Atom LT also has an awesome range of motion. It’s made from soft fabric, so I never feel inhibited, and there is nowhere that is particularly tight and inhibits my motion at all.
- Design: This jacket is well designed. It has synthetic insulation, which works well for high output activities because synthetic insulation retains heat when wet, unlike down insulation. There is also no insulation in the armpit area and along the side of the body. These areas tend to run warmer, so it’s awesome that they thought not to put insulation there. The wrists are not the typical elastic cuffs that most jackets have. They are just a tighter, stretchy material. After really putting this jacket through the wringer, I can say that this material has lasted better than any other elastic wrist straps on any other jacket I've owned. Usually, that is the first part to wear out, and the sleeves will suddenly feel too baggy and loose, but that has not been the case with the Atom LT.
- Style: It is form-fitting but not tight and not flared out at the bottom as many women’s jackets are. The face fabric looks really nice, and I feel fine wearing this jacket to a nice dinner** **and out on a ski tour, which is great and impressive.
- Quality of Materials: The jacket has Corloft Compact synthetic insulation, which is high quality and retains heat well and efficiently without being too puffy.
- Durability: I have put this jacket through a lot, and after almost three years of wearing it just about every day, it is starting to show a tiny bit of wear, but honestly, nothing compared to what I would expect. I have scraped it on rocks and gotten it stuck on a few trees while running or hiking, fully expecting there to be some rip, and still nothing. It looks great, all things considered. I wear it just about every day and can definitely get a few more years of doing so out of this jacket before replacing it.
- Pockets: There are two zippered pockets on the hips and one internal zippered chest pocket. All are secure.
- Breathability: This jacket is super breathable. I attribute a lot of this to the underarm area not having insulation because it's just a thin fleece there that lets the heat out super well. I have never found myself overheating in this jacket.
- Warmth: For how breathable it is, it’s also so warm. It might not look super insulated, but the insulation type used allows a lot of warmth to be packed into a small space. On below-freezing days not skiing, I will wear something thicker, but I almost always wear the Atom LT underneath the bigger jacket for bonus warmth, and for anything above freezing, it works well. I use it as a mid-layer during ski days under my shell and have never felt like I need something warmer.
- Weight: It is impressively lightweight for how warm it is.
- Features: The hood has a cinch on the back to fit my head without flopping around. I think this is a great feature and makes it way more comfortable to use the hood. There is also an odor-resistant quality to the insulation, so I do not feel like I need to wash it after every time I sweat in it, which is an awesome feature that makes it last longer since I am not washing it constantly.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Waterproofing: Though there is light waterproofing in the face fabric, this jacket is not waterproof. It will do okay in light rain or snow, but anything more will soak right through. The bonus of synthetic insulation versus down is that even if it does get wet, it still keeps me pretty warm.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite day with this jacket was a hike with a friend and my pup on a February day. My friend, though she is from the East Coast and was visiting Utah (which should seem like a beach vacation in the winter due to how cold the East compares to Utah), wore a really thick, puffy down jacket. I wore my Arc’teryx Atom LT, and she kept asking if I was cold or crazy for wearing just that, but I was totally content the whole time. It wasn’t a particularly aerobic hike, pretty short without too many hills, but I was warm! I was glad I could wear this instead of a huge puffy jacket because they can inhibit my range of motion, and I generally think they are uncomfortable because I feel like a marshmallow.
Value for the money vs. other options
I picked this jacket up for about $250, and when it finally wears out, I will repurchase the same one, no question! Considering how much I have worn it and how comfy it is, I think it’s totally worth the money. I spent the same amount on the Patagonia Nano Air jacket, which is awesome aside from the durability problem, but that’s the only jacket I know of that’s really comparable. It’s a bit pricier than some synthetic mid-layer jackets out there but so worth it due to the long life and versatility.
The Atom LT Hoodie is the perfect jacket. I have worn it more than any other piece of clothing I have ever bought, and no one would ever know from looking at it. I can wear it in just about any situation I can think of aside from pouring rain or snow - camping, hiking, running, skiing, fancy dinner - and it regulates my body temperature super well! I love the green color, and when this one’s life is over, I’ll grab another one of the same jackets without a second thought!