Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody 2010

The Arc’teryx Atom LT is a hybrid insulated hoody that combines Coreloft polyester insulation with side panels made from Polartec Power Stretch with Hardface Technology. The advantage is that this garment provides warmth without restriction for the more active user.

Design
As this is intended for active users it has been designed to keep weight down, while maintaining insulation and mobility. The insulation is Coreloft, which benefits from a high loft retention, meaning it can expand and trap plenty of air within its fibres to provide a high insulating value. But it is also very compressible, so this jacket can be packed down small into the corner of a rucksack. This extremely efficient insulation is combined with side panels that are made from Polartec Powerstretch. This is used to provide greater freedom of movement. Also the garment is designed to remain extremely breathable, to allow it to be worn under waterproof jackets without increasing condensation. You get a hood, elasticated cuffs and hem drawcord too.

On the hill
The Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody immediately feels very lightweight and compressible, and it packed down smaller than similar designs we looked at. It was also a relief to find that the main zip was not a stiff, water-resistant type, but an exquisitely free-running design that makes this extremely easy to vent on the move. As with most Arc’teryx clothing the contoured sleeves were an incredible fit with the elasticated cuffs gently hugging my wrists. The fleece sides meant that I felt colder in this area, which was a strange sensation when the rest of my upper body was so warm while wearing this jacket. The hood does not have any adjustment for fit and on my head it did not fit closely and did not move with the head. As with many jackets the pocket access was not ideal as rucksack belts easily obscured the lower pockets.

In the lab
The Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody provided 2.9 TOGs of insulation, but it is lighter and more compact than others, so this indicates the quality of the insulation and its ability to trap air extremely efficiently. Of course if the insulation is quashed down under a jacket it may not maintain this loft as well as bulkier jackets and this may be why I did not feel it was as warm as the lab test suggested.

Fabric Luminaria with Polartec Powerstretch with Hardface side panels
Insulation Coreloft polyester
Sizes S-XXL (men’s); XS-XL (women’s)
Weight 408g (size men’s L)
Made in Thailand
Stores in the UK no info provided
Stockist details – tel. (0114) 258 6688; www.arcteryx.com

Verdict
The Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody is incredibly light for the features;  hood provided. But the hood has no adjustment and did not fit or move well; fleece side panels create cold areas; high price tag. If weight is your top priority then this is excellent, but others offer better overall performance.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2010