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Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody puffer jacket review: a snug midlayer with excellent articulation

The Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody is a great all-day midlayer for winter pursuits that will keep you warm without getting sweaty thanks to its hybrid construction and versatile insulation

Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody
(Image: © Arc’teryx)

Our Verdict

A perennial favourite among outdoor crowds, the stylish Atom LT Hoody excels at keeping you warm without overheating, and works best as a midlayer for activities and adventures that involve bursts of high intensity activity, with lulls either side.

For

  • Synthetic fill is quick-drying and provides warmth even when wet
  • Hybrid construction incorporates stretch fleece for excellent articulation

Against

  • Fleece panels not windproof
  • Slightly baggy hood
  • Expensive

First impressions

A much-loved synthetic layer and a popular choice for outdoorsy types, especially in North America, the Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody has been a staple of the Canadian brand’s product range for season after season.

The secret to its enduring popularity is its versatility. Built to handle a range of conditions and output levels, it employs a hybrid construction consisting of durable and warm Coreloft Compact insulation with stretch side panels to improve overall fit and freedom of movement. It’s topped off with a water-resistant face fabric for added weather protection.

The latest generation has also been redesigned, with a new cuff construction for easier on/off and layering, plus enhanced durability, an updated fit, and an eco-friendlier dope dyed liner.

Specifications

RRP: £220 (UK) /$259 (US) / €250 (EU)
Fill: Coreloft Compact insulation
Sizes (men's): XS–XXXL
Sizes (women's): XS–XXL
Weight (size M): 375g/13.2oz
Colours (men's): Black / Dracaena / Paradox / Rhapsody / Kingfisher / Galactica / Elytron / Dynasty / 24K Black / Squid Ink
Colours (women's): Momentum / Bioprism / Zephyr / Helix / Sundance

In the field

Firstly, we should say this: the Atom LT doesn’t provide the same level of warmth as some of the other synthetic jackets we tested. But then, this is a layer that is designed to balance insulating power with breathability. So, while it probably isn’t the jacket to buy if you’re looking for an extra layer to throw on for a boost of warmth, it is one to consider if you’re looking for a pretty versatile layer that will perform well throughout the day.

It is not waterproof, only water-resistant, and the fleece panels mean it isn’t completely windproof, so in more testing conditions you’ll need to wear a windproof or waterproof shell over the top. It really comes into its own as a midlayer for stop/start activities.

In that context, it does a superb job of keeping you warm without overheating. The super soft fabrics and fairly relaxed fit also give high levels of comfort and articulation. We liked the fleece-lined zipped pockets, which really keep hands toasty, and the stretch fabric cuffs that go on easily over liner gloves. There’s also a useful zipped inside chest pocket, which is a good place to put a smartphone, as the jacket’s Coreloft fill helps to preserve battery life. 

All in all, it’s a very wearable layer, and we suspect many outdoorsy types would stick this for more casual use too. One caveat is that personally, we didn’t find the hood to be a great fit. It’s a little baggy, especially around the lower face and chin. It’s not a dealbreaker though, and given that we’d primarily use the Atom LT as a midlayer, we’d be tempted to save ourselves £20 and buy the hoodless jacket version instead.

Final note: we were a little disappointed to see that this jacket does not use any recycled fabrics or fill, though Arc’teryx have employed a new dope dying process for the liner, which saves water and uses less carbon dioxide.

An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.