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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.